GM, Honda team up on EV batteries

UPDATED: 6/7/18 12:16 pm ET – adds details

General Motors and Honda Motor Co. are partnering to develop a new generation of batteries aimed at cutting costs and accelerating the companies’ rollout of electric vehicles.

As part of the multiyear deal, Honda will buy battery modules based on the next generation of GM’s battery system, according to a joint statement on Thursday from the companies.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The latest partnership expands an advanced-technology alliance announced last year between GM and Honda, which have been working on advanced hydrogen fuel cells for deployment in 2020.

The companies said a primary goal of the latest project is lower development costs and better EV battery performance, notably higher energy density, longer range, lighter and smaller packaging and faster charging times.

“The combined scale and global manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers,” Honda and GM said.

The batteries will be featured in future GM and Honda light vehicles, primarily in North America, the companies said. A GM spokeswoman said products planned for China — the world’s largest car market, including EVs — are not covered by the deal.



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GM says its next-generation of EVs — expected to be launched starting in 2021 — will be profitable. The company has plans to introduce at least 20 all-electric or fuel cell vehicles by 2023.

“This new multiyear agreement with Honda further demonstrates General Motors’ capability to innovate toward a profitable electric portfolio,” said GM product chief Mark Reuss.

Development of the next-gen battery components, including the cell and module, will take place at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Mich., and Honda’s Automobile R&D Center in Tochigi, Japan.

GM is not releasing where the next-gen batteries are expected to be produced, according to a company spokeswoman.

Honda has been slower than most automakers to adopt EVs, creating an EV division in late-2016. The range of the new Honda Clarity EV, at 89 miles, is on par with the first-generation Nissan Leaf EV, and the Clarity plug-in hybrid’s 47-mile range is short of the all-electric range of the Chevy Volt at 53 miles.

Honda wants electrified vehicles to account for two-thirds of its global sales by 2030, which includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. Honda forecasts that would be roughly 3 million vehicles annually at its present global sales levels.

Takashi Sekiguchi, Honda’s chief officer for automobile operations, said the newest agreement in addition to the fuel cell partnership will help accelerate Honda’s plans for electrified vehicles.

“In addition to our ongoing joint development and production of fuel cells, this battery component collaboration will enable us to take a new step toward the realization of a sustainable society,” he said in a statement.