GM is trying to speed up battery development and make batteries cheaper. That is the reasoning behind GM’s investment is a California company called Mitra Chem. General Motors is leading a $60 million Series B financing round in Mitra Chem in hopes that its AI platform can accelerate GM’s development of affordable batteries in the U.S. The technology would help bring down the costs of all EV vehicles but could be especially important in getting more affordable vehicles like the new Chevrolet Bolt, 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV and 2024 Equinox EV to market.
“This is a strategic investment that will further help reinforce GM’s efforts in EV batteries, accelerate our work on affordable battery chemistries like LMFP and support our efforts to build a U.S.-focused battery supply chain,” said Gil Golan, GM vice president, Technology Acceleration and Commercialization. “GM is accelerating larger investments in critical subdomains of battery technology, like cell chemistry, components and advanced cell production processes. Mitra Chem’s labs, methods and talent will fit well with our own R&D team’s work.”
Mitra Chem to Develop Batteries for the Ultium Platform
GM and Mitra Chem will work together to develop advanced iron-based cathode active materials, like lithium manganese iron phosphate. GM’s funding will help Mitra Chem to expand its current operations and accelerate getting the battery materials to market.
Mitra Chem says its battery R&D facility can simulate, synthesize and test thousands of cathode designs monthly, ranging in size from grams to kilograms. These processes speed up the trial-and-error stage, speeding up the delivery time for new battery cell formulas.
“GM’s investment in Mitra Chem will not only help us develop affordable battery chemistries for use in GM vehicles, but also will fuel our mission to develop, deploy and commercialize U.S. made, iron-based cathode materials that can power EVs, grid-scale electrified energy storage and beyond,” said Mitra Chem CEO and Co-Founder Vivas Kumar.
Speeding Battery Production Critical for Automotive Industry
Mitra Chem is building the first North American lithium-ion battery materials product company that shortens the lab-to-production timeline by over 90%. All of the automakers are struggling with getting new battery plants up and running and able to supply batteries for mass production. Any new technology that can speed the process will be welcome in an industry that is so reliant on new battery production.
GM and especially Chevrolet have a number of new EV releases that are scheduled for mass production. Chevrolet recently announced that it will switch its popular Bolt to the Ultium platform and bring it back. So far, it is not saying what model year will see the Bolt return. Chevrolet also has a new 2024 Blazer EV and 2024 Equinox EV that are designed to be affordable SUVs. Anything that Mitra Chem can do to speed production and make it cheaper will be important to the success of all three new EVs.
Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.
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