GM Opens Technologically Advanced Automotive Battery Lab In US
General Motors has expanded its battery research and development capabilities by opening what it says is the largest and most technologically advanced battery lab in the United States on its Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan. The new Global Battery Systems Lab will lead GM’s global advanced battery engineering resources and expedite the introduction of electrically driven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, as well as plug-in hybrid and hybrid-electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
"The new global GM battery lab will benefit consumers across America by helping us advance the development of battery technology in the United States and put cleaner, more efficient vehicles on the road more quickly and affordably," said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO. "Our new lab improves GM’s competitiveness by speeding the development of our hybrid, plug-in and extended-range electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt."
The Global Battery Systems Lab spans 33,000 sq. ft. – four times larger than GM’s previous Tech Center battery lab – and will be used by GM’s growing team of more than 1,000 engineers working on advanced batteries and electrically driven vehicles.
The lab became fully functional in May, equipped with 160 test channels and 42 thermal chambers duplicating extreme real-world driving patterns, hot and cold temperatures and calendar life. The lab’s maximum power capacity is 6 megawatts, or enough electricity to provide power to approximately 1,400 homes.
"This facility is state-of-the-art and represents one of the largest and most capable battery test labs in the world," said Jim Queen, GM group Vice President, Global Engineering. "More than half of the lab is dedicated to testing the electrochemical battery cells and their enclosures, known as modules, a capability not available in GM’s previous battery lab. The lab’s remaining floor space is committed to evaluating completed battery packs."
Additional new benefits offered by the Global Battery Systems Lab include a thermal shaker table for battery structural integrity testing, a battery teardown area for failure analysis and competitor benchmarking, an integrated test automation system and improved Design of Experiments methodology - an information-gathering exercise that allows GM to perform more thorough battery tests more quickly.