At first, of course, someone else is going to have to manufacture the batteries the the Volt (and whatever other E-REV options the automaker comes up with.) But after the first couple of years, the automotive giant will be making its own batteries at a facility (hopefully) in Michigan.
The announcement, of course, drew a huge round of applause here in Detroit. The lithium-ion cells themselves will be made by LG in Korea, but they are combing the cells into the Volt's battery here in the U.S..
GM also announced that they would be building “America’s largest automotive battery lab” which sounds more impressive than it is, since I can’t think of another one of any size in the U.S.. I did find out from Tony Posawatz, though, that this lab will be available to test anyone's battery technology. So if you make a new sort of battery, GM will gladly test it for you, determining the lifetime of the battery, charge times and capacity. And then, I imagine, they'll try and buy the technology from you.
There was a little bit of talk recently about switching from reliance of foreign oil to reliance on foreign batteries. This is a little ridiculous for a couple reasons. First, because I’m not so worried about relying on countries stable enough to have multi-billion dollar, advanced technology laboratories with capitalist regimes that support innovation. Second, because the battery is just the storage device. The fuel, electricity, will always be American, if only because you can’t ship it from China. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese are working on a way to open up that market eventually.
This blog first appeared at EcoGeek.