GM Considering Development Of Cylindrical Battery Cells30
GM may switch from pouch-style battery cells to a cylindrical battery cell design.
According to a recent report from The Elec, which cites anonymous insider sources, GM is “likely” to finalize plans to adopt the new cylindrical battery cell design going forward, with future GM EV platforms set to support new battery type. The report indicates that GM will use 4680 battery cells, a design also used by rival EV producer, Tesla. It’s reported that several other car makers, including Stellantis, BMW, and Volvo, are also set to use the cylindrical battery cell design.
The use of a cylindrical battery design should provide a production advantage compared to GM’s current pouch-type battery, the latter of which is already in use by current GM EV models. The cylindrical design can roll the cathode, anode, and separator together into a cylindrical can, making for a more streamlined production process. However, the design and resulting battery layout provides less overall energy density as compared to pouch-type batteries.
That said, as GM hopes to ramp up battery production in the face of rising material costs, the move to a cylindrical design may be the right one.
According to The Elec, GM’s decision to use new cylindrical batteries resulted in talks with joint-venture-partner LG Energy Solution over the construction of a new U.S.-based battery cell facility to fall apart. As GM Authority covered previously, The General was engaged in talks with LG Energy regarding the creation of a new battery cell production facility in Indiana. However, the talks recently ended without an agreement between the two companies. GM is reportedly talking to at least one other battery supplier in the hopes of moving forward on a fourth battery production plant.
GM and LG Energy, under the joint venture Ultium Cells LLC, presently have three U.S. battery facilities in place, including two under construction in Michigan and Tennessee, and a third that is already in operation in Ohio.
Subscribe to GM Authority for more GM electric vehicle news, GM technology news, and around-the-clock GM news coverage.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
the reason Ultium was genius was that the pouches could be taken on 1×1 and replaced. Massive service benefit for both GM and end customer…
So dumb to even remotely be considering cylindrical which cannot be serviced.
I’m not an investor in GM, but if I were one this would cause me to be very skittish. What will happen to the 2nd generation Ultium batteries we were promised 2 years ago – the ones that GM claimed would create the next generation 500-600 mile range batteries with a 40% cost reduction of the current generation? If GM is abandoning them, I’d like to know.
And what the hell doe sone do who owns a pouch version car and they stop making them or supporting them just like the VOLT unless the battery pack form factor ignores the cell level form factor. If they truly dont get on a long term plan Im rethinking not buying GM. Have a volt, don’t want a long term support issue again at those gynormous down the road service costs some are seeing now and going elsewhere.
Here is what to watch.
GM’s Ultium is still very much in play. But the economy issues has slowed the cost reduction. This is causing major issues to all EV programs and even ICE sales.
On tactic most automakers will employ is a multi battery deal. We already see this in the Ultium models. How far you want to go will be based on how much you spend on the battery. Much like a Stingray vs ZO6 for HP.
On the smaller cars and low priced city type cars these cheaper batteries only need to go around town. Most EV buyers are city people and are more concerned about price vs miles..
Much like a Spark was not a car for everyone not all EV models will be for everyone. They will be sized by range and price for many.
Once the economy settles then they can gain more ground on battery prices.
Lmao you’re clueless
Read all about it in the SAE publications for EV vehicles.
They have addressed how automakers will employ a number of batteries to help compete on cost.
Just because you make things up does not mean we all do.
Most buyers are city people? Uh no.
Actually many are urban and suburban drivers middle age and younger. They do not travel far in car or live out in the middle of no where.
You want to know where EV buyers are look where the chargers are being installed,
Not many chargers in Flatwoods WV.
Totally agree with your comment. EV owners are hip urbanites. Also most are non smokers. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods shoppers, and have an assortment of electronic gadgets from Alexas to programmable heated bidet toilet seats. The latest of the greatest, and would die to go the CES show.
The Ultium battery pack was built around the concept of ‘ease of serviceability’. If your batteries don’t need service, then all that additional packaging for swappable battery modules becomes dead weight and cost. The Ultium architecture says “I was designed because GM thinks I’ll have a high enough failure rate to NEED swappable battery modules.” That or “I needed to throw a bone to the dealerships so they’d still have something to service.”
Conversely, a structural battery pack implies that either the maker has high confidence their batteries will outlast the vehicle, or that they’ll be making battery packs in high enough volume that it’ll be more cost efficient to just swap out entire battery packs and repurpose/recycle them.
Either way, this demonstrates that the Ultium brand was more marketing fluff than engineering innovation, which puts a serious question mark over the Ultium vehicle lines they’re about to launch.
Each cell has a life cycle. The servicing of a single or even a dozen units is ignorant with the wear on the rest of the pack.
A single bad cell or group of them exponentially increases the wear on the rest even if the problem is caught and repaired. This causes an overcharge situation to try and achieve correct pack voltage.
Charge cycles are very real. Each time it’s charged, capacity decreases. “Fast charging” greatly accelerates cell wear and shortens battery lifespan.
The amount of waste coming down the line from this “green” movement is truly mind blowing.
I think most reasonable people are finally starting to realize the limitations of modern batteries. Mary Barra and the rest of these industry CEOs and board members that continue to try to ride this wave will only cause the shareholders and public to get burned… Their bank accounts will be just fine.
What is really mind blowing is the resistance to change. Yes it’s difficult to change but every effort must be made to reduce green house gasses. Those that don’t believe there is a climate crisis in progress will just be added to a collective of individuals that has existed since the discovery of fire – those that are afraid of change and/or wish to simply establish their individuality through indifferent objection.
“Those that can, should. Those that can’t, should support. Those that won’t, should find another planet to live on”
1) Gasoline has 40x the energy density of a comparable mass/volume of Lithium NMC cells.
2) Even with the 90 % energy efficiency of electric motors, the total energy capacity to do work (drive, heat up the car via HVAC, etc.) is FAR greater with an ICE vehicle, and will remain so until there is a significant improvement in battery energy density.
3) Solid state batteries have thus far proven to be more like like fusion – great theory or in small scale experiments, zero observable demonstrations that this solution can scale to meet consumer demands.
4) EVs cannot meaningfully tow in Winter (below freezing temperatures) without experiencing SEVERE degradation in range.
5) The supposed cost savings that were supposed to push Lithium NMC cost/energy density to below $35/KWh (I think this is the current figure, but you all know what I’m referring to) HAS NOT happened. The OPPOSITE has happened – Lithium NMC battery prices have increased…and we’re not even at 10% EV adoption in the US! All the people that were forecasting that EV prices would decrease as shipments increased, were MASSIVELY WRONG.
6) There are general, serious concerns that US energy generation capacity cannot be solved with renewables, and that there is not yet enough public support for the one energy source that could make EVs somewhat plausible – mass investment in Nuclear.
7) With Europe becoming energy dependent on US LNG, US Natural Gas prices will increase over the long term (despite it being at a 16 month low, at the moment). This increase in natural gas prices will show up in elevated US consumer electricity costs. You saw that briefly in the Spring / Summer of 2022.
8) There is no known economic / business model where going from four of five competitors (refiners providing gasoline in different regions across the country) to one competitor (local electricity company) offers improved pricing. Arbitrage opportunities to stabilize prices are subsequently eliminated with EVs. Hope every American has an extra $20K to put solar panels on their roofs!
All true, yet BEVs outpace ICE YoY in sales % by a wide margin and government mandates are only going to increase this. Free market should decide, but we don’t live in this environment and companies have to adapt whether we like it or not. Also, consider that oil has been and continues to be subsidized. I do have solar panels and drive an EV and outside of the monthly $9 hook up fee to the power company I pay nothing for electricity and charge every evening at home. Zero fuel costs. I’m not doing this to save the world, it just makes sound financial sense. We just doubled our solar panels and the cost was only 60% of what we paid in 2017 and we will get a 30% tax credit. Yes this bill is a waste of taxpayer money like all government handouts, but why not take advantage of it.
Don: What about all the mandatory sewage system methane vent stacks on homes, institutions, schools, commercial and industrial facilities? Also ocean floor seeps of natural gas and crude oil along with hydrogen sulfide? Look at the amounts of bio gas emissions from 8+ billion souls and animals from flatulation. You are never going to get all electric commercial aircraft. Add to all this sewage treatment plant digester gases, kitchen vent fans, volcanic activity, and ocean carrier emissions.
Electric cars will have no significant measure in reducing emissions.
An article of BusinessKorea mentioned that GM was in talks with Samsung SDI and that they were interested by the prismatic batteries.
So, the new design is cheaper and faster to manufacture but it is less energy dense which means less range unless battery size is increased. I’m not sure that’s a great trade.
It will be for shorter range and cheaper models EV products.
This is the easiest way to continue to reduce battery cost in the face of great inflation that has really stopped the 15 year decline in battery cost.
Another trick some are looking at is to use smaller batteries and use a two speed transmission. This would give a 1 to 1 drive and then over drive to extend the range to provide the ability to get more range from a smaller cheaper battery.
The transmission was a chain but it has a three piece gear that help expand to move the change to a new sprocket.
We will see a number of things employed to try to get this cheaper and longer range.
It is also a matter of scale too as these cylinder batteries are more the industry norm. I would never expect them in a Hummer but we will see them in the cheaper and smaller cars.
Yeah I understand the shorter range and cheaper price in the economy models, however “range anxiety” was identified as one of the primary reasons for EV adoption resistance, so this theory seems counterintuitive to me. As we know a DC electric motor has infinite speed variation capability so I would look more towards an adjustable sheave drive system similar to a snowmobile for a super economical model.
I don’t build them I just read about what they are working on.
The Variable drive I think you are speaking of may not work well with the high torque of an electric motor. Like the VVT cars we have today most are on low power small cars and they burn up with higher power and weight.
Now mobiles are very light and they may be powerful for a small engine but they are not like an electric motor that can have instant peak Torque.
I can say we will see a lot of things tired as development is continuing. I expect cheap cars will get different tech than the higher end.
Then they all are faced with scale as the system most in use will see the fastest decline in price. Much like a car battery if you have a specific battery in an ICE model that is only used for that car it could be very expensive vs one that is used in 300 different models.
Automakers are looking now to tailor the vehicles to needs and expectations. Like in the Chevy truck you can get the high mile model or you can get the base battery model. I is a matter of how much you are able to pay and or how far you can go.
If you live and drive around town and have an ICE model for trips some can buy the smaller battery and get a EV cheaper. Now if they travel they can opt for the larger pack and just pay more.
Like in the past you could get a Chevelle with the standard I6 or you could opt for a 396 if you wanted more power.
Of late we have had few engine choices in ICE but the range and power of a battery may give us more choices again.
This is a total Panasonic design. Panasonic is the designer and maker of these batteries at Musk’s Giga factory in Nevada. Panasonic has a large section of shop floor for battery production. Panasonic lodges their Japanese engineers in Reno motels and buses them to the Giga factory on USA Parkway.
The Panasonic cylindrical battery is the best battery for the buck.
Sorry, but this is 100% a Tesla invention – they make them in house and are ramping up. As they can’t scale rapid enough, they also continue to partner with Panasonic to make them at existing and soon to be online plants. Tesla is making tabless 4680 technology available to all manufacturers. Even BMW, which initially knocked cylinder based designs, especially 4680’s, has jumped on the band wagon. The reason is so obvious, but yet missed by most of the commenters – PRODUCTION. Despite the narrative of most on this site, EV demand is massive and far exceeds what automakers can collectively produce with battery capacity being the biggest bottleneck for all OEMs. Whoever can produce the most BEVs wins, and currently in the US, its Tesla. Production ramp benefits WAY outweigh any cons. Pouches are more labor intensive and hard to scale, increasing costs significantly with minimal efficiency gains. As far as concerns for ‘added’ weight – the Ultium powered Lyric is 1100-1500 lbs heavier (with less range) than a Tesla Model Y (with 2170s) despite similar size. Incorporating 4680’s in a structural pack further reduces the weight of a Model Y. This is a good move for GM, hope its not too late.
BTW: Panasonic / Tesla is making cylindrical batteries for the Washoe County Regional Transit Authority (RTC) all electric city bus fleet, and these batteries are working superbly.
What ever happened to GM’s Bus and Coach Division?
When I was a kid in Cleveland, Ohio the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) had a bazillion GM buses. And they were great rides. Much better than the Flixable buses.
So apparently this story has been debunked.
LGES during their earnings call mentioned that they would be looking to produced cylindrical cells for a major auto manufacturer.
Someone assumed that this major automaker was GM. It wasn’t. Apparently LGES is making a bid to supply cells to Tesla.
I personally prefer to have Cylindrical Batteries instead of Pouch ones.
From all the reports I have read they contain better. Are harder to burst into a fire than pouch ones. Obviously LFP Batteries are the best for fire retention. But they obviously do not have the Density for faster vehicles. Plus they weigh more so they are best for lower priced vehicles, AV’s, and especially for stationary storage as you can Charge to 100% with zero issues.
Plus now that Tesla is making the battery Pack Structural it makes even more sense to utilize Cylindrical Batteries. GM should definitely switch to Cylindrical for sure in my opinion.
Cylindrical batteries with a flat rolled Lithium Ion strip within have been around for years. Simple design, time proven and quickly made. Panasonic, Eveready, et. al. have been making strip rolled Lithium Ion batteries for years. For God sakes if they ever catch fire do not use water to extinguish or they will explode.
Check out a car company called NIO. The entire battery pack can be replaced so there is no attachment to specific battery technology only size of the pack. This can also lower entry cost for car since one can lease battery as a service. Of course the battery can be swapped faster than charging by shipping container sized station. Genius.