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Venture to Build Electric Cars in Germany

May 11, 1999|From Reuters

Energy Conversion Devices Inc. on Monday said it formed a German joint venture with privately held EV Global Motors Co. of Los Angeles and Unique Mobility Inc. to build electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

EV Global Motors was formed by former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca to develop lightweight electric vehicle transportation.

The venture--called Unique Mobility Europa and based in Mittweida in the German state of Saxony--will first make a minivan built from composite materials and powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery and electric motor.

Troy, Mich.-based Energy Conversion, which is involved in alternative energy projects, developed the nickel-metal hydride battery, which it produces with its joint venture partner General Motors Corp.

The German venture will sell the minivans--configured for either six passengers or two passengers plus cargo--in Europe through Handelsgruppe KG Techno-Einkauf using specially designated Volkswagen dealers, Energy Conversion said in a news release.

Unique Mobility is based in Golden, Colo., and makes high-efficiency motors, gear assemblies and other products.

The new venture, owned equally by the three partners, is being funded through a mixture of private financing and state of Saxony grants, a spokeswoman for Energy Conversion said.

She declined to release other details.

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