Texaco To Acquire Majority Of GM Ovonic Battery Joint Venture – Brief Article

Texaco said it is planning to acquire GM’s share of a joint venture that has developed an advanced battery technology for the automotive market. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Texaco will acquire GM’s 60 percent share of an existing joint venture with Energy Conversion Devices (ECD), a firm in which Texaco already holds a 20 percent interest.

GM and Ovonic Battery Co., a subsidiary of ECD, formed the joint venture, GM Ovonic, in 1994 to manufacture and commercialize high- efficiency, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) automobile batteries. The joint venture, which will be re-named Texaco Ovonic, plans to fully commercialize and expand its applications to a broad range of energy markets.

“ECD and Ovonic developed breakthrough advanced NiMH battery technology and General Motors has brought it to the production stage,” said Texaco Senior Vice President William M. Wicker. “With the demand for all- electric and hybrid vehicles projected to grow significantly over the next few years, the time is right to extend this technology to the entire automotive market and take it to the next level of commercial development.

“This technology is already being used as a source of power in items such as cellular telephones and personal computers and we believe it holds the potential to meet a wide range of non-automotive uses. As a company committed to developing a significant presence in the energy technology field, we are excited to be part of this joint venture.”

General Motors Vice Chairman Harry J. Pearce said that the future of the battery-powered electric vehicle relies on addressing the critical issue of cost. Successfully addressing this issue requires both high- volume applications and further technical development.

“General Motors, ECD and Ovonic led the industry in the initial commercialization and technology development for advanced vehicle batteries,” said Pearce. “Together, we improved the range of our world- class GM EV1 to more than 150 miles with the GM Ovonic nickel metal hydride technology and opened the door to more efficient hybrid vehicles in the future.

GM Ovonic’s Kettering, Ohio, plant is the first and only facility in the United States dedicated exclusively to the production of NiMH batteries for electric vehicles. We are very proud of these successes and extremely pleased that Texaco will now join with Ovonic and ECD to take the next step in commercialization to reduce costs by spreading this technology to many other automotive customers and applications as well as to non-automotive uses. And, we anticipate that Texaco Ovonic will be our supplier for NiMH batteries.”

In a joint statement, Stanford R. Ovshinsky, ECD President and CEO, and Robert C. Stempel, ECD Chairman, said, “This is a great transition for Ovonic Battery. We started out with the support and manufacturing development expertise of automotive leader, GM, and now we will have the broad reach and marketing expertise of global energy leader, Texaco. This is the right move at the right time for the right reasons — it’s a win-win for our current and future customers, the companies, and consumers.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 International Trade Services

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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