When the Saturn Vue Green Line goes on sale in August, it will mark the birth of the North American supply chain for gasoline-electric hybrids.
The Green Line's battery pack comes from Cobasys, a joint venture between Electronic Conversion Devices Inc., of Troy, Mich., and Chevron Technology Ventures, a unit of Chevron Corp.
The batteries are manufactured in Springboro, Ohio. They are the first North American-made nickel-metal hydride batteries used in a hybrid vehicle.
Electronic Conversion Devices of Troy, Mich., contributed the technology. Chevron funded the venture, according to Cobasys spokesman Ray Wagner.
The batteries in all Toyota, Honda and Ford hybrids come from Japan. Sanyo or Panasonic make them.
General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are increasing production of gasoline-electric hybrids in the coming years. Ford hopes to build 250,000 hybrids by the end of the decade. GM has not committed to a production figure but has plans to install hybrid powertrains in some of its top-selling models, such as the Chevrolet Malibu and full-sized SUVs.
Both automakers are nurturing the North American supply chain for hybrid components.
Cobasys is one of the first companies to start delivering a major component.
The Vue's entire battery pack, which includes the case and a cooling fan, is assembled in the company's Ohio factory.
Cobasys isn't the only North American company looking to sell batteries to automakers for use in hybrids. Johnson Controls Inc. also is gearing up for production.
You may e-mail Richard Truett at [email protected]