GM strikes battery splitter deal

When it comes to electric vehicles, battery cells are very important. They are literally what allows the vehicle to store energy and go anywhere. When talking about battery cells, minerals like lithium and cobalt tend to grab attention. But, there is a small polymer part of every battery cell with a vital role to play: separating the pros and cons while allowing some ions to move back and forth.

When all is well with a battery splitter, no one thinks about it. But, when things go wrong, they get a lot of attention. For example, the Bolt EV fire recalls that got so much attention last year and early this year ended in problems with the splitters. We can usually take them for granted, but when they fail, the results can be devastating.

Fortunately, GM isn’t resting on its laurels after Bolt’s recalls. A recent press release announced that he had reached an agreement to continue to improve the separators and build them in the United States.

General Motors has decided to partner with battery manufacturer Microvast to develop specialized EV battery separator technology. This project is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the United States and will be supported by a $200 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s Battery Materials Processing and Manufacturing Initiative.

GM’s separation and coating technology will be part of the collaboration with Microvast. Together they will create new splitter technology that can improve the safety, charging and battery life of electric vehicles. This innovation is expected to stabilize thermal energy in EV batteries and work seamlessly with nearly all types, including lithium-ion cells such as graphite, silicon, and lithium-metal anodes as well as cathodes. rich in nickel, atoms without cobalt, high voltage ions. phosphates.

“This collaboration with Microvast supports our ongoing efforts to develop a North American-focused electric vehicle supply chain and help get everyone into an electric vehicle,” said Kent Helfrich, GM chief technology officer. and vice president of research and development. “It will also provide us with pioneering separator technology that can be used in future Ultium batteries and, more importantly, support our continued commitment to safety.”

The Department of Energy has recognized GM’s battery expertise by selecting the company for its Battery500 consortium. The consortium is a team of experts from national laboratories, universities and industry working to develop more reliable, affordable, longer range and higher performance EV batteries.

GM is the sole automaker selected for the consortium and will work with other members to accelerate the development of high-energy rechargeable lithium metal batteries. This will make it possible to switch from traditional gasoline and diesel vehicles to more environmentally friendly battery-electric vehicles.

“We expect the safety benefits of our innovative, highly thermally stable polyaramid separators to transform the development of high-energy lithium-ion batteries and generate significant value for the industry,” said Dr. Wenjuan Mattis, chief technology officer at Microvast.

Another important thing this announcement highlights is an ongoing effort by automakers to manufacture more batteries in the United States. This will help GM take advantage of revamped US tax credits while helping to pursue US strategic objectives.

Featured image courtesy of GM.

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