GM to switch from pouch to round battery cells
General Motors reportedly wants to switch from pouch to round cells in future electric models. According to a media report, the change in cell format is also the reason why GM and LG Energy Solution apparently do not pursue their plan for a fourth joint US battery cell plant.
This is reported by TheElec with reference to insiders. GM has so far been using LGES pouch cells, but future electric car platforms from the car company are to support the use of round cells. It is therefore likely that General Motors will use cells of the 4680 format (46 millimetres in diameter, 80 millimetres high) initiated by Tesla in the future.
According to the portal, there are also indications that the plan for a fourth US cell plant by General Motors and LG Energy Solution was cancelled for precisely this reason. Media reports said that GM could build the planned plant in Indiana instead with a new partner at its side. However, this has not been confirmed by GM and LGES. When asked, GM said that it had made it clear that its own plans included investing in a fourth US cell factory, but it did not want to comment on speculation. LG Energy Solution, for its part, said that talks about a fourth plant for the Ultium Cells battery cell joint venture with GM are still ongoing, “but no decision has been made yet”.
GM is not alone in changing the cell type: BMW has also confirmed the use of round cells in its ‘New Class’ electric cars from 2025, in this case with a uniform diameter of 46 millimetres and two different heights. Other car manufacturers such as Volvo and Stellantis are also said to be planning to use this type of battery, according to TheElec.
Tesla had only announced earlier this month that it would now be able to equip around 1,000 vehicles per week with its new 4680 battery cells. The Californian company is installing their 4680 round cells in the Model Y, for example, which is being built in Giga Texas. In parallel to the model with the 4680-based structural battery pack, however, Model Y variants with conventional battery pack and 2170 cells will continue to be built in Austin – since 4680 production is not sufficient to fill the vehicle production line.
The 4680 cells will also be used in the Tesla Semi electric truck and the upcoming Roadster 2. Therefore, how quickly Tesla can scale its own 4680 production will be important for the production of these models. The 4680 cells will also be sourced from suppliers, but when this will happen in large quantities is an open question. Tesla’s battery partner Panasonic manufactures 4680 cells on a pilot line in Japan, but series production is to take place in North America – presumably at a new plant in Kansas, which is not due to be completed until March 2025.
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