Manufacturing

Peek at the progress of GM's new battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio

Construction on the Ultium Cells factory is underway.

Photo courtesy of General MOtors

Ultium Cells LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors, is inching closer to bringing its plant in Lordstown, Ohio online. The nearly 3 million-square-foot battery cell manufacturing facility is part of a joint venture with LG Chem.

As the company readies the plant, they are seeking 1,100 new employees including key positions to execute the set up and launch of battery cell manufacturing. Those key positions are open to applicants now with applications for other positions coming down the line. Job seekers can apply for positions on the Ultium Cells LLC website.

Ultium Battery Lordstown Ohio factory When the factory is complete, it will look like this rendering.Photo courtesy of General Motors

"We are excited to share our vision of an all-electric future as we begin adding members to our highly-technical battery cell manufacturing team," said Thomas Gallagher, plant director, Ultium Cells LLC. "This facility will lead us into a new era of manufacturing and sustainability as we push toward a zero-emissions future. We are very grateful for the Lordstown community's continued support."

The new factory, on the same campus as the old Lordstown Assembly plant and next door to Lordstown Motors HQ is part of a $2.3 billion investment. The new plant is the size of 30 football fields and will have an annual capacity of more than 30 gigawatt hours and room for expansion.

"We want to put everyone in an EV," said Ken Morris, GM vice president of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. "The Ultium propulsion system allows us to provide customers with exactly what they want – whether it be a car, truck or SUV. Our joint venture with LG Chem is exciting because we're working together to drive down battery cell costs to accelerate EV adoption."

In addition to supplying batteries for GM's future electric vehicles, the mass-production of battery cells is expected to drive cell costs below $100 per kilowatt-hour at full volume according to GM estimates. This is in part because Ultium batteries are expected to have some of the highest nickel and lowest cobalt content in a large format pouch cell.

The Ultium battery is the power of the new GM vehicle architecture strategy. It will supply energy to the just-introduced GMC Hummer EV and the future Cadillac Lyriq SUV.

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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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An all-electric vintage Bentley offers retro looks and modern tech.

Photo courtesy of Lunaz

It's been a busy few months. Lunaz has increased its U.K. electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing footprint by 500 percent and added the world's first electric classic Bentley to its portfolio.

"Restoration, re-engineering and electrification responds to the global requirement for a clean-air future," said David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz. "The Lunaz proprietary powertrain has been proven by furthering the legacies of the most significant cars in history. The time is now right to establish a significantly expanded presence to answer the global need for much wider conversion applications. Our commitment to the UK as a global centre of technical excellence in EV engineering is signalled with the commissioning of a permanent home for our rapidly growing business."

New home

The new Lunaz production home, designed from the ground up, will be completed this spring. It will feature a state-of-the-art design and a research and development hub. The company will have the ability to finish surfaces, engineer batteries, restore the bodies of vehicles, and crafts key components in hard and soft finishes in-house.

Customers will be able to access a hosting space on the second floor of the building, which has an uninterrupted view of Silverstone Racetrack. Beyond race days, the suite will be used as consultation space with the Lunaz design team.

Lunaz Bentley Continental

Lunaz is now offering electrified versions of vintage Bentley Continentals.

Photo courtesy of Lunaz

Electrified vintage Bentley Continental

Following the offering of an all-electric vintage Rolls-Royce, Lunaz is responding to demand, offering a full production of the world's first electric Bnetleys.

"The Bentley Continental is the definitive British grand touring machine," said Lorenz. "Customers across the globe asked us to create the world's first electric expressions of these iconic cars. The result marries the beauty and presence of these extraordinary cars with a proven answer to the key questions of reliability, usability and sustainability that surrounds classic car ownership. We are proud to further the legacy of the Bentley Continental with the start of full production from our significantly expanded UK manufacturing presence."

The most recently completed car is a 1961 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur by H.J Mulliner. It is presented with a two-tone paint job and an interior that is finished in hand-restored lustrous green leather with burr walnut trim. Modern conveniences have been fitted to the car including power steering and air conditioning. An infotainment screen with navigation and Apple CarPlay functionality is also included.

This particular model will be used as a daily driver by a U.K. car collector so hill seats have been integrated into the rear.

Lunaz will now permanently release production allocation for Bentley Continental S1, S2, S3 in two-door and four-door configuration. In addition to fixed-head cars, the company will also offer rare Continental Drophead Coupé examples.

Prices for original factory steel-body cars start at £350,000 excluding local taxes.


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