GM builds lithium-ion battery for Chevrolet Volt

Jan. 7, 2010

General Motors Corp. announced Thursday it has manufactured the first advanced lithium-ion battery for a mass-marketed electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt.

GM announced a $43 million investment in August 2009 to prepare a 160,000 square-foot facility for production of lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt and other electric vehicles. The battery pack assembly plant in Brownstown Township, Mich. is part of GM Subsystems Manufacturing, a GM subsidiary.

The Volt's battery pack is made up of multiple linked battery modules and more than 200 battery cells. The vehicle is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the lithium-ion battery is depleted of energy, a flex-fuel engine-generator extends the total driving range to about 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery.

Initial battery production will be used to validate the plant's equipment and processes, and batteries will be sent to GM's global battery systems lab in Warren, Mich. for testing. GM will begin shipping batteries to its Detroit-Hamtramck plant this spring, the assembly location for the Volt, for use in production validation vehicles.

GM is investing $700 million in eight Michigan facilities for Volt-related production, including $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

"The development of electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt is creating entire new sectors in the auto industry - an 'ecosystem' of battery developers and recyclers, builders of home and commercial charging stations, electric motor suppliers and much more," said Ed Whitacre, GM chairman and CEO.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy selected 45 organizations in August 2009, including GM, for more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing and transportation electrification. Nearly half of that total is designated for cell, battery and materials manufacturing facilities in Michigan, according to General Motors.

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