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Q&A with GM's hybrid chief Robert Kruse

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We also then got a lot smarter and looked at that whole value chain and understood the strategic nature of being able to take cells from a variety of sources and integrate those into modules and packs and deliver that to the vehicle. We decided this battery pack business was really core to being in the electric vehicle market. So part of our [January 12] announcement was that, in addition to announcing LG as the cell source, that GM is also moving to design internally, and engineer internally, and validate internally, and ultimately manufacture internally the battery packs. We will take cells from LG, do a whole bunch of value added to those cells with electronics and thermal ... and build the T-pack, as we refer to it. We will ship that to the Volts final assembly location from a General Motors facility....

 

RK: There's been a lot of speculation.... I will tell you, though, we've been able to meet the business team targets for the batteries and the cells themselves. And it does allow, from a financial standpoint, the early Volts to be viable. But I also will acknowledge that any of this new technology is very expensive, particularly in a Gen-one configuration. As we look to the future, to having larger and larger portions of our portfolio being electrically driven vehicles, it becomes increasingly clear we need to address the costs associate with the technology.... You're familiar with a concept of a learning curve. Well, there's a cost curve with any new technology and lithium-ion batteries are no exception.... So as knowledge and volume go up, costs come down.

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