GM is joining a team of battery experts from national laboratories, academia and industry who are working to develop more reliable, affordable, longer range and higher performance EV batteries.  -  Photo: General Motors

GM is joining a team of battery experts from national laboratories, academia and industry who are working to develop more reliable, affordable, longer range and higher performance EV batteries.

Photo: General Motors

General Motors and battery manufacturer Microvast will work together to develop specialized EV battery separator technology and build a new separator plant in the U.S., which is expected to create hundreds of new jobs, the companies announced Nov. 2.

This work will be supported by a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing initiative.

Separators are safety-critical EV battery components that serve to separate the anode from the cathode, allowing for ion transfer. GM will contribute its cutting-edge separator and coating technology to the collaboration with Microvast.

The companies will work together to develop new separator technology that can help improve EV safety, charging and battery life. This advanced technology is designed to enhance thermal stability of EV batteries and work with nearly all types of lithium-ion cells, including graphite, silicon, and lithium-metal anodes and nickel-rich, cobalt-free, lithium iron phosphate-type and high-voltage cathodes.

"This collaboration with Microvast supports our ongoing efforts to develop a North American-focused EV supply chain and help put everyone in an EV," said Kent Helfrich, GM chief technology officer and VP of research and development, in a news release. "It will also provide us with pioneering separator technology that can be used in future Ultium batteries, and most importantly, supports our continuing commitment to safety."

Dr. Wenjuan Mattis, chief technology officer at Microvast, added, “We expect the safety advantages of our innovative, highly thermally stable polyaramid separators to transform high-energy lithium-ion battery development and drive significant value for the industry."

In addition, the Department of Energy has further recognized GM's battery expertise by selecting the company for its Battery500 Consortium, which is being awarded $75 million for a second phase of research.

Led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the consortium is a team of battery experts from national laboratories, academia and industry working to develop more reliable, affordable, longer range and higher performance EV batteries.

GM is the only auto manufacturer selected for the consortium and will work with other members to accelerate development of high-energy, rechargeable lithium metal batteries.

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