Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

General Motors to begin electric motor production

GM chairman Ed Whitacre with the battery pack for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle
GM plans to launch its hybrid Volt later this year

General Motors (GM) has announced plans to invest $246m (£152m) in the production of electric motors to power electric and hybrid vehicles.

GM is currently getting its electric motors from third-party suppliers.

"In the future, electric motors might become as important to GM as engines are now," said the carmaker's vice-president, Tom Stephens.

GM said the motors would be built in the US, although it did not say where, and would be ready for use in 2013.

"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," Mr Stephens said.

GM plans to launch the Chevrolet Volt hybrid car later this year. It will be a direct competitor to Toyota's Prius, which is the current market-leading hybrid.

GM sees electric vehicles as important to reviving its long-term fortunes following its emergence from bankruptcy protection last summer.

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