Battery Wars: GM Gets Into Metal Lithium Battery Game

Threats to Tesla’s electric vehicle (EV) dominance are coming from all sides. We wrote on Volkswagen’s (VWAGY) ambitious plans to roll out one million EVs per year by 2030, how Ford’s (F) new Mustang Mach-E is stealing sales from Tesla and the latest hit comes from General Motors (GM), which announced a partnership with a lithium metal battery startup to boost the U.S. automaker’s battery development, allowing for higher electric vehicle driving range in a smaller package.

The joint development agreement with SolidEnergy Solutions (SES) of Woburn, Massachusetts, will allow GM to cut weight from the vehicle, a key goal for automakers as they push to roll out electric vehicles. GM has said by mid-decade its Ultium battery packs are projected to cost 60% less than today’s packs with twice the energy density.

Battery cells that use lithium metal in place of conventional graphite have the potential to store more energy, and thus provide more driving range in future electric vehicles (EVs), or similar range in a much smaller and lighter battery pack.

GM executives said the technology being developed with SES will be used in future Ultium-based vehicles, the first of which go on sale this fall with the launch of the GMC Hummer electric pickup truck.

Kent Helfrich, executive director of GM’s global electrification and battery systems, said:

“This is a great opportunity for us to find greater energy in a smaller package that will free up the space inside the vehicle for other technology.”

Last year, GM introduced Ultium as a key pillar in its push to cut battery costs and extend electric driving range. GM is building a $2.3 billion joint-venture Ultium battery plant in Ohio with LG Energy Solution, a unit of LG Chem, and the companies expect to add a second factory, possibly in Tennessee.

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  1. Stuart Lubitz

    There are solid state batteries (Quantum) , lithium metal, Sila Nanotechnology-nano-silicon, etc. What are the real proven technical and cost advantages of each candidate?

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