In a LinkedIn post, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra says the automaker plans to add “additional major enhancements” beginning this fall “with new test chambers and advanced equipment to accelerate our next-generation battery architecture.” She also said GM will start sourcing battery packs this fall from a new LG Electronics plant near Detroit for the Chevrolet Bolt, which is built at the nearby Orion Assembly plant. GM announced plans earlier this summer to expand production of the Bolt by 20 percent during the fourth quarter. Reports say GM will also continue to receive some battery packs from LG in South Korea, where it currently sources them.
“Our scale and global manufacturing capability help us satisfy customer demands faster and more efficiently, and we continue to leverage smart partnerships,” Barra wrote.
First opened in 2009, GM’s Global Battery Systems Lab is now more than 100,000 square feet and allows the automaker to conduct nearly all of its battery testing under one roof, which Barra said helps reduce development time and cost. It underwent a $20 million expansion in 2013 and a $6 million expansion that began in 2017, according to Automotive News. It helped birth the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and the Spark and Bolt battery-electric vehicles.
GM plans to launch 20 new battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles globally by 2023 and has already launched two for the Chinese market: the Buick Velite 6 and the Baojun E200. Barra has also said its forthcoming flexible electric-vehicle platform will be profitable when it debuts in 2021.
In her LinkedIn post, Barra also noted that GM engineers are working to attain shorter charging times for EVs. She reiterated plans to deliver a prototype vehicle capable of charging up to 180 miles of range in less than 10 minutes to Delta Electronics for testing as part of a U.S. Department of Energy initiative.
“This is just the beginning,” she concluded.