General Motors is staying the course, it would seem, when it comes to its all-electric future. The company announced it has hired a former Tesla executive to oversee its battery development and operations.
Well, if you can’t beat ’em, get ’em to join you. Not exactly how the adage goes, but GM continues to add talented executives to its roster.
It announced the addition of Kurt Kelty, a globally recognized battery expert and former Tesla executive, to be vice president of Batteries. Kelty reports to GM President Mark Reuss in this newly created role.
“The foundation that GM has established coupled with Kurt’s exceptional battery expertise in leading battery chemistry development, establishing partnerships, building out supply chains and partnering closely with teams that have developed leading battery systems will help us achieve our electrification goals and position GM as a leader in EV technology,” said Reuss.
Kelty now is responsible for GM’s battery cell strategy and “a new end-to-end approach.” He’ll be in charge of everything involved in battery development and production, ranging from raw material usage to new technology to end-of-life plans.
GM officials noted the combination of Kelty’s new role and the elevated focus on battery cell technology should augment the company’s decades of investment and work to help the company create, develop and produce the next generation of EV batteries.
With Kelty joining the team, this will expand and accelerate those efforts and position GM as the EV leader in the future.
“For more than 30 years, I’ve been focused on helping develop and commercialize battery technologies that will aid in the transition to electric transportation,” Kelty said. “Joining GM creates an even bigger opportunity to help the industry make the switch and have a lasting impact on our planet.”
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Kelty didn’t come to GM straight from Tesla. He was Vice President, Commercialization & Battery Engineering at Sila, a California-based company where he was responsible for sales, business development, battery cell manufacturing partnerships and battery engineering involved in the adoption of Sila’s silicon anode material in EVs requiring high energy density and fast charge.
Before that, he spent more than a decade at Tesla, leading its battery development team. Kelty was responsible for the technical exchanges and commercial negotiations with battery cell suppliers and early-stage battery cell developers.
He was a key driver in the creation of Tesla’s first Gigafactory, the largest lithium-ion battery and EV component factory in the world. He began his work in lithium-ion batteries in 1993, working for Panasonic, where he created alliances and joint development programs to advance lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for portable applications.