The WSJ is reporting that General Motors (GM) is in advanced talks to acquire Cobasys LLC, a supplier of batteries used in a range of products including certain hybrid vehicles.
Cobasys, which is half owned by Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., (ENER) a developer of battery technology, produces nickel-metal hydride batteries, an older type that is expected to be overtaken soon by lighter, more powerful lithium-ion batteries.
GM is planning to produce a number of vehicles in the future that use lithium-ion batteries, but it is interested in acquiring the expertise Cobasys has in packaging batteries and related intellectual property.
GM and other auto makers are racing to develop hybrids and battery-powered vehicles to meet soaring consumer interest in alternatives to the internal combustion engine. One of its most high-profile initiatives, an electric vehicle called the Chevrolet Volt, is supposed to use lithium-ion batteries and to arrive on the market by 2010.
People familiar with the matter declined to say what price range is being discussed for Cobasys, but said that any deal is likely to be modest in financial terms.