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General Motors Set to Drive Into the Future With Innovative Partnerships

By Daniel Miller - Mar 11, 2021 at 2:24PM

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When it comes to developing electric-vehicle technology, GM is putting its money where its mouth is.

General Motors (GM 0.71%) is set to work with lithium battery innovator SolidEnergy Systems (SES) in a partnership to increase range, lower costs, and improve energy density of its battery technology. SES might not be a new name to GM investors as GM Ventures was an early investor in the company back in 2015. That set the stage for Thursday's partnership announcement to build a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts. The goal is to produce a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.

"Affordability and range are two major barriers to mass EV adoption," said General Motors President Mark Reuss at a Washington Post Live virtual conference. "With this next-generation Ultium chemistry, we believe we're on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation improvement in energy density and cost. There's even more room to improve in both categories, and we intend to innovate faster than any other company in this space."

GM CEO Mary Barra giving an electric vehicle presentation.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra addresses the gathering at GM's EV Day, March 4, 2020. Image source: General Motors.

GM brings an extensive history with lithium metal batteries, including 49 patents granted and 45 patents pending, while SES also brings its own intellectual property to the table. Already, the initial prototype batteries have logged 150,000 simulated test miles. GM has high hopes for its Ultium battery platform and believes the new system could give vehicles a range of up to 450 miles on one charge.

When it comes to developing an electric-vehicle strategy, GM has thrown it into high gear. GM has committed more than $27 billion to EV and autonomous vehicle (AV) product development with 30 EVs set to launch by the end of 2025. GM continues to make it clear to investors it will accelerate EV development and drive the company into the future by working with a list of innovative young companies such as SES.

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