General Motors officially opened an advanced battery laboratory in Michigan on Monday to speed up the development of cleaner and more energy efficient vehicles, the company said.

GM touts the facility as the largest and most technologically advanced automotive battery lab in the United States. It will produce lithium batteries, among other types. A team of 1,000 engineers will test electrochemical battery cells and their enclosures and evaluate completed battery packs on it.

Our new lab improves GM's competitiveness by speeding the development of our hybrid, plug-in and extended-range electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO.

Despite filing for bankruptcy on June 1, GM kept its target for market availability of the Chevy Volt by the end of 2010.

The construction of this 33,000 square feet, (four times the size of the old lab) facility began in August 2008 and became fully functional in May. It was constructed within GM's Alternative Energy Center facility in Warren, Mich.

Several lawmakers attended the opening and toured the lab, including U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Congressman Sander Levin, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.