General Motors Co. (GM), the maker of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, and LG Group have agreed to form a partnership to design and engineer future electric cars, a high priority of Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson.
GM, 32 percent owned by the U.S., brings expertise in vehicles and Seoul-based LG knows how to develop and build lithium-ion batteries. Closely held LG supplies batteries for the Volt and the mechanically identical Opel Ampera sold in Europe. The deal does not involve an exchange of equity, the companies said today in a statement.
The agreement should help Detroit-based GM stay current on battery technology and ensure that the company has close relations with a supplier that can help engineer electric-power systems, said Michael Robinet, a Northville, Michigan-based vice president of research firm IHS Automotive.
“In tomorrow’s vehicles, customers will look at technology as a differentiator,” Robinet said. “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.”
Akerson boosted Volt production plans for next year to 60,000 from 45,000 after exploring an increase to 120,000 of the plug-in hybrids. This partnership will not make batteries for the next-generation Volt, Kevin Kelly, a GM spokesman, said in a telephone interview.
GM slipped 11 cents to $22.26 at 12:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 33 percent since a $33 initial public offering in November.