General Motors announced today it signed an agreement with electronics supplier LG Group to “design and engineer future electric vehicles.”
This isn’t the automaker’s first partnership with the South Korean company. In fact, LG Chem currently is the chief supplier of lithium-ion cells, which are used in the battery packs that power the Chevrolet Volt and Opel/Vauxhall/Holden Ampera. This new agreement, however, seems to extend beyond just supplying components for future vehicles: it may actually involve designing them, too.
Though it sounds similar to an agreement GM recently inked with Massachusetts-based A123 Systems -- which calls for the supplier to provide batteries for some forthcoming models -- the new LG arrangement vaguely suggests both parties will be involved with developing entire vehicles. GM’s release says the partnership will help “expand the number and types of electric vehicles [GM] makes,” and notes engineers from both companies will be involved with developing key components, vehicle structures, and architectures.
A spokesperson noted the partnership is still in its infancy, and since it’s only in the research and development phase, details surrounding specific models and component plans cannot be confirmed at this point. That said, we’re told this new LG venture will be largely -- if not completely -- removed from the recent A123 Systems announcement, and won’t affect the development of the current or future Volt/Ampera/ELR model ranges.
Predictably, both companies see this as a win-win. LG sees the venture as an opportunity to further dip its toes into the automotive segment, while GM gains the resources needed to expedite the development and launch of electric and/or hybrid vehicles.
“This is a strategic development for LG,” Juno Cho, president of LG Group, said in a prepared statement. “We fully support GM’s goal to lead the industry in the electrification of the automobile.”