GM’s Mark Verbrugge has been a part of battery research and electrification for more than three decades. His Keynote address at The Battery Show will highlight how cost and range are key to success for the EV market. (Image source: General Motors)

The two things most commonly mentioned that are holding back the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) is range and cost. Both of those areas are the subject of intense research by battery companies and auto manufacturers around the globe. Design News spoke with Mark Verbrugge, Director, Chemical and Materials Systems Laboratory at General Motors about the automaker’s efforts to find the magic that will let EVs travel farther and cost less. Verbrugge will provide one of the Keynote addresses at The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo 2019, in Novi, Michigan. His talk, titled “Standing on the Forefront of Battery Development” will be presented on Wednesday, September 11th.

Verbrugge has been involved in battery technology and electrochemistry for his entire career. “I did my training and graduate school in electrochemistry,” he told us. “I went to UC Berkeley because they had a strong photovoltaic program—a strong clean energy emphasis in their college of chemistry,” he added.

A Long Background in EVs

When it came time to apply his electrochemistry background, Verbrugge’s timing was good. “I came directly to GM from graduate school. I worked in fuel cells to begin with, and then quickly transitioned to batteries, which were becoming more promising for (our) applications. That was the first ten years of my career, I started in 1985 and the next ten years I spent as chief engineer for our electric and hybrid electric programs,” he said. This was an exciting time for EVs as GM had just announced its first production electric vehicle, the EV-1. “I was chief engineer for the EV-1. I had the energy system management responsibilities—the propulsion system as well as the battery system,” Verbrugge said. After GM terminated the EV-1 (in 2003), Verbrugge continued development of battery chemistries and for the last ten years has been a director of research labs at GM.

With that background, Verbrugge has some well-defined ideas about how to move EVs forward. “(We need to use) earth abundant materials to get low cost, but also we have to work on fast charge, that has to be a big deal going forward—it really isn’t there today; it’s there in concept vehicles and demonstration vehicles—but in terms of high-volume pervasiveness, it’s not,” he told us.

Lower Cost With Longer Range

What are some of the lower cost materials under consideration and how can they be used? “Silicon is a major is a major emphasis for low cost materials, and it also enables fast charging. Today, all of negative electrodes are graphite. There is no pure silicon-based anode on the market. But, I think that will come in 5-10 years. Silicon is the most Earth-abundant material in the crust of the Earth,” Verbrugge said.

Silicon, at least on paper has some big advantages in replacing graphite as an anode material.  “The capacity of silicon is about 4,000 milliampere-hours per gram (mAH/gm), while the capacity for graphite is about 372 mAH/gm. So, silicon can hold much more. The number of mAH is an indication of the amount of lithium that can be held. Silicon can hold much more lithium,” Verbrugge told us.

One problem however, that researchers report with silicon as an anode has been its large volume change when storing lithium ions during the charging of a battery. “Now, if you take all of that capacity, 4,000 mAH/gm, you get pulverization and cracking and a whole lot of stress issues in the batteries,” Verbrugge said.

But there is another way. “On the other hand, if you control the voltage limits, such that you use about half the capacity, about 2,000 mAH/gm, you still are way above the capacity we use of graphite today, which is about 340 mAH/gm. So we can operate at about 2,000 mAH/gm, get a significant cost reduction and a significant increase in coulombic capacity which translates to an energy density increase. For the same size and weight, you are going to get more mileage for the customer. Or you can use the same mileage as today in a lighter battery. The main thing with silicon that people are learning is don’t try to abuse the material and get too greedy with it. Use about half the capacity, then you are in good shape,” he said.

Building Infrastructure is Key

While GM is concentrating on building new EVs, it is also working with others to help grow the infrastructure that will be needed for a truly electrified transportation system. “There are a lot of public-private partnerships. I hope to foster collaboration, especially to get the charging infrastructure up and running. This is not the kind of thing you want to take onto your shoulders exclusively. To get infrastructure to move along, people have to have confidence that there are going to be vehicles as well. I’d like to encourage collaborations and investments in the space,” said Verbrugge.

The GM research director has a long-term view of how that space will grow. “I have to think gas stations are a lot more expensive than putting up a Level 2 charger in parking lots and distributed charging stations,” he said. “I think in the fullness of time, we will be much more rational—you will be able to charge anywhere, it will be monetized for those who are providing the chargers, it will be easy to understand, and it will be paid for with technologies that link to the car directly. It will be far less cents per mile for the driver, and far more efficient for society. Infrastructure is a big piece of that long-term view when we have high-volume electrification.”

Verbrugge’s Keynote address, titled ““Standing on the Forefront of Battery Development”” will cover cost, range, charging, and other topics. The talk will be presented on Wednesday, September 11th at The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo 2019, in Novi, Michigan. He is looking forward to it. “I always get a lot of energy from these forums—I am among like-minded colleagues, typically. We are all trying to change the world and make it better. I went into this particular job area in part for that reason. So, I’ll get energy out of it. It will be fun!”

Senior Editor Kevin Clemens has been writing about energy, automotive, and transportation topics for more than 30 years. He has masters degrees in Materials Engineering and Environmental Education and a doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in aerodynamics. He has set several world land speed records on electric motorcycles that he built in his workshop.

The Battery Show logoBattery, EV/HV, & Stationary Power All in One Place.

Learn everything you need to know at our in-depth conference program with 70 technical sessions in eight tracks covering topics on battery, electric & hybrid vehicles, and stationary power technologies. 

The Battery Show. Sept. 10-12, 2019, in Novi, MI. Register for the event, hosted by Design News’ parent company Informa.


  1. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have
    you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work.

    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me
    an email.

  2. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality
    articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this
    website. Reading this info So i’m happy to exhibit that I have a very just right uncanny
    feeling I discovered exactly what I needed.
    I so much indisputably will make sure to
    don?t fail to remember this site and give it a glance regularly.

  3. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time
    to be happy. I’ve learn this submit and if I may I wish to counsel
    you few attention-grabbing things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  4. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found
    that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people
    will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  5. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t
    show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  6. hi!,I like your writing so so much! share we communicate extra about your article on AOL?
    I need a specialist on this space to solve my
    problem. May be that is you! Having a look ahead to look you.

  7. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  9. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super
    long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any points for inexperienced blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  10. First off I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to
    writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my
    thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many

  11. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
    A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  12. Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and
    give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted
    to say keep up the fantastic work!

  13. hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked
    up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this
    web site, as I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow
    loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality
    score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a
    lot more of your respective exciting content.
    Make sure you update this again soon.

  14. Somebody necessarily help to make seriously articles I
    might state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular publish amazing.

    Magnificent activity!

  15. Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers
    and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker
    then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Cheers, I appreciate it!

  16. Hi there, I discovered your web site by the use of Google whilst looking for a comparable matter, your site got here up, it appears to be like great.

    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply changed into alert to your blog via Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch
    out for brussels. I will appreciate if you happen to proceed this
    in future. A lot of other folks will probably be benefited from your writing.

  17. You could definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to
    say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  18. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I
    receive four emails with the same comment. Is there a
    way you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!

  19. After looking over a few of the blog articles on your web
    page, I seriously like your technique of writing a blog.

    I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future.
    Please visit my web site as well and let me know what you think.

  20. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the next!

  21. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all.
    Nevertheless think of if you added some great graphics
    or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent
    but with images and clips, this site could certainly be one of the best in its
    niche. Awesome blog!

  22. You actually make it appear really easy together
    with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really something which I believe I’d by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and extremely wide for me.

    I am having a look ahead in your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the cling of it!

  23. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this
    your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  24. When I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact
    same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me
    from that service? Thanks!

  25. Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this.
    I will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a great read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I
    have discovered till now. However, what concerning the bottom line?
    Are you sure about the source?

  27. You have made some good points there. I checked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along
    with your views on this website.

  28. Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read
    stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

  29. I was recommended this blog via my cousin. I am
    no longer sure whether this publish is written by way of him as no one
    else know such precise approximately my difficulty. You are wonderful!

  30. I don’t even know how I ended up right here, but I believed this publish was great.
    I do not realize who you might be but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren’t already.

  31. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now 😉

  32. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment
    due to this sensible post.

  33. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
    long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?
    My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors
    would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Thank you!

  34. That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Short but very accurate information… Many thanks for
    sharing this one. A must read post!

  35. Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am impressed!
    Very useful information particularly the closing phase :
    ) I handle such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time.
    Thanks and good luck.

  36. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  37. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses?

    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything
    you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  38. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create
    comment due to this good post.

  39. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and
    I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are
    looking to trade solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  40. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to
    start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

  41. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to
    make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  42. Just want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your submit is
    just cool and i could suppose you are a professional in this subject.
    Fine along with your permission allow me to seize your RSS feed
    to stay updated with drawing close post. Thank you a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  43. I was very pleased to discover this web site. I need to to thank you
    for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you
    book marked to look at new information in your web site.

  44. I got this website from my pal who informed me about this site and now this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative articles at
    this place.

  45. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this piece of writing
    i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible paragraph.

  46. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?

    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However just imagine
    if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could definitely be
    one of the very best in its niche. Superb blog!

  47. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole
    thing. Do you have any helpful hints for inexperienced
    blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.