Auto Electronics

GM awards Li-Ion battery development contracts for Saturn Vue

General Motors Corp. has awarded two contracts for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for use in the Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid SUV. One contract went to Johnson Controls - Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC, a joint venture between Johnson Controls and Saft. The other contract was awarded to Cobasys, which will partner with A123Systems.

Denise Gray, GM's director of hybrid energy storage systems, said the firms will have to prove the durability, reliability and potential cost of their respective technologies at mass volumes.

"Significant progress has been made in battery research," Gray said, “but a lot of testing and development is still needed.”

Gray added that the two agreements “are by no means the only avenues we're pursuing." She said GM is fully committed “to forging the necessary partnerships to produce battery solutions that will meet our aggressive vehicle program targets."

GM said last fall that it intends to produce a Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid with the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. In addition to plug-in technology and a lithium-ion battery pack when ready, the Vue Green Line will use a modified version of GM's two-mode hybrid system, plus electric motors and electronics to achieve
significant increases in fuel economy. GM is co-developing the two-mode hybrid system with DaimlerChrysler and BMW Group for use in front-, rear- and four-wheel drive applications in various car and truck models. The two-mode system is scheduled to debut later this year in the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon Hybrid SUVs.

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