GM, GE team up on electric vehicle infrastructure in China

BEIJING, Sept 22 Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:06am EDT

BEIJING, Sept 22 (Reuters) - General Motors and General Electric signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to jointly work to speed up deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in China.

The cooperation will focus on the Shanghai metropolitan area, which has been designated China's first EV pilot city, according to the MOU, which was signed in Shanghai.

The companies will install GE charging stations at an EV demonstration zone and at GM's offices in the city.

Both GM's and GE's China headquarters are in Shanghai.

GE will purchase an unspecified number of GM's Chevrolet Volt -- a new battery-powered car that also has an internal combustion engine that kicks in when the battery is depleted -- for use at its Shanghai campus, according to the agreement.

GM plans to put the Volt, which has a range of 80 kilometers on its battery and 490 kilometers with its gas-powered engine, on the Chinese market before the end of this year.

Automakers in China are producing a variety of EVs as China tries to control pollution from the rapidly expanding number of cars in China, which overtook the United States to be the world's largest automobile market in 2009.

The GM-GE cooperation comes two days after GM and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp signed an agreement to develop and build electric vehicles in China.

That deal will allow GM and SAIC to offer EVs that qualify for expected Chinese "green" subsidies, for which the Volt is not eligible because it is not built in China.

The subsidies would provide buyers with a discount, either before or after purchase. (Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Ken Wills)

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