GM Announces Agreement With Hitachi To Supply Li-Ion Batteries For Hybrid System

March 06, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

General Motors (GM) announced that it will introduce a second-generation version of the GM Hybrid System with a new, more powerful lithium-ion battery.

Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd., will supply an advanced lithium-ion battery, which the companies claim will help make the next-generation GM Hybrid System nearly three times more powerful than the system it replaces. Overall fuel economy improvements for cars and trucks using the system are expected to be up to 20%, depending on engine and vehicle application.

"This new system is another important step in our broad-based strategy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions," GM Chairman Rick Wagoner stated.

The next-generation GM Hybrid System will build upon the belt-alternator-starter hybrid technology currently available in the Saturn Vue, Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Malibu. By building on this proven technology, Wagoner said, GM will be able to make the GM Hybrid System more cost-effective and expand its application in GM’s global vehicle portfolio.

"In order to have a real impact in reducing oil consumption, oil imports, and CO2 emissions, advanced technologies must be affordable enough to drive high-volume applications," Wagoner said. "We plan to roll out this next-generation hybrid technology globally, across our brands and regions, starting in 2010 in North America, and we expect that volumes will eventually exceed 100,000 units annually."

The increased power from the lithium-ion battery will allow the next-generation GM Hybrid System to be used in a wide range of global powertrains, including naturally aspirated engines, new high-efficiency turbocharged engines, bio-fuel engines and diesels.

In January 2008, Hitachi infused additional capital into Hitachi Vehicle Energy, a joint venture company among Hitachi, Ltd., Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co.,Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell, Ltd., for the purpose of boosting the company’s production capacity and product development capability.