General Motors continues its all-in effort on electric vehicles with Tuesday's announcement of a new battery research facility, named the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center. GM took the opportunity to honor its former director who spearheaded battery research for the original Chevrolet Volt, Malibu Hybrid and Bolt EV. This new facility will carry out Wallace's commitment to the technology as GM looks to unlock the holy grail of battery technology: solid state batteries.
The new facility in Michigan will support future battery cell production sites in Ohio, Tennessee and other locations, the automaker said. And it won't only focus on solid state tech, either. GM will pursue lithium-metal and silicone technologies as it looks to reduce the cost of batteries by 60% with its next-generation Ultium battery units. This, in turn, fuels GM's goal of bringing EVs to market quicker and at far more affordable prices than what we see today. A Chevy Bolt EV still costs thousands more than a comparable small crossover, for example. Knock 60% off the cost of a battery and then we may see some real price parity with EVs and a car with an internal-combustion engine.
GM plans to open the facility in mid-2022. Come the end of next year, the automaker wants the first prototype cells ready to go.