General Motors has inked a deal with U.S. battery supplier A123 – a deal that well-placed sources say confirms the maker’s plans to put at least one battery-electric vehicle into production by 2014.
The maker has a separate deal with LG Chem to produce lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. The Korean maker beat out A123 for that contract and is now in the process of setting up a new factory to produce Volt batteries near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Production of the Volt is now ramping up and, along with the similar Opel Ampera, GM hopes to produce as many as 60,000 plug-ins next year.
The new alliance will focus on an entirely different range of vehicles, GM spokesman Kevin Kelly hinted. “It is not for the Volt or the next-generation Volt. This is for a different application, but we can’t get into what this is for or the timing.”
While Kelly declined to comment, GM sources noted that the maker now hopes to expand into a broad range of “electrified” vehicles, from conventional hybrids to plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. The A123 batteries will be utilized for the latter group.
Precisely what is in store is unclear, though there could be battery-electric models sold through “multiple brands,” according to sources. The first of the BEVs is expected to reach market by 2014.