There once was a time when GM was the leader in electric vehicles, they even designed the above skateboard of an electric vehicle in 2002 – and of course, the Chevy Volt is one heckuva a loved electric vehicle. So it feels good to write about this factory.
GM and LG Chem are investing approximately $2.3 billion to build an electric car battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory is projected to be running by 2023. In South Korea a security filing by LG Chem verified certain details of the investment this morning, in addition to a press release by GM this morning.
Electrek.co reported that on press call this morning the companies see themselves on a $100/kWh trajectory by 2023. The site also reported that this battery facility could build batteries for multiple vehicles, including GM’s reported next electric vehicle – a Cadillac SUV.
Lordstown, Ohio is about a three hour drive from Detroit. Until 2018, GM was manufacturing the Cruze in the city, and last month they sold the facility to electric truck startup Lordstown Motors. Reuters reported the workers at the facility, 1,100 per the GM press release, would be represented by the Auto Workers Union and earn between $15 and $17 an hour.
Already, GM and LG Chem have a battery relationship between themselves in the Chevy Volt. In GM’s Brownstown Battery manufacturing facility, lithium-Ion battery pack production for Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is ongoing, which is included in the facilities six unique battery products that fit in nine cars, four of which shown above.
The below images are of the Brownstown Battery facility.
The current leader, by far, manufacturing batteries in the United States is Tesla with their Gigafactory and Panasonic partnership located in Nevada.
A February presentation to US Congress by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence was “tracking 70 lithium ion battery megafactories under construction across four continents, 46 of which are based in China with only five currently planned for the US.” The report also covered the main materials needed to build batteries, breaking down how much of each – lithium, nichel, cobalt, etc – the United States imported.
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So it’ll be a LG plant making the cells in 2023 at 30% more than Tesla cell cost now, does not bode well for GM.
And let’s not forget Tesla has new tech that will drop the price to about $70/kwh for cells by 2021.
The $100/kwh is based upon a recent article by industry analysts showing where pricing is headed. If Tesla gets to $70/kwh then they have a huge market advantage.
Having owned a Volt for 3 years I can’t say I love it. I love the electric power train, but the car itself I would not buy again – the views are very obstructed and it won’t charge fast enough even at a Level 2 charger it takes 5-6 hours. I have “range” anxiety in that when I have to use the gas engine I get very annoyed. I would not buy another PHEV, gas car or EV with less than 150 miles of range. And proper L2 charging support.
But, glad to see GM eventually getting back to the EV land they have been promising for a while. Got to wonder how far Tesla will be ahead in EV tech by 2023.
When the Volt hit the market the interest and scrutiny was huge. One engineer wrote an article for IEEE that took a look at the technology that had to be adopted to make the electric car move seamlessly between operation modes, including the ICE engine within these operation modes. The article touched on the amount of computerization and the amount of actual code needed to do the job. It seems GM had programs testing, debugging control programs for this project as well as human programmers creating control modules. It was said that there are 10 million lines of code to operate the Volt, it takes 7 million lines of code to fly a 747.
I will say the EVICE is very seamless. Also, because of the low center of gravity and the weight it does pretty well in the snow – although the low height of the car doesn’t help. My girlfriend had to take it during a snow day and she drove enough to use the gas, but when I asked her she didn’t know if it did or not.
And, so far in 3 years I am around 97% electric. Had to change the oil once and looks like I am on a 2 year oil change cycle. I have also learned to only keep 3-4 gallons of gas in the car because it gets stale after 6-9 months and the car insists on running the engine. Last year I went 2-3 weeks trying to burn through a full tank of gas.
Still more viable than whatever that electric truck startup BS is about. That will have an investment of about $3.50 and employee 3-4 people before it goes tits up next year.
The key point here is that they’re retooling the facility and the workforce for the new world order. Even if they fail, that’s an awfully attractive infrastructure to have in place for the next venture.
I recently ran across an article about the company 24M. It seems they have what they call a (chemistry-agnostic- battery) technology. That meaning a lot of the current lithium ion battery technologies can be turned into a”slurry” and injected into the two chamber battery cavity. It is kind of like a slurry based redox flow battery without the storage tanks and pumps. The battery membrane is one of 24M design that keeps the ionic slurries apart and allows electrons to flow. The other thing I found interesting is the claim with the right ‘chemistry’ one could have that 280 to 300 Wh/kg energy density with a ‘claimed’ thousands to thousands of charge/discharge cycles.
The battery technology is being licensed by Japan’s Kyocera and a plant is being built to manufacture this technology sometime in 2020.
Vaporware? 24M has manufactured in its pilot plant in the U.S. 48VDC 110Ah battery packs now being used in grid storage in Thailand.
There are some very dodgy lithium companies out there… based on 2-3 patents from 2005, they spent 500,000 on a commercial project on Obama’s incentives, and came up with a single shipping crate with no photo’s of what’s inside, could be any old battery from the shops, and then they sold all their assets for 15,000 dollars 3 years later and dissapeared… And then!!! and then… in 2018 they re-appear with a new name, a 10,000 dollar web site, the same managers and executives, and a 10,000 dollar promotion video with pretty music, little girls dancing through fields, green aspiration philosophy, a new name, and the same picture of the shipping crate from their last company, except with a new company logo on it!!! and people flash the companie’s news feed video to 10,000 hyped up readers, while the technical content of the company is still the 3 patents from 2003, and no tech news from them since, only investment and dissapearance.
I can see some long term animus between old employees and new employees. Before the recession automotive line workers in the UAW were getting $28 to $38 per hour. Now after the recession new auto workers are getting $15 to $20 per hour. Still in countries like Mexico an automotive line worker may be at the $10 to $12 per hour wage point.
Makes one wonder if GM and LG Chem can go head to head with the large Chinese battery manufacturers like BYD or CATL?
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