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GM spends $8m doubling size of US Battery Lab

A far cry from its pre-bankruptcy days, General Motors has announced an $8 million investment to double the size of its battery lab in the United States to support the production of future electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt.
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As a clear sign that times are changing at GM, areas previously used for engine testing will be renovated for battery development and testing with further environmental considerations undertaken in its design including high-efficiency LED lighting and a floor made from recycled tires.

The new lab will be equipped with 176 test channels and 49 thermal chambers which duplicate extreme real-world driving patterns and temperatures to test the batteries in all possible conditions.

“GM is building on its commitment to lead the development of electric vehicle technology – from battery cell design to the charging infrastructure – and today’s investment furthers our work in this area,” said Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems, hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries.
“This addition will benefit consumers by helping us put cleaner, more efficient vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range, on the road more quickly and affordably.”

Having collectively accumulated over 500,000 test miles, the Chevrolet Volt has reached a milestone of its own with recent testing of pre-production models yielding up to 64km of electric-only driving.

The Volt remains on schedule to start regular production in late 2010, with GM now due to begin pre-production of its European counterpart – the Ampera – ahead of its launch for 2012 model year.

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