GM to double the size of Michigan battery lab

General Motors is doubling the size of the largest and most technologically advanced automotive battery lab in the U.S. to expedite the development of electrically driven vehicles for consumers.

Suzanne Ashe
Suzanne Ashe has been covering technology, gadgets, video games, and cars for several years. In addition to writing features and reviews for magazines and Web sites, she has contributed to daily newspapers.
Suzanne Ashe
2 min read
General Motors

General Motors will double the size of the Global Battery Systems Lab on the GM Technical Center campus. The $8 million expansion will increase the existing 30,000 sq. ft. facility to 63,000 sq. ft. The addition will be located adjacent to the existing lab inside the Alternative Energy Center facility. Areas previously used for engine testing will be renovated for battery development. Construction will begin this month and is scheduled for completion in the summer, the company said in a press release.

"GM is building on its commitment to lead the development of electric vehicle technology--from battery cell design to the charging infrastructure--and today's investment furthers our work in this area," said Micky Bly, GM executive director for global electrical systems, hybrids, electric vehicles, and batteries. "This addition will benefit consumers by helping us put cleaner, more efficient vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range, on the road more quickly and affordably."

The lab is equipped with 176 test channels and 49 thermal chambers duplicating extreme real-world driving patterns and weather conditions. Power train test cells previously used for engine altitude testing, for example, will be retrofitted for crush, penetration, water immersion, overcharge, discharge and short circuit tests. Also radiant heat, thermal stability and thermal shock test cells will be expanded.

"We've made the commitment to design, develop, validate, and manufacture automotive battery technology in-house," Bly said. "Consolidating these testing capabilities at the Global Battery Systems Lab will reduce costs, provide a competitive advantage, quicken the pace of development, and ensure we will design, build, and sell the world's best vehicles."