[ad#post_ad]GM has announced it will be investing $8 million to double the size and capacity of its advanced battery lab in Warren Michigan., considered the most technologically advanced in the world

The expansion from 30,000 to 63,000 square feet is being done to "expedite the development of electrically driven vehicles for consumers," said GM in a statement. Construction begins this month and will be completed by summer.

“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, 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 current state of the art lab, itself an upgrade from the previous lab where the Volt batteries were first tested, began operations in January 2009. It is used by a staff of more than 1000 engineers to test cells, modules, and entire packs with the latter taking up about half the space.

The expansion will improve capability in six key areas:
1. Safety and abuse tolerance.
2. Buildup and teardown
3. Manufacturing and engineering
4. Charger development and integration
5. Thermal development
6. Battery storage

"We've made the commitment to design, develop, validate and manufacture automotive battery technology in-house," said Bly. "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."

The lab is actually part of a greater network of GM advanced battery technology labs including facilities in Germany, China and New York state.

The expanded lab will feature 40 pack cyclers and 32 cell cyclers with a total of 176 testing channels. There will be 33 pack and 16 cell thermal chambers.

The facility is not only used to test GM-developed material but also has an "open door policy" to accept cell sample from outside energy storage and battery vendors.

By investing in and expanding its battery testing facility, GM is signalling its continued intentions and enthusiasm for electrification of the automobile.

Source ( GM )