General Motors announced plans on January 26 to design and manufacture electric motors, saying the first were scheduled to debut in 2013 in a next generation, rear wheel drive hybrid vehicle.
The company said the motors would be manufactured in the United States at an unidentified facility.
"In the future, electric motors might become as important to GM as engines are now," GM vice president Tom Stephens said. "By designing and manufacturing electric motors in-house, we can more efficiently use energy from batteries as they evolve, potentially reducing cost and weight -- two significant challenges facing batteries today."
GM put the amount to be invested at $246 million, including a $105 million grant awarded last year by the Department of Energy.
GM said the move would make it the first major U.S. automaker to design and build its own electric motors, a core component both of electric cars and hybrids that use a combination of electric and conventional internal combustion engines.
GM plans to launch its first electric car, the Chevy Volt, later this year in California, taking aim at Toyota, whose popular Prius hybrid was first introduced in the United States in 1997 and is now in its fourth generation.
Stephens said GM would purchase and co-design electric motors with suppliers as well produce its own in-house. "We are partnering with suppliers to create innovations faster than ever before. Our goal is simply to establish GM as a leader in automotive electric motors," he said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010