Across from the battery pack test facility is GM's battery cell test facility. The facility allows GM to test single cells to see how they react individually to different conditions. Another reason for the cell testing facility is to test cells from different manufacturers before deciding on one brand for a battery pack. The cell test chambers operate exactly like the pack test chambers, but are smaller and have a wider range of temperatures.
What is perhaps [going to be] the coolest part of the battery test lab is attached to the cell testing facility -- the 30,000 foot addition to GM's existing battery lab. There, engineers will conduct battery abuse testing to further battery research. Once completed, it will be one of the only independent battery abuse testing centers in the world. GM eventually hopes to open up an independent battery research segment within the company that would research and test batteries for outside companies without fear of technology infringement.
After more than three years of work, we'll see the biggest advancement in battery technology to come out of GM's lab this fall with the Chevrolet Volt. Engineers at the lab test more than Volt batteries and packs, but the Volt has been the big project for the last several years. Other projects include the next-generation 2-Mode Hybrid and upcoming mild hybrids.