Chevy Bolt Represents Close Partnership Between GM and LG

LG is providing far more than just batteries for the upcoming Chevy Bolt, with details emerging about LG’s in-depth relationship with General Motors during a media briefing earlier this week.

“Chevrolet needs to be disruptive in order to maintain our leadership position in electrification,” said GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss. “By taking the best of our in-house engineering prowess established with the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, and combining the experience of the LG Group, we’re able to transform the concept of the industry’s first long range, affordable EV into reality.”

LG Chem has long been the battery supplier for GM, building lithium-ion packs for the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, while LG Electronics is responsible for Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. In 2011, the two companies expanded their collaboration through a signed agreement to “jointly design and engineer future electric vehicles.”

Since then, LG Chem, LG Innotek, LG Display and LG Electronics have invested an estimated $250 million of research and development to “support the component development and manufacturing for Bolt EV components.”

These contributions will include the electric drive motor – built by LG using GM’s design – the power inverter, on-board charger, accessory power module and power line communication module. LG is once again supplying the infotainment system, but may deviate from the MyLink setup to design a unique screen and user interface.

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GM executives noted that the complexities of building an EV that retails for about $30,000 (after tax incentives) and delivers a 200-mile range “required an unprecedented supplier relationship combining expertise in infotainment, battery systems and component development with GM’s proven in-house capabilities in electric motor design, battery control, system validation and vehicle body/system integration.”

It also may be a sign of more tech companies merging with the automotive industry, noted Woo-jong Lee, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Vehicle Components Co.

“The opportunity to work with GM on such game-changing technology is indicative of exactly the type of contributions that traditional tech companies can make in the automotive space,” he said.