The Big Three dropped a bombshell at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. All three automakers have announced major green initiatives that will spur lithium-ion battery production.
The Big Three dropped a bombshell at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. All three automakers announced major green initiatives that will spur lithium-ion battery production.
General Motors Corp. (GM, Detroit) just unveiled plans to build the first lithium-ion battery pack assembly facility in the U.S. that is operated by a major automaker. The plant, which will be located in Michigan, will ramp up production in 2010 to supply the much-anticipated Chevy Volt, which will be assembled at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Cells will be supplied by LG Chem Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea) and its local subsidiary, Compact Power Inc. (Troy, MI).
“The design, development and production of advanced batteries must be a core competency for GM, and we’ve been rapidly building our capability and resources to support this direction,” says Rick Wagoner, GM’s chairman and CEO. “This is a further demonstration of our commitment to the electrification of the automobile.
“Our announcements are part of a comprehensive advanced battery strategy for GM that is expanding along two pathways,” adds Wagoner. “First, we’re identifying core competencies, such as battery research, development and assembly, and integrating these fundamentals into our product development and manufacturing operations. We believe this will become a competitive advantage for GM and will be critical to [our] long-term success. Secondly, we’re building a roster of battery suppliers and academic experts from around the globe, and leveraging their specialized abilities to develop battery chemistries and cell designs, as well as future automotive battery engineers.”
General Motors plans to open a 31,000-square-foot battery R&D lab in Michigan that will be capable of testing new energy storage system technologies. The company also is teaming up with the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) to open a research facility and develop a specialized battery technology curriculum within the College of Engineering.
Chrysler LLC (Auburn Hills, MI) and Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) also announced major electric vehicle initiatives at the Detroit show. Ford is partnering with Magna International Inc. (Aurora, ON) to develop a new line of battery-powered vehicles that will be ready by 2012. Magna will provide key components, such as electric motors, transmissions, motor controllers, energy storage systems and battery chargers. Chrysler announced that it's developing a broad portfolio of electric vehicles, with the first models expected to be ready to go by next year. Chrysler’s completely electric ENVI powertrain will power five distinct platforms of vehicles, including a sedan, a sportscar, an SUV and a minivan.
To learn more about trends in green car technology, be sure to read “The Road to Green” in the February issue of ASSEMBLY.
The Big Three's Big Battery Bonanza
By Austin Weber
Austin has been senior editor for ASSEMBLY Magazine since September 1999. He has more than 21 years of b-to-b publishing experience and has written about a wide variety of manufacturing and engineering topics. Austin is a graduate of the University of Michigan.