General Motors sign deal with SAIC, open R&D center in China
SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) and General Motors today signed an agreement to co-develop 'a new electric vehicle architecture in China' as well as opening the first phase of their joint Advanced Technical Center (PATAC) which will provide R&D on technologies such as batteries and electric drivetrains. As well as being a major development center for GM the agreement and center provide them with a 'foot in the door' to the lucrative Chinese electric vehicle market and will no doubt make the newly developed vehicles eligible for inconsiderate Chinese government electric car grants.
SAIC and GM sign agreement for Electric Vehicle development
SAIC Motor Corp., Ltd. (SAIC) Chairman Hu Maoyuan and General Motors Co. (GM) Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson signed an agreement today in Shanghai for the co-development of a new electric vehicle architecture in China.
The Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) – SAIC and GM’s engineering and design joint venture in Shanghai – will serve as the development center for the architecture. Joint teams from the parent companies will also cooperate on the development of key components and vehicle structures.
The agreement will leverage SAIC’s market knowledge and local expertise along with GM’s expertise in electric vehicle development and global know-how. It will ensure local input in the development of electric vehicle technology and the delivery of products developed in China.
“The co-development of this new electric vehicle architecture demonstrates the broad range of benefits made possible by the strong partnership between SAIC and GM,” said Tim Lee, president of GM International Operations. “For almost 15 years, our two companies have forged some of the industry’s most successful joint ventures. This unprecedented level of cooperation is another demonstration of our companies’ commitment to work collaboratively.”
According to Chen Hong, president of SAIC Motor, “Our agreement will enable SAIC and GM to take advantage of economies of scale and get new technology to the market faster than by going it alone. It will help bring about our goal of leading the automotive industry in new energy vehicles and our vision of sustainable transportation, which we introduced at World Expo 2010 Shanghai.”
The electric vehicle architecture will be the first to be co-developed by the two companies. Their Shanghai GM joint venture introduced the Sail electric concept vehicle late last year. Establishing PATAC as the engineering lead for the electric vehicle architecture demonstrates not just the strength of the GM-SAIC partnership, but also the confidence and trust the companies have in one another to accomplish an aggressive and challenging project.
Under the agreement, teams of SAIC, GM and PATAC engineers will work together to develop key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures. Vehicles resulting from the partnership will be sold in China under Shanghai GM and SAIC brands. SAIC and GM will also use the architecture to build electric vehicles around the globe for their own purposes. Product details and timing will be announced at a later date.
Accelerating the introduction of roadworthy technologies such as this future electric vehicle architecture is more important than ever, following the announcement of a number of more stringent emission and fuel consumption regulations around the world, including China.
Today’s agreement is a follow-up to the non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strategic cooperation signed by SAIC and GM on Nov. 3, 2010. The two automakers had pledged to reinforce their collaboration in certain core areas of their business, including the development of new energy vehicles and the creation of a stronger and more integrated role for PATAC to work on future vehicles and powertrains. GM and SAIC are making an equal investment in the project.
SAIC and GM are partners in 10 joint ventures in China, which are engaged in vehicle and powertrain manufacturing, sales and aftersales, automotive engineering and design, automotive finance and telematics, and the sale of used vehicles. The companies’ manufacturing joint ventures, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, are market leaders in China. In addition, SAIC and GM operate a joint venture in India and SAIC is an investor in GM Korea Co.
GM China Advanced Technical Center Phase I Opens
Shanghai facility joins global network of automaker’s R&D labs
General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson participated in Tuesday’s opening of the first phase of the GM China Advanced Technical Center, joining the GM network of technical centers to conduct R&D for the company on a worldwide basis.
“The ATC is an integral component of GM’s global technology development strategy,” said Akerson. “As one of GM’s most important and comprehensive technical and design facilities, it will lead GM’s global research and development efforts in targeted areas. Working with our company’s other technical centers, it will share the latest achievements and expertise to drive the innovation of tomorrow’s technology.”
The center is the most comprehensive advanced automotive technology development center in China. It will house four key GM technical and design organizations: the China Science Lab, Vehicle Engineering Lab, Advanced Powertrain Engineering Lab and Advanced Design Center. When completed, the 65,000-square-meter center will include 62 test labs and nine research labs. It will eventually be home to more than 300 employees, including engineers, designers, researchers and technicians.
The first phase – the Advanced Materials Laboratory Building – includes a battery cell testing lab, battery material lab, metallography and electrochemical lab, cell fabrication lab, and micro-foundry and formability lab. It will focus on research in lightweight materials and battery cells for the development of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, extended-range electric vehicles and other advanced technology vehicles.
The center will share learning and support ongoing engineering work at GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture with SAIC in Shanghai as well as at GM’s operations globally. It will leverage China-specific expertise throughout the GM network.
“The ATC reinforces GM's commitment to advanced technology leadership in China,” said GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale. “It represents an important step forward for realizing GM’s vision of sustainable mobility, which we showcased at World Expo 2010 Shanghai. It will ensure that GM keeps up with the needs of our local customers through the development of cutting-edge automotive technology that is cleaner, more efficient and affordable.”
GM broke ground for the ATC in July 2010. The second phase is scheduled to open in the second half of 2012.