General Motors to Set up Own Electric Drive Motors

G.M. , the main automaker in the United States, will build its own electric motors for future hybrid and electric vehicles.

The announcement will be made at 2 p.m. by Tom Stephens, G.M.’s vice chairman of global product operations, at the company’s transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., near Baltimore, where the electric motors will be produced. Gov. Martin O’Malley and United States Senator Barbara Mikulski, both of Maryland, are expected to attend, along with other federal, state and local officials.

The Baltimore plant currently builds the Two Mode hybrid transmission, originally developed by G.M.’s former Allison division and currently used in hybrid S.U.V.’s and pickups made by G.M., BMW and Mercedes. The new motor’s first application will be in the next generation of the Two Mode hybrid system, slated to launch in 2013.

At a press conference in Detroit on Monday, Mr. Stephens compared the importance of G.M. making its own electric-drive motors for hybrid and electric vehicles to producing its own internal combustion engines for today’s gas-powered cars and trucks. He said that by designing and manufacturing electric motors in-house, G.M. “can more efficiently use energy from batteries as they evolve, potentially reducing cost and weight -– two significant challenges facing batteries today,” he said.

G.M. has spent the past seven years engineering its new electric motors at various research facilities in Michigan, Indiana and California. Tooling costs for the Baltimore plant will be covered primarily by a $105 million grant from the Energy Department.

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