General Motors announced on Monday that it will design and build electric motors for use in all of its next-generation hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
According to GM’s engineering director for hybrid and electric architecture, Peter Savagian, the in-house design and production strategy will allow the automaker to maintain greater control of inventories and pricing than outsourcing would.
Savagian said that GM plans to use the electric motors in its 2013 line of rear-wheel-drive, two mode, full-sized hybrid trucks. The company also plans to use them in a range of rear-wheel-drive hybrid cars eventually.
The new electric motors are about 25% smaller and deliver about 20% higher output than GM’s current two-mode hybrid electric motors.
Although he didn’t offer specific information to support his claim, Savagian said the new two-mode motors will require less electricity, resulting in greater fuel efficiency than the current motors.
GM’s vice chairman of global product operations, Tom Stephens, said the more compact packaging featured by the automaker’s next generation electric motors will allow it to be used in smaller rear-wheel-drive vehicles as well as larger ones. General Motors currently offers a two-mode hybrid option on its 2010 Chevy Silverado pickup and Tahoe SUV which average 21 mpg city / 22 mpg highway.
GM plans to invest $246 million in electric motor and hybrid manufacturing infrastructure. Of that amount, $105 million will come from a U.S. Department of Energy grant that was awarded to the automaker last August. GM plans to announce the site of its U.S. assembly facilities later this week.
This past summer, GM’s executive director of global vehicle engineering, Robert Kruse, said that the automaker would continue building its electric motors at its Baltimore production plant which currently manufactures transmissions for use in its two-mode hybrid SUVs and light trucks.
Savagian said the automaker has been working on developing electric motors for seven years. He said, We recognize that electrification is the evolution of the automobile. Savagian also said that GM will continue buying some electric hybrid motors from outside suppliers but declined to name any specific suppliers of to discuss a timetable for developing those other motors.
GM has begun producing the lithium-ion battery packs for use in the Chevy Volt and other plug-in hybrid vehicles at its Brownstown Township, Michigan facilities and plans to invest $700 million in eight production plants located in the state. The facilities will be involved in production of the Chevy Volt.
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