Last week Magna E-Car Systems and General Motors of Canada announced a joint project to evaluate a fleet of nine battery electric Chevrolet Equinox crossovers.

The converted vehicles are to be studied by a number of interested stakeholders as a step toward possibly producing these types of electric vehicles.

“Collaboration between automakers, suppliers, utility companies and the government is essential in order to develop solutions for future mobility,” said Ted Robertson, Vice Chairman, Magna E-Car Systems. “Such collaboration can enhance innovation and reduce costs, particularly in fleet projects such as this where the resulting data and lessons learned are useful to all participants.”

The drivetrain was developed by Magna E-Car Systems in Aurora, Ontario and help with system integration was provided by GM’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario.

It utilizes an electric motor that generates maximum power of 105 kilowatts and energy is supplied from a 33-kwh battery pack.

A key question to be answered by monitoring this demonstration fleet will be what is the real-world range achievable by an electric vehicle of this size?

Although the drivetrain is Magna’s, GM is presenting its part in this collaboration as a facet of its global effort to push the frontier forward.

“This demonstration project is the latest example of GM’s commitment to broaden our vehicle electrification technology expertise working with a leading Canadian supplier, like Magna E-Car Systems,” said Matthew Crossley, Director, Canadian Engineering for General Motors of Canada Limited. “This pilot project will help both GM and Magna E-Car Systems gather key learnings about the integration of vehicle electrification technologies.”

Via a Magna press release, GM said its goals are at a stage now where demonstration fleets around the world are proving what will work, and what will not.

Thus far, the only all-electric vehicle GM has divulged definite plans to produce is the 2013 Spark EV. Also pending is the extended-range Cadillac ELR – and a production time frame for this car is yet to be announced.

But GM reiterated that its investment capital arm – GM Ventures – is also placing key bets in promising technologies and the company is working behind the scenes to be ready to compete with anyone.

Included in GM’s efforts therefore, is this latest fleet test with Magna E-Car Systems. As part of the far-reaching Magna International, the E-Car Systems arm has high hopes for its design, engineering, manufacturing, vehicle integration and testing on a global scale as well.

“With a focus on innovation, Magna E-Car Systems offers a wide array of products including lithium-ion cells and battery packs, electric drive motors and generators, inverters, converters, onboard chargers, and powertrain control modules,” Magna says.

No indication was offered as to whether these specific vehicles or another GM crossover would be put into production.

In so many words, GM continues to say it is still working on exactly how it can feasibly do that, and will let us know when it can.