Electrification: Taking Flight, Part 2

In case you’re wondering what the inside of a 160,000-sq. ft. facility for producing lithium-ion battery packs looks like—specifically, the GM Brownstown [MI] Battery Pack Assembly Plant, which went into production today (see preceding post), thereby becoming the first high-volume U.S. automotive li-ion battery pack plant—here are some photos.

In case you’re wondering what the inside of a 160,000-sq. ft. facility for producing lithium-ion battery packs looks like—specifically, the GM Brownstown [MI] Battery Pack Assembly Plant, which went into production today (see preceding post), thereby becoming the first high-volume U.S. automotive li-ion battery pack plant—here are some photos.

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The process starts with prismatic-shaped battery modules (there are about 200 per battery pack) that are processed and installed by automated equipment into modules. These modules are sent toe the battery pack main line, where they are positioned on an automated guided cart system, On this line the are thermal and electrical assembly, and quality and dimensional tests. There is final testing, verification, and packaging for shipment.

Initial shipments will be made to the GM Global Battery Systems lab in Warren, MI. By spring it is anticipated that the batteries will be shipped directly from Brownstown to the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, where the Chevy Volt extended-range hybrid will be produced.

GM is spending $700-million in eight Michigan facilities for production capabilities for the Volt (the Brownstown and Detroit-Hamtramck plants; a tooling plant in Grand Blanc; a plant in Bay City for manufacturing camshafts and connecting rods; and dies, stampings, and a 1.4-liter engine generator from three plants in Flint).