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GM and LG to build EVs

EV accord: GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson and LG president Juno Cho sign the deal in Detroit.

First batteries, now whole cars as GM and LG join forces to drive EV development

General Motors logo26 Aug 2011

GENERAL Motors has climbed further into bed with South Korean electronics company LG Group, signing a deal to extend their co-operation from the current battery supply arrangement to jointly designing and engineering electric vehicles to be sold “in many countries”.

The Detroit giant already buys lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera range-extender petrol-electric vehicles from LG, which built a factory under its LG Chem division to make the cells in the United States.

GM says the new agreement – signed by GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson and LG president Juno Cho in Detroit on Wednesday – will help it to expand the number and types of electric vehicles it makes by using LG’s proven expertise in batteries and other systems.

It says teams of LG and GM engineers will work on key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures.

The GM-LG tie-up comes just days after Toyota and Ford announced a joint project to develop hybrid drivetrains for SUVs and light trucks in the US.

GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said GM hoped many solutions for tomorrow’s transportation needs might be available more quickly by building on the partnership strategy.

 center imageLeft: Cadillac ELR. Below: Chevrolet Volt.

“Consumers benefit 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,” he said.

No timeframe has been announced for the GM-LG collaboration, with GM saying launch dates for vehicles arising from the project would be announced closer to release time.

GM says the decision to explore stronger ties with LG was prompted by the success of the Volt’s range-extender propulsion system, which is now also driving the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera in Europe.

The Volt is set to be released as a Holden in Australia next year.

The same technology will go up-market with the release of a small petrol-electric Cadillac model, the three-door ELR coupe, in 12 months or so.

As well, a demonstration fleet of Chevrolet Cruze electric vehicles were built as official vehicles for the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, and are now being trialled to learn more about capabilities and requirements.

The urgency to cut petrol consumption was stepped up a notch recently with an agreement between car-makers and the US government to achieve a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) of 54.5 miles per gallon (4.3 litres per 100km) by the end of the 2025 model year.

LG was founded in 1947, rising to become one South Korea’s biggest conglomerates with interests in electronics, chemicals, telecommunications and services.

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