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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Magna to take a majority stake in Opel

Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International aims to close a deal with General Motors to take a majority stake in car maker Opel by September. The preliminary agreement reached Saturday calls for Magna to take a 20 percent stake in Opel and for state-controlled Russian lender Sberbank to take a 35 percent stake, giving their consortium a majority. GM will retain a 35 percent holding, while the remaining 10 percent will go to Opel employees.

Opel on Tuesday received the first euro300 million ($425 million) installment of a euro1.5 billion bridging loan granted by the government to keep the company afloat while work continues to conclude the takeover.

It will be intriguing to see what happens over the next year or so as Magna, now with a controlling interest in Opel where produce of the Ampera is still on schedule for it's European launch in 2011, also announced a partnership with Ford in January of this year to manufacture Fords first Battery Electric car, based on the Focus, due to hit the market in 2011.

A less publicized move by Magna was the purchase of BluWav Systems, formally Wavecrest, in October 2008. BluWav have spent several years developing an all wheel drive electric wheel motors system.

BluWav had a 1,500 kg off-road military demonstration vehicle with four 46 kW (peak) wheel motors combined with a 5.1 kWh Li-ion battery pack with A123Systems cells to support an electric range of 15 miles (25 km) with a top speed of 75 mpg (121 kph) on display at the 2008 SAE Hybrid Vehicle Technology Symposium. The hub motors provide 20 kW of continuous power, with 620 Nm of continuous torque and 1,100 Nm of peak torque through their geared hubs. Speed range is 0-900 rpm reversible.

It will be very interesting to see where the combined electric vehicle technology within Ford, Magna, BluWav and now Opel will lead.

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1 comment:

Sergius said...

I notice that all auto companies are looking for joint ventures that increase their technological capacity and guarantee them a significant place in the new economic geography delineated by the inexorable evolution of the electric car.
I am sure that those managers who bet fewer chips in this new trend will succumb to the weight of this energetic matrix change, infinitely more rational and sustainable ecologically than the previous, based on fossil fuels.
Now we already know how to generate this energy and very soon we will find out how to store it.

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