DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co. has invested $7 million in Envia Systems, a California-based start-up that has been developing more powerful and cheaper batteries for electric vehicles.
Newark, California-based Envia has developed cathode technology for lithium-ion batteries that it says will make them both cheaper and more powerful.
GM said Wednesday it also reached a separate licensing agreement to use the Envia cathode technology in future electric vehicles.
The investment marks the second time this month that GM has taken a stake in a start-up in order to assure its access to technology related to electric vehicles.
In early January, GM announced that it was investing $5 million in Powermat, a company that provides wireless charging for electronic devices like cell phones. The top U.S. automaker plans to incorporate the Powermat technology into upcoming vehicles, including the 2012 Chevrolet Volt.
GM CEO Dan Akerson, who took charge of the top U.S. automaker in September, has said he wants to see the company move faster to roll out plug-in hybrids derived from the Volt while increasing production of the Volt this year and next.
Robert Stempel, former chairman of GM, has been a member of Envia's board of directors since May 2010.
GM founded a venture capital arm in June last year with $100 million in funding. GM Ventures is headed by Jon Lauckner, a veteran GM engineer, and overseen by GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, the former investment banker in charge of strategy at the automaker.