GM Partners with and Invests in OneD Battery Sciences in Quest for Cheap, Energy-Dense EV Batteries

General Motors and OneD Battery Sciences are teaming up on a joint research venture into building more efficient batteries for electric vehicles.

The partnership will focus on using OneD’s silicon nanotechnology in GM’s Ultium battery cells to extend range, improve performance and cut costs. The automaker said Thursday that OneD’s Sinanode platform, which uses silicon nanowires to enhance graphite, can pave the way for smaller, lighter and more efficient battery packs.

“We believe that the winners of the EV race will be those who can effectively add more silicon to the battery cell, in a way that doesn’t disrupt existing supply chains and processes,” Vincent Pluvinage, CEO of OneD Battery Sciences, said in a statement.

GM Ventures, the automaker’s venture arm, has also invested in OneD as part of a Series C $25 million funding round. Volta Energy Technologies also participated in the round. OneD, a Palo Alto-based battery developer, plans to license its Sinanode technology to automakers and industrial partners angling to develop affordable energy-dense batteries at scale.

The deal is GM’s latest in its quest to rapidly scale the Ultium platform underpinning its EVs and reach 1 million units of annual EV manufacturing capacity in North America by 2025.

GM isn’t just relying on partnerships however. The automaker also operates its own R&D center and is about to wrap up construction of its new Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, both of which are located at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. GM researchers are working on technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries at the R&D center. The aim is to move the best battery technologies, which researchers have proven can be scaled, over to the Wallace center.

The automaker announced Friday a partnership with Quebec-based Lithion Recycling to produce new batteries from recovered battery materials starting 2023. The collaboration reflects an industrywide scramble to create a circular battery economy and bring more of the battery lifecycle in-house. Moving battery production onshore can mitigate the supply chain problems and rising costs for raw materials wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine.