General Motors and LG Chem Working to Make Electric Vehicle Batteries More Affordable

The Detroit News recently reported that General Motors announced its intentions to be the first automaker to sell an affordable EV that also generates a profit. This exciting statement was made by both GM’s head of global product development, Mark Reuss, and Chairman and CEO, Mary Bara. Both executives focused on cutting the cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electric battery cells as a main way to make this happen. Currently, the cost per kWh is around $145, which has come down from more than $200 in 2010. GM is hoping it will hit $100 by 2022.

GM currently holds the industry standard for cost per kilowatt hour at $145, with it’s closest competitor Tesla currently around $190. But it isn’t just GM and other automakers working to make electric vehicles more affordable with a longer range--battery suppliers have been working on this as well. WardsAuto reported that battery manufacturer LG Chem is working with automakers to fine tune the EV battery-vehicle equation.

“It’s the balance of the equation. Automakers are looking at changing the variables. They are now open to what it is going to take to get to that next price point, and it’s not just, “Give me better materials or increase the manufacturing efficiency.” Said Denise Gray, President and CEO of LG Chem. She also noted that as automakers get more experience with EVs, they are starting to reconsider how power is allocated and how durable the energy-storage systems need to be.

Gray believes that GMs goal of $100kWh by 2022 is aggressive, but believes if battery suppliers and automakers continue to work together diligently that it can be achieved. LG Chem isn’t only working on decreasing cost per kWh, they are also working on faster charging times. The company is working towards a goal of an 80% charge in 15-30 minutes.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and the Chevy Bolt and Volt batteries are produced in LG Chem’s plant in Holland, MI. That plant is currently running at full capacity and they are breaking ground to add more battery production. As EV batteries get more efficient and cost reduces while range increases, it looks like EV jobs will continue to grow in Michigan.