A123 Systems: Disappointment In Extension Of GM's Deal With LG Group

|
Includes: AONEQ, GM, SR
by: Clean Energy Intel

One piece of news worth noting from the end of last week was the announcement that General Motors (NYSE:GM) and LG Group (LG) have agreed to extend their partnership on lithium batteries and electric vehicles. LG Chem currently supplies the battery packs for the Chevy Volt and the Opel Ampera (the Volt's cousin intended for the European market).

This is obviously another piece of good news for the world of electric vehicles as it shows GM's confidence and commitment to the EV market. Recently, GM has now announced:

  • A deal with A123 Systems (AONE) for the supply of battery packs related to an unnamed battery-electric vehicle. For more detail see here.
  • The development of a hybrid version of the Cadillac Converj. See here.
  • An expanded deal with LG Group over future full battery-electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
Clearly, GM is increasing its investment and commitment in this arena. You can read the company's press statement on the agreement with LG here. The key take-away":

"The definitive agreement signed Wednesday will help GM expand the number and types of electric vehicles it makes and sells by using LG’s proven expertise in batteries and other systems. For LG, the arrangement represents a widening of its portfolio as an automotive solution provider ...

The success of the extended-range propulsion system in the Volt and Ampera led to exploring other collaborations in the electrification of the automobile. Teams of LG and GM engineers will work on key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures."

Clearly, the latter part of this statement suggests that the intention is for GM to access other areas of expertise within LG Group beyond those related to LG Chem's battery technology. This may well allow the two companies to collaborate on the production of vehicles with a more extended range by, for example, shedding weight via the use of new materials. Clearly, this is what the EV world needs.
However, the depth of the collaboration that this may lead GM into with industrial giant LG Group is clearly not encouraging for AONE. As we mentioned in a further article here, the fact that AONE's recently announced deal with GM is for a pure battery-electric vehicle rather than a range-extended PHEV could be read as being disappointing. And now, with LG Group collaborating with GM on what may well become the car manufacturers' better selling products, the value of AONE's deal may well come into further question.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.