Three years to the day since the Chevrolet Volt Concept made its public debut, GM has begun manufacturing advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs for the production Volt at its new Brownstown Battery Pack Assembly Plant in Brownstown, Michigan.
Brownstown is the first operational high-volume Li-ion manufacturing facility in the U.S. and gives GM the honor of being first automaker to build these critical components here. The automaker has invested some $43 million to turn the 160,000 square-foot Brownstown facility from an empty shell to a full-fledged battery plant, which is part of a wholly own subsidiary of General Motors called the GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC. The plant itself is divided into three primary functional areas: battery module pre-assembly where the 200 individual prismatic cells and other components that make up the finished pack are collected, a final assembly area, and the battery pack main line where additional testing, verification and packaging take place.
GM plans to use the initial run of Brownstown battery packs for various testing and evaluation purposes, to validated the plant's equipment and procedures as well as to subject them to operational checks at GM's Global Battery Systems lab in Warren, Michigan. This spring, the first battery packs will be sent to GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant -- future home of the Volt -- for use in production validation vehicles. Official Volt production will start in the fourth quarter.