GM Announces Formal Partnership with Battery Maker LG to Develop New Electric Vehicles

General Motors Company announced today that it has signed an agreement with Korean battery maker LG Group to collaborate on the development of new electric vehicles.

In a statement released today, the automaker confirmed that agreement was signed by on Wednesday by LG President Juno Cho and GM CEO Dan Akerson. The statement said the new partnership will “help GM expand the number and types of electric vehicles it makes and sells.”  The statement also stated that the arrangement does not involve an equity exchange between the two companies.

LG currently supplies the lithium-ion batteries used by GM in its Chevrolet Volt plug-in gas-electric hybrid and the European version of the Volt, the Opel Ampera.

According to Akerson, he’s pushing GM engineers to come up with ways to reduce the cost of the Volt and apply its technology across more models. GM has already announced that the Volt’s powertrain will be incorporated into an upcoming Cadillac model. The company hopes that it can lower prices through economies of scale in the coming years.

In addition to the Chevrolet Volt, GM has collaborated with LG on a demonstration fleet of battery-powered Chevrolet Cruze compact cars. The electric Cruzes served as the official vehicle of the recent G20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea. TM is now test marketing the model.

According to GM, the success of the Volt was instrumental in its decision to enter into a formal alliance with LG.

According to GM, the success of the Volt and the electric Cruze collaborations prompted the decision to enter into a formal alliance with LG.

More East-West tie-ups may be in the offing as automakers seek to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet increasingly tough U.S. fuel-economy standards.  Earlier this week Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation announced a partnership aimed at developing new hybrid light trucks.

According to IHS Automotive vice president of research Michael Robinet, “In tomorrow’s vehicles, customers will look at technology as a differentiator. Vehicle manufacturers will be looking to link up with major battery players to ensure that they have new technology. There will be an interesting round of musical chairs.”

In a statement, GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said consumers will be the real beneficiaries of the GM-LG partnership. “Consumers benefit,” said Girsky, “by getting the latest fuel-saving technology faster if we work with the best suppliers and we save time and money in the development process.”

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