A number of carmaking companies are turning to electric vehicles, with many concepts for future, bigger, hybrid trucks and vehicles set up for the future. To ensure the process is smooth, work on battery-cell engineering and electrification needs to keep pace.
General Motors is one such car company looking ahead to the future of all-electric vehicles. Electrek spoke with the company's director of battery cell engineering and electrification strategy, Tim Grewe, to get a better idea of the topic.
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The company has a decent and ever-growing battery-cell R&D program and testing facility, so speaking with Grewe shed some good light on the future of electric vehicles.
"Our transition to electric vehicles is key, and we must continue to minimize our own operational footprint and lead changes toward a circular economy – where waste is eliminated and materials are reused & recycled." Read more from Dane Parker, our CSO: https://t.co/6qNGo2kyzP pic.twitter.com/Gx1tW0Uhav— General Motors (@GM) February 10, 2020
Grewe mentioned that the cost of cells is "coming down dramatically." However, there's still a long way to go before reaching the bottom. He explained that GM has been conservative with their batteries so far, but this will change.
In their interview, Electrek asked Grewe about the future of cobalt and nickel as a supply of materials for cells. In his answer, Grewe explained that there is general talk in the industry of getting rid of cobalt, but there first needs to be a solution for creating as much energy density as with cobalt.
We’re kicking off 2020 by announcing one of our most anticipated vehicles, the #GMCHummerEV super truck. A true mark of progress toward a world with #ZeroEmissions. https://t.co/5Pk5UhkN32 pic.twitter.com/I5mT9zn0Tp— General Motors (@GM) January 30, 2020
Grewe continued "We’re working on battery recycling so that we mitigate that a little bit. The problem is, for example, the Volt extended-range batteries are still going strong. There was an extended range Volt that had 450,000 miles on it, and the battery was still chugging along. So it’s a question of getting supply into the recycling stream. There’s just not enough supply to have a secondary use company so it can depend on the supplier."
In speaking about solid-state batteries, Grewe believes that these are closer to becoming a realization that predicted, in under eight to 10 years. The GM team is "chasing it as hard as we can. But we have to make sure it doesn't disappoint [for energy density, cell life, etc.]"
For more information on the relevant matter, read the entire interview here.