GM Opens Advanced Battery Lab in Warren

Tom Ludwick
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General Motors opened its new Global Battery Systems Lab on its Warren, Mich., Technical Center campus today. The 33,000-square-foot lab is the largest and most technologically advanced battery lab in the United States.

The Global Battery Systems Lab complements GM's other battery labs in Mainz-Kastel, Germany; Honeoye Falls, N.Y.; and the Warren Technical Center's Research Chemical Engineering facility. Its staff of more than 1000 engineers will aid the development of electrically driven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles.

The lab was built within GM's Alternative Energy Center facility. The plan has been in the works since December 2007. Construction started in August 2008, and the operations began in January. Last month the lab became fully operational.

It is equipped with the latest testing equipment, such as 42 thermal chambers that duplicate real-world driving patterns, hot and cold temperatures, and product life cycles. It also has a thermal shaker table for battery structural integrity testing, and a battery teardown area for failure analysis and scoping out the guts of competitors' devices.

With the opening of this lab, GM aims to ramp up "in-house" responsibility for advanced battery technology and test all current battery systems from lithium-ion batteries to ultracapacitors.

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