General Motors Awarded Federal Grant To Develop Composite Tech For EVs1
Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette recently announced $139 million in federal funding to support innovative vehicle technologies. General Motors was awarded a portion of the funds to develop fiber-reinforced composite materials that can be used in high-volume manufacturing of structural battery enclosures.
“We applaud the U.S. Department of Energy’s support of advanced vehicle technologies,” said General Motors executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, Doug Parks. “This effort will support GM’s R&D study on structural battery enclosures using fiber-reinforced composites at scale. Developing lighter, stronger and less expensive battery enclosures is another step toward realizing our vision of a zero-emissions future.”
The new federal funding will go towards some 55 different projects nationwide, of which the General Motors study into composite technologies will be a part.
GM has committed to offering an array of new electric vehicles in the coming years, pushing towards an all-electric future by investing $20 billion in capital and engineering resources to EV development between 2020 and 2025. The investment will also go towards the development of autonomous vehicle programs.
The grant announcement was made as Brouillette visited General Motor’s Estes Engineering Center battery lab in Warren, Michigan. Brouillette received a tour of the electric vehicle manufacturing facilities and domestic supply chain development, as well as GM’s EV infrastructure and design. The tour included a look at GM’s battery lab, which recently received a $1.5 billion investment, as well as the automaker’s latest Ultium battery technology. Ultium battery cells will be produced in Lordstown, Ohio, through a joint venture with LG Chem.
“We appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate to Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette our unwavering commitment to a zero-emission, all-electric future,” Parks said. “General Motors’ capital investment, research and advanced designs result in a broad portfolio of EVs with more flexibility than ever before.”
As covered previously, General Motors aims to introduce “at least” 20 new EV models by 2023. The automaker recently detailed some of its plans for future Chevrolet EV models in its 2019 Sustainability Report.
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The primary reason that this is interesting is that there is already a company that has developed a patented process of using a powder that replaces graphine or graphite encasements of the batteries with the same technology. Space savings yield up to 20% more battery within the same space. This comes from the so-called No. 7 Tesla employee who left the company and now works with his own company and many others to develop new battery technologies. So it’s being done elsewhere. There will be some competition, apparently. GM is not sitting still to allow another company be the sole producer of longer life batteries. Some of the stock self-styled Gurus are touting the competing company as a new way to make money on the stock market and is also supposedly part of America 2.0. Battery technology is definitely like a better mousetrap. There is lots of room for improvement. AF