Wednesday, January 17, 2007

GM taps two auto suppliers in race to make hybrid battery

Friday, January 05, 2007
GM taps two auto suppliers in race to make hybrid battery
Sharon Terlep / The Detroit News

General Motors Corp. has awarded contracts to two auto parts suppliers with the goal of developing batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The cars would be powered by batteries and recharged through an electric outlet, the company announced Thursday.

Finding an affordable battery with sufficient lasting power is critical to GM's efforts to build an electric vehicle, the company has said. GM is in a race with Asian automakers to develop that battery technology.

The battery contracts, announced in a news release Thursday, go to Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC and Cobasys, a joint venture of a Chevron subsidiary and Energy Conversion Devices Inc.

Both will work to develop a lithium ion battery for a Saturn Vue plug-in sport utility vehicle.

Their challenge will be to create a battery that can recharge quickly, last long stretches of time and not overheat, while being small and cost-effective to sell on the mass market.

GM made its plug-in efforts the centerpiece of its appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

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