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Honda Partners with GM to Develop Next-Gen EV Batteries

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【Summary】​General Motors and Honda announced an agreement for new advanced chemistry battery components, including the cell and module, to accelerate both companies’ plans for all-electric vehicles.

Eric Walz    Jun 07, 2018 10:54 AM PT
Honda Partners with GM to Develop Next-Gen EV Batteries
author: Eric Walz   

General Motors and Honda announced an agreement for new advanced chemistry battery components, including the cell and module, to accelerate both companies' plans for all-electric vehicles.

The next-generation battery will deliver higher energy density, smaller packaging and faster charging capabilities for both companies' future products, mainly for the North American market. GM is looking to produce battery packs that cost less as the company prepares to launch 20 electric models in China by 2023.

Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate based on GM's next generation battery system with the intent that Honda will source the battery modules from GM. The collaboration will support each company's respective and distinct vehicles. The combined scale and global manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers.

"This new, multiyear agreement with Honda further demonstrates General Motors' capability to innovate toward a profitable electric portfolio," said Mark Reuss, General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. "GM's decades of electrification experience and strategic EV investments, alongside Honda's commitment to advancing mobility, will result in better solutions for our customers and progress on our zero emissions vision."

GM and Honda already have an established relationship on batteries. Last year, GM and Honda Motor revealed plans to invest $85 million to build hydrogen fuel cell stacks for next-generation green vehicles at a factory in Michigan. Production is expected to begin in 2020. The integrated development teams are working to deliver a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems.

"In addition to our ongoing joint development and production of fuel cells, this battery component collaboration will enable us to take a new step toward the realization of a sustainable society," said Takashi Sekiguchi, Chief Officer for Automobile Operations and Managing Officer of Honda.

GM is looking for ways to bring down the cost of of EV batteries, including using less cobalt in their construction, as cobalt prices rise due to demand. GM's new battery design increases the amount of nickel, which enables EV batteries to store and produce more energy.

GM announced last year that its engineers are also working on more efficient packaging of batteries in vehicles and improved systems for managing energy flow and cooling the battery cells. GM has said it expects these changes to cut the cost of battery cells by more than 30 percent, from $145 per kilowatt-hour to less than $100 by 2021. The Bolt uses a 60 kWh battery pack.

Battery experts said the full cost of a GM battery pack is nearly one-third of the car's $36,000 sticker price.

The Bolt's battery, motor and power electronics are currently made by South Korean electronics manufacturer LG.

Buoyed by the success of the Bolt, LG announced separate plans last summer to establish a new U.S. factory for "advanced electric vehicle (EV) components" in Michigan. LG made the announcement after it saw its revenue from vehicle components grow 43% to more than $1.5 billion, which they attribute to the successful collaboration with General Motors on the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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