EV Battery Enclosures Demand Precision Manufacturing

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by John Johnson, Executive Director of Product Development (Cosma)
September 8, 2022

There’s definitely a great buzz at the new Magna Electric Vehicles Structures facility in St. Clair, Michigan, where we are ramping up production of battery enclosures for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV and other electric vehicles. There’s a sense of gratification in what we do day-to-day, especially as automakers accelerate EV production plans.

As someone who has been interested in automotive and mechanical engineering since my days as a young engineer in Detroit, I love the amount of collaboration that goes into a complex product like our battery enclosures. Walking through the plant you can feel the excitement as we leverage our extensive expertise in body-and-chassis, chassis engineering and manufacturing. We’re helping to transform traditional gasoline trucks and SUVs into electrified vehicles.

Precision is the key when it comes to making this complex automotive subsystem that requires intricacy and high standards of craftsmanship. It’s like bringing the demands of making a Swiss watch into a part that can be larger than a kitchen table.

But unlike a timepiece or a clock, consumers may never see the battery enclosure because it is hidden on the underside of the vehicle. Most importantly, the battery enclosure is a critical element of every EV, contributing to the structural and safety aspects of the vehicle and protecting high-voltage batteries from damage and water.

At our St. Clair plant, we’re making two versions of the steel battery enclosure for the Hummer EV, designed to fit the short- and long-wheelbase versions of the truck. Both are packed with parts, including stampings, roll-formed components and fasteners. The integration and assembly of all these components into such a large assembly held to millimeter-level tolerances is a challenge that we have overcome.

Our expertise and innovative processes enable battery enclosures to be developed in steel, aluminum and multi-material configurations, including lightweight composites, to meet the individual needs of each customer. Because of our ability to adapt to customer requirements, Magna is widely regarded as a technology leader in the shift to electrification.

We have our eye on the future and further evolving the design and integration of the battery enclosures into the structure of the vehicle.

Magna’s full systems approach, in-depth product expertise and complete vehicle knowledge enable us to see the big picture and deliver the innovations that drive the future of mobility.

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John Johnson

The shift toward electrification is significant for our industry and brings Magna many opportunities to leverage its extensive expertise in engineering and manufacturing beyond powertrain. Battery enclosures play an important role in electrifying the future of mobility - every EV will need one, and Magna has all the capabilities in-house to meet the requirements in this growing space.

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