In a virtual conference in Washington Post Live, President of General Motors, Mark Reuss, provided more details on the chemical structure of the battery vice Next Generation Generator, and announced a joint development agreement with the company noted for innovation in lithium metal batteries, Solid Energy Systems.
GM's lithium metal battery with a protected anode will feature a combination of feasibility, high performance and energy density. Initial prototype batteries have already completed more than 240.000 kilometers of tests simulated in the research and development labs at GM's Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, demonstrating real-world potential.
To accelerate the commercialization of lithium metal batteries, GM is working with several innovative companies and making investments that will allow it to scale rapidly in this field.
GM Ventures was an early investor six years ago at SES, a leader in research, development and manufacturing of Li-Metal technology and boost battery management software to optimize its performance and safety. The investment in 2015 was the beginning of a close working relationship between SES and the aforementioned General Motors research and development organization.
The current joint development agreement is the next stage in that ongoing collaboration. As part of the agreement, GM and SES plan to build a prototype manufacturing line in Woburn, state of Massachusetts, for a series of pre-production batteries with high capacity for use by the next 2023.
"Feasibility and scope are two major barriers to mass adoption of electric vehicles," Reuss said. “With this new next-generation Ultium chemistry, we believe we are on the cusp of a unique next-generation improvement in energy density and cost. There is even more room for improvement in both categories and we intend to innovate faster than any other company in this space. "
The expected increase in battery power density could allow for a higher range of use on a similarly sized device, or a comparable range on an even smaller one. The weight and space savings of smaller battery devices could help reduce the weight of the vehicle, or provide more space to add more technology to the unit.
Part of the foundation of the collaboration between GM and SES on prototype Li-Metal batteries is GM's extensive experience in lithium metal batteries. GM's experience in this field has already led to 49 patents granted and 45 patents pending still. SES will also bring its own lithium metal intellectual property to this party collaboration.
GM announces this rapid technical progress for its potential use in future Ultium-based vehicles, just one year after the unveiling of the first-generation Ultium platform. The first products based on these Ultium batteries are expected to go on sale later this year.