General Motors and Honda Partner Up to Develop Battery Tech

The two automakers are already collaborating on fuel cells.

Chevrolet

General Motors and Honda are teaming up to develop batteries for electric cars. The two automakers will collaborate on both individual battery cells and the modules that allow those cells to be grouped together in battery packs. The new batteries will be used in future products from both automakers, primarily in the North American market.

GM and Honda are aiming for greater energy density, meaning batteries can store more energy in a given volume. This will allow for smaller battery packs that are easier to package without sacrificing range. The two automakers want the new batteries to charge faster as well. These are basically the same goals every other company is looking to achieve with battery research, in order to make electric cars more attractive to consumers.

The two automakers also hope that economies of scale will help lower costs. Under the agreement, development work will focus on GM's next-generation battery system, and Honda will then source battery modules from GM. Batteries will be used in both automakers' cars, but the partners did not offer a production timeline.

GM had been more aggressive than Honda in developing electric cars up to this point. The Chevrolet Bolt EV was the first mass-market electric car to combine a range of over 200 miles with a price of under $40,000. The American automaker plans to launch 20 new electric cars globally by 2023 and expects to be building one million EVs per year by 2026.

Honda currently sells the Clarity Electric, which has a much shorter range (89 miles) than most other electric cars in its category and seems like a sideshow to Honda's hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell efforts. However, Honda's Urban EV and Sports EV concepts were well received on the auto-show circuit. Honda expects electrified cars to make up two-thirds of its global sales by 2030, but that total includes hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell cars, as well as battery-electrics.

This isn't the first time GM and Honda have partnered on green technology. Last year, the two automakers announced a joint venture to construct a fuel-cell manufacturing facility in Michigan, promising an "advanced hydrogen fuel-cell system" around 2020.