Kevin Wale speaking at the ground breaking ceremony today

Kevin Wale speaking at the ground breaking ceremony today

General Motors on Tuesday broke ground for the GM China Advanced Technical Center.

The new facility, adjacent to the GM China International Operations and GM China headquarters in Shanghai, will develop advanced vehicle designs and technology solutions for GM worldwide.

“As an integral element of our global product development strategy, the [centre] will create advanced technologies and lead GM's global research in targeted areas,” said GM China Group president and managing director Kevin Wale. “We expect it to become one of GM’s most important and comprehensive technical and design facilities worldwide.”

The centre will include 62 test and nine research labs and will house four key research and design organisations.

These are the China Science Lab, launched in 2009, for research and technology development that should lead to applications over five to 15 years. Its focus is on advanced propulsion system research, manufacturing process research, megacity smart traffic research, customer driven advanced vehicle development, battery cell material and fabrication research and lightweight material research.

The Vehicle Engineering Lab will 'localise' technology for China. It will carry out the testing and development of electric vehicles, research on alternative energy vehicles, research and development of battery technology in conjunction with local suppliers, and product development featuring advanced technology and design solutions with GM’s domestic joint ventures.

The Advanced Powertrain Engineering Lab will carry out research and development work on advanced propulsion systems, including electrification technology, alternatives to petroleum-based fuels in conventional powertrains, and unique conventional powertrains for the local market, as well as development and testing of new materials for powertrain products. 

The Advanced Design Center will support GM’s global design resources, with a focus on meeting local needs. It will include a digital visualisation centre and secure indoor and outdoor viewing/exhibition areas. It will gather and analyse information on automotive, fashion and other design trends in the Chinese and regional markets to support vehicle development.

Construction of the entire technical centre will be completed by the end of 2011. Within five years, it is expected to have over 300 employees, including designers, researchers, engineers and technicians. The new facility will complement GM’s engineering and product development partnerships in China, including the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai and the China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC) in Beijing.

Wale added: “As a global technology leader and the global industry leader in China, GM is committed to working with the Chinese government, industry partners and the academic community in the development of tomorrow’s vehicles. By joining forces, we can accelerate the arrival of sustainable transportation and remove the motor vehicle from the environmental equation.”