General Motors is developing next-generation lithium-ion batteries. According to GM, they could both lower the cost and increase the driving range of their future electric vehicles. The company has announced a partnership with lithium metal battery start-up SolidEnergy Solutions (SES) of Woburn, Massachusetts. The deal is to help GM boost the capacity of their battery development. If all goes according to plan, it will allow for a longer EV driving range in a smaller package.

More Energy At Lower Costs

The joint development agreement will enable GM to cut weight from its EVs — a key goal for automakers around the world. GM has said that its Ultium battery packs are projected to cost 60% less by mid-decade, with twice the energy density. The two companies plan to build a manufacturing line at SES to assemble a prototype battery by 2023. General Motors previously invested an undisclosed amount in SES back in 2015.

Battery cells that use lithium metal in place of conventional graphite have the potential to store more energy. When the technology is perfected, these batteries should provide more driving range in future EVs. At the very least, they will probably provide similar range as today’s EVs, but in a much smaller and lighter battery pack.

Ohio Battery Plant

GM executives have said that the technology being developed with SES will be used in future Ultium-based vehicles. The first vehicle with that battery technology included goes on sale this Fall, with the launch of the electric GMC Hummer.

Last year, GM introduced Ultium as a key pillar in its push to cut battery costs and extend EV driving range as much as 600 miles or more. They are already building a $2.3 billion joint-venture Ultium battery plant in Ohio with LG Energy Solution. Additionally, the companies expect to add a second battery factory, possibly in Tennessee.

GM announced late last year that it is investing $27 billion in electric and self-driving vehicles. They plan to launch 30 different EV models globally by the end of 2025. The initial prototype batteries have completed 150,000 simulated test miles at GM’s technical center in Warren, Michigan. Like most other major automotive brands, GM sees that the future of driving is electric.


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