Warren — General Motors Co. said Tuesday that it created a partnership with LG Corp. to develop the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV, combining expertise from the automaker and supplier to engineer several components for the vehicle that goes into production next year.

The Detroit-based automaker called its relationship with LG “unprecedented.” GM said it relied upon LG’s expertise in infotainment, battery systems and components.

Chevrolet and LG hosted a media briefing at GM’s Global Battery Systems Lab on the company’s Warren Tech Center campus to discuss the new supplier relationship on developing the Bolt EV, an all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles. It will be sold across the U.S. and in select global markets.

“Chevrolet needs to be disruptive in order to maintain our leadership position in electrification,” Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, said in a statement. “By taking the best of our in-house engineering prowess established with the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, and combining the experience of the LG Group, we’re able to transform the concept of the industry’s first long range, affordable EV into reality.”

A number of LG companies, led by LG Electronics Vehicle Components, worked to help develop the Bolt EV. LG Electronics has invested more than $250 million in Korea to develop and manufacturer components for the Bolt EV.

LG is supplying the GM designed electric drive motor for the Bolt EV, a power inventor module that converts power for the drive unit, an on-board charger, battery cells and pack, battery heater, instrument cluster, infotainment system and many other components.

“Being selected as GM’s EV technology partner positions LG as a key player in next-generation vehicular technologies,” Woo-jong Lee, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Vehicle Components Co., said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with GM on such game-changing technology is indicative of exactly the type of contributions that traditional tech companies can make in the automotive space.”

Reuss earlier this month said LG Chem is a big partner in its electric vehicle strategy and GM anticipates the cost per kilowatt hour of electric vehicle batteries will be $145 when it launches the Bolt EV. He said that will fall to about $100 in the next few years; early costs on EV batteries were more than $200 per kilowatt hour, Reuss said.

“We are leading the industry in battery cell cost per kilowatt hour,” Reuss said at the company’s Global Business Conference for investors and analysts. “We’ve done this because of our prior strategic investment in battery cell development, our own chemistry, electric motors and our strategic partnership with LG.”

The Bolt will be built at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township beginning in late 2016, GM said. The company will spend $160 million to upgrade Orion Assembly to support the Bolt EV, a vehicle that will cost about $30,000 after federal tax rebates.

GM showed the Chevy Bolt concept, an orange hatchback with seating for five, earlier this year during the North American International Auto Show. GM has not announced any production volume for the car, but LMC Automotive earlier this year told The Detroit News it expects the carmaker will produce in the high 20,000 to low 30,000 annually once production ramps up.

GM has worked with LG since 2007, when LG Electronics supplied a module for OnStar. LG Chem, a LG company, was chosen as the sole supplier of battery cells for the first-generation Chevrolet Volt that launched in 2010.

LG Chem produces lithium-ion battery cells for the Volt plug-in hybrid at its plant in Holland. The plant was awarded a $150 million federal grant in 2009 to build an 850,000-square-foot plant in Holland. The firm ran into some controversy, however, after it spent $143 million without producing a vehicle battery cell and employing fewer than half the 440 it had promised. The Department of Energy’s inspector general said U.S. LG Chem employees wasted more than $1.6 million in work time “playing games and watching movies.”

LG Chem Michigan also was awarded $175 million in state and local tax breaks through 2025.


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