SAIC Motor Corp., Ltd. Chairman Hu Maoyuan and General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson signed an agreement this week to jointly develop a new electric vehicle architecture in China. The components and vehicle structures will be built in Shanghai, at the companies’ joint venture, The Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). The cars will be sold in China under the Shanghai GM and SAIC brand names.
In addition, the architecture will also be used by both companies to build electric vehicles around the world.
This is the first electric vehicle architecture to be co-developed by GM and SAIC, although the companies are involved in 10 other joint projects in China, with a focus on vehicle and powertrain manufacturing, sales and aftersales, automotive engineering and design, automotive finance and telematics and the sale of used vehicles. They also jointly developed the Sail electric concept car last year, which was designed at PATAC.
Under the new partnership, GM will contribute its knowledge of electric car design and engineering combined with SAIC’s knowledge of the local market in China.
The impact of the new deal will be felt further than China, however, as the terms of the deal allow the companies’ to use the jointly developed technology for their own purposes. By teaming up, they’re able to get more electric cars into the market, and faster than if they went on their own. That means more electric cars will be coming at a critical time when government regulators are pushing for tougher emission and fuel consumption guidelines, both in China and elsewhere.
No additional details or timing of product launches are available at this time.