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GM Targets Li-Metal Battery Innovations, Already Has 94 Patents in the Field

The largest U.S. automaker has a comprehensive EV strategy that includes the newly revealed 2022 Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, and many upcoming battery-powered models. The company wants to have a global EV range of 30 vehicles by 2025, so it’s extremely interested in bringing down the cost for batteries while increasing their available range.
GM innovations in the Lithium-Metal battery fieldGM innovations in the Lithium-Metal battery fieldGM innovations in the Lithium-Metal battery fieldGM innovations in the Lithium-Metal battery field
GM’s president Mark Reuss has recently come out publicly with a progress report on the company’s proprietary next-generation Ultium chemistry. The latter is expected to debut with the upcoming 2022 GMC Hummer EV that will be manufactured at “Factory Zero,” the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant—which is GM’s first facility exclusively dedicated to electric vehicles.

Affordability and range are two major barriers to mass EV adoption,” said Reuss. “With this next-generation Ultium chemistry, we believe we’re on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation improvement in energy density and cost. There’s even more room to improve in both categories, and we intend to innovate faster than any other company in this space.”

If materialized, the battery energy density jump would enable GM to deliver a higher range for the same dimensions of the pack. The automaker could also opt for a similar range and use a more compact battery setup to make the vehicle lighter or bring additional technology to fill the remaining space.

Better yet, the carmaker already explores what lies beyond the Ultium batteries and revealed it signed a new joint development agreement with lithium metal battery specialist SolidEnergy Systems (SES). GM Ventures first invested in SES back in 2015, and this brought a close research and development relationship.

Today, GM’s own lithium-metal battery is designed with a “protected anode (and) will feature a combination of affordability, high performance and energy density.” The company has prototype batteries that have gone through 150,000 of simulated test miles, and its expertise in the field has already yielded a total of 94 patents (45 of them still pending).

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