• Jan 12, 2009
One of the big remaining technical questions for General Motors' Chevrolet Volt has been who the automaker will tap to supply the batteries. LG Chem and A123 Systems are the two companies that have been supplying prototype battery packs for Volt development program. It has long been rumored that South Korea's LG Chem would be selected, and today CEO Rick Wagoner confirmed the selection. Surprisingly though, GM has decided it will take responsibility for actually building the complete packs. GM will also take full responsibility for all the battery management systems and power electronics.

The company will build a new factory in Michigan, but a specific site has yet to be announced, in part because negotiations are ongoing with state and local authorities on the usual incentives and approvals. LG Chem's US subsidiary, Compact Power of Troy, Michigan, has been building the prototype packs for the development vehicles and will continue to provide integration support and act as a liaison for the program.

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

Chevrolet Volt Battery Packs Will Be Manufactured by General Motors in the United States

* GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility in the United States operated by a major automaker
* LG Chem has been selected to supply the lithium-ion battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt
* Advanced battery strategy strengthens GM's capabilities to develop hybrid and electric vehicles
* GM will open a new automotive battery lab - the largest of its kind - in the United States to further strengthen design, development and testing capabilities
* A partnership with the University of Michigan has been established to develop a specialized curriculum for battery engineers

DETROIT - The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that delivers up to 40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving, will use battery packs manufactured in the United States by General Motors, Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced at the North American International Auto Show.

GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility operated by a major automaker in the United States to produce the Volt's battery pack system. It consists of lithium-ion cells that are grouped into modules, along with other key battery components.

The plant will be located in Michigan, subject to negotiations with state and local government authorities. Facility preparation will begin in early 2009, with production tooling to be installed mid-year and output starting in 2010.

"The design, development and production of advanced batteries must be a core competency for GM, and we've been rapidly building our capability and resources to support this direction," Wagoner said. "This is a further demonstration of our commitment to the electrification of the automobile and to the Chevrolet Volt - a commitment that now totals more than $1 billion."

The Volt's lithium-ion battery cells will be supplied by LG Chem. Compact Power Inc., a subsidiary of LG Chem based in Troy, Mich., will build battery packs for Volt prototype vehicles until GM's battery facility is operational. A joint engineering contract with Compact Power and LG Chem also has been signed to further expedite the development of the Volt's lithium-ion battery technology.

GM has been testing battery packs for the Volt, powered by cells from LG Chem, for the past 16 months. These tests - both on the road and in the lab - have provided invaluable insight into lithium-ion battery technology.

"Our selection of LG Chem was based on performance, production readiness, efficiency, durability and LG Chem's demonstrated track record of exceptional quality," Wagoner said. "At GM, we believe the technical strengths of LG Chem, combined with our own engineering and manufacturing expertise, will help position us as a key player in the development of electrically driven vehicles today and in the future."

GM's advanced battery strategy

"Our announcements are part of a comprehensive advanced battery strategy for GM that is expanding along two pathways," Wagoner said. "First, we're identifying core competencies - such as battery research, development and assembly - and integrating these fundamentals into our product development and manufacturing operations. We believe this will become a competitive advantage for GM, and will be critical to GM's long-term success. Secondly, we're building a roster of battery suppliers and academic experts from around the globe, and leveraging their specialized abilities to develop battery chemistries and cell designs, as well as future automotive battery engineers."

Key elements of GM's advanced battery strategy include:

* Opening the largest automotive battery lab in the United States (31,000 square feet / 3,251 square meters) that will be capable of testing new energy storage system technologies, as well as lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries, to accelerate the domestic development of advanced battery technology and lead GM's network of existing labs in Honeoye Falls, N.Y.; Warren, Mich.; Torrance, Calif.; and Mainz-Kastel, Germany. This new battery lab will be located in Michigan, subject to final negotiations with state and local authorities
* Continuing to ramp-up "in-house" battery-development capability by increasing the staff of GM's global hybrid, electric vehicle and advanced battery organization to several hundred engineers in 2009, including more than 200 currently dedicated to advanced battery technologies
* Joining with the University of Michigan to create a new automotive advanced battery lab in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a specialized curriculum within U of M's College of Engineering to develop automotive battery engineers
* Continuing to grow and establish a robust lineup of battery suppliers for cell development and manufacturing and battery integration expertise, with companies such as LG Chem, A123Systems, Hitachi Ltd., Compact Power and Cobasys
* Collaborating with government organizations and industry consortia, such as the U.S. Department of Energy; United States Council for Automotive Research; the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC; and Electric Power Research Institute to advance the development of hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles, and related electric infrastructure to support those vehicles

Energy alternatives and advanced technologies that reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions are the keys to developing sustainable transportation. GM is pursuing several options to best meet the varied needs of customers around the world - from advanced gasoline, diesel and biofuel technology to electrically assisted vehicles such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids and - ultimately -electrically driven extended-range electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. GM believes that electrically driven vehicles, based on battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology, offer the best long-term solution for providing sustainable personal transportation.

In June 2008, the GM Board of Directors approved the Chevrolet Volt program and Voltec™ propulsion system for production starting in late 2010. For trips of up to 40 miles, the Volt is powered by electricity from the grid and stored in its lithium-ion battery pack. Beyond 40 miles, a small engine-generator creates additional electricity to extend the range of the Volt several hundred additional miles. The development of the Volt's 16 kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery, which is roughly 6 feet long (1.8 meters) and weighs nearly 400 pounds (181 kg), is key to the Volt's success. The production-intent design was revealed in September 2008.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 252,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 34 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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  • 53 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Exciting to see that they are investing in the Michigan economy. With the amount of jobs lost in the passed months, a few new ones will be welcomed here.

      Also interesting to see the choice of LG over the A123 design... I'm sure we'll hear more details as the development of the pack progresses.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, it was quite obvious which way GM was going when Bob Lutz confirmed that Volt mules were being tested only with LG's battery packs.

        Interestingly enough, this is not the most advanced battery type LG has to offer. Hyundai's getting an lithium polymer battery pack for Sonata and Elantra hybrids from LG this year.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A123 partnered with Continental for the Volt program. They have never partnered with LG Chem
      • 6 Years Ago
      This changes nothing... most of your stories site Korean LG Chem as the PRIMARY supplier. This means they pull the most profit.

      I highly doubt that the MI based companies create much of LG's exclusive electronics & other designs that will be used in the Volt.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is it me or is GM always the last to the dance they really need to get there stuff together. Instead of rebadging cars from overseas and trying to make something good. When I was a kid and you owned a GM product it lasted! Today it just seems like there always last to the party and put together junk!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think that this battery is so don't differented from the prius one which is coming out now...
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ why not the LS2LS7?

      The problem with "American" Volt is that it has higher imported content than your typical US market Camry. Imported battery and associated control and cooling unit, imported suspension component, imported dashboard, the list goes on and on. You are confusing the battery pack with battery cell. Battery cell and associated control unit and cooling system, which makes up
      90% of pack cost, will be imported. All GM does is putting them into a pack case.

      As for the design inspiration for Volt's dashboard, it's LG(How ironic)'s Chocolate line of cell phones.

      @ Joe

      Compact Power Inc is basically a US sales office of LG Chemical.
      • 6 Years Ago
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8239246

      "LG Chem Ltd , chosen to supply batteries for General Motors Corp's Chevrolet Volt, could manufacture battery cells for the plug-in hybrid 'in the United States' should volumes rise sufficiently, LG's chief executive said on Monday."
      • 6 Years Ago
      The company will build a new factory in Michigan, but a specific site has yet to be announced,


      uhh, and they plan to introduce this car when ? A little over a year from now? Fat chance....
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm happy LG will have a US based plant... having it in MI is another bonus(as MI's unemployment numbers are higher than average...). Having stated the positive aspects upfront... I want to bring the obvious flip-side.

        The Big 3 have stated in the past that the "transplants" make it hard for them to compete on a level playing field. These transplants also bring their own supplier base. Well now GM will be relying on a Korean transplant supplier to make a key component for their "American" car.

        Will Korean LG get U.S. tax breaks+ R&D money? The "Buy American" crowd can't have it both ways... Hyundai / Kia employ thousands of Americans & use LG components as well.

        Yet drive a Hyundai in places like SE MI & it gets keyed, owners get looks/ comments from the "Buy American" crowd. However, Volt drivers will be viewed as "American" as baseball & apple pie (despite the fact that the main power source of their car is Korean)

        Can't have it BOTH ways.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow, what is with the negativity. Are you worried that GM's comeback will cause you and millions of other Americans to do what you/they have said for years, "I'll buy American when they . . ."? The when is now. It is time people start putting their money where their mouth is.

        BTW: They can easily get it done, as many states now have a "one stop" process for business licenses that are needed for renewable energy or "green" products.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That was my first thought.
        They better get to it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WOW, I 've got to stop using my iPhone to post on Autoblog. I can't believe the number of typos I just had in my last post.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Volt is coming out late 2010, so it's quite more than a year. I don't think they will have a timing issue.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It could be that the first batch of packs would be shipped from Korea in completed form.
        • 6 Years Ago
        2 Year test cycle for these batteries and they don't even have one built from the supplier yet. Either this car is going to come out on time and have so many recalls it'll be easier just to leave it at the dealer every night, or say hello to 2012.
        • 6 Years Ago
        MM: The Wixom plant??? Dude, they made entire cars in that plant. A battery plant does NOT need that much sq. footage.

        MI governmnt was trying to get Universal to open a midwest movie studio at the Wixom plant location... now that industry would utilize all that space.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When I first saw the picture, I thought they were preparing GM's gravestone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, this leaves a question for the Buy American crowd. Is the Volt a Korean car now?
        • 6 Years Ago
        More or less yes. The Volt mule that Rick Wagoner drove to Senate bailout hearing wasn't a Cruze, but a Korean domestic market Lacetti that was airlifted from Korea for the publicity stunt.

        Volt rides on a Korean-developed Lacetti/Cruze chassis, Korean battery, Korean dashboard made by Lacetti/Cruze dashboard maker(Why the dashboard looked like LG cellphone design), heavy Korean content overall.
        • 6 Years Ago
        But still, we should buy American, right?


        • 6 Years Ago
        stop being a troll
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Does eating a Mexican grown avocado, make you a Mexican?"

        No but if you buy the Mexician avocado in a US owned store, does that make it Americian?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ tankd0g

        > Maybe there will be a Hyundai Volt with a 10 year warranty

        Hyundai's getting the same LG battery tech this year instead of next year.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Does eating a Mexican grown avocado, make you a Mexican?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe there will be a Hyundai Volt with a 10 year warranty :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually the Cruze/Lacetti is built on the Delta (Global Compact car) architecture primarilly developed in Europe by Opel. The Asian market Cruze/Lacetti is being built by Daewoo but the US market version will be built in Ohio with the Volt being built in Detroit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not sure why there is so much issue over where which vehicle is developed? Every business today is global. Honda, Toyota have full vehicles designed, engineered, developed and sold in the States or in Europe which have nothing to do with Japan. Almost every company, even Mazda does that. The Mazda3 was designed and developed simulataneouly on three continents.

      • 6 Years Ago
      No. Volt is not use "imported" battery.
      It will manufactured by Compact Power, a subsidiary of LG Chem.

      http://www.compactpower.com/
      Corporate Headquarters in US

      It is a "made in USA" battery. and made by american workers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LG is a Korean company & OWNS or has CONTROLLING INTEREST in Compact Power. So this is basically a TRANSPLANT. Just like all the Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, etc plants in USA.

        The "Buy American" crowd HATES the transplants... they tell us the money goes back to Japan, Korea, etc. Now the Volt will be a glorified transplant. Profits from Compact Power will go back to home country.

        If the Volt is American... so is the American made Hondas, Toyotas, Hyundais, & all the other bransa employing Americans. They ALL employ Americans
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have to go with Hypermiler here (rereading it based upon his lower-down comment). The article says the cells will be made in Korea and the packs made here. The cells compose over 50% of the value (cost) in the pack, so to me, they're imported packs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ha, That picture reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Where's the monkeys?
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