GM China Science Lab wins R&D 100 award for EV battery innovation

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 Dec 2019


An innovative high-power battery called the capacitor-assisted battery (CAB) that was invented by the General Motors China Science Lab in Shanghai has won the 2019 R&D 100 Award. The global honour, presented annually by R&D World magazine to 100 of the most innovative technologies and services from the past year, is regarded as the 'Oscars of invention' by the R&D community.

The CAB is built on a groundbreaking hybrid cell architecture that employs a capacitor as power assist to a lithium-ion battery cell. It demonstrates excellent cold-cranking performance and remarkable high-temperature durability, which could have a game-changing effect on low-voltage and hybrid electric vehicle systems, as well as non-automotive applications requiring high-power response. It has already been licensed to two global battery manufacturers for mass production.

“Every step counts in reducing the environmental side effects of vehicles with electrification,” said Dr. Helen Liu, manager of the Battery Lab Group at the GM China Science Lab. “The all-new high-power battery has huge emission-cutting potential as a solution for the mainstream vehicle market.”

Capacitor assist is a cost-effective way to offset the negative impact of temperature on a lithium-ion battery’s power and life cycle, which is a common issue in low-voltage or hybrid systems. The creation of a hybrid cell architecture paves the way for the replacement of today’s dominant lead-acid solution for start-stop application, demonstrating a strong environmental impact while promising greater synergies with lithium-ion cells for purely battery-electric vehicles.

“The all-new high-power battery is a great example of GM’s intra-preneurship and open innovation spirit,” said Dr. John Du, chief technologist of GM China. “The GM China Science Lab will continue to be a key driver of GM’s global R&D efforts for achieving zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion as it strives for innovation with an industry-wide influence.”

GM China’s Battery Lab, which opened in 2012, was the first facility of its kind operated in China by a foreign automaker. Growing together with China’s new energy vehicle market, the battery R&D team is exploring a wide variety of battery materials and battery cell designs, with solutions ranging from conventional high-power batteries to visionary solid-state batteries.

The CAB is the second R&D 100 Award-winning technology developed and commercialised by the GM China Science Lab, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The direct remote laser welding process and system innovation led by a team from the GM China Science Lab and the GM R&D Lab in the U.S. received the 2016 R&D 100 Award.