GM Claims It’s On the Verge of Commercializing the Most Exotic Battery Chemistry of All
Buried in its big announcement, the legacy automaker says it will tame metallic lithium
GM has made the much-overlooked claim that by mid-decade, it expects to commercialize the most exotic of the stretch futuristic batteries currently on electric vehicle drawing boards.
In remarks yesterday at Barclay’s Automotive Conference, GM CEO Mary Barra announced an explicit campaign to capture the lead in EV development from Tesla and everyone else in the industry. That included a 35% bump in EV development investment to $27 billion by 2025 and the deployment of EVs that will go up to a whopping 450 miles on a charge, farther than any of its major competitors have discussed.
Because of the gargantuan energy lift that metallic lithium can bring, it has been a holy grail of the battery world for almost a half-century.
Most coverage of the presentation focused on those announcements plus the accelerated release of the electric Cadillac Lyriq to the first quarter of 2022, nine months early. But the reports that focused on these developments missed the big news. Doug Parks, one of Barra’s executive vice presidents, said that GM’s next-generation EV battery, contained in its mid-decade EVs, will have a metallic lithium anode.
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This is a huge deal: Because of the gargantuan energy lift that metallic lithium can bring, it has been a holy grail of the battery world for almost a half-century. But no one has managed to figure out how to get past an unfortunate side reaction, which is that metallic lithium catches fire, grows dangerous spikes that short circuit batteries, and is generally a difficult beast to tame.
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