- General Motors has hired former Tesla executive Kurt Kelty to lead its electric vehicle battery program, the company announced Thursday.
- Kelty, who previously led Tesla’s battery development team for more than a decade, will serve as vice president of batteries and report to GM President Mark Reuss
- GM has tasked Kelty with helping it boost EV sales and profitability through lower costs and improved battery technology.
Automakers are competing for EV talent as the global race toward zero-emissions vehicles heats up, with GM landing a big fish in Kelty.
GM recently announced that it would launch more hybrid models amid weak EV demand. However, the automaker still plans to invest heavily in EVs to comply with increasingly stringent vehicle emissions regulations and meet future demand. Last week, LG Chem announced it would provide GM with cathode material for 5 million EVs as part of a $19 billion deal.
Kelty will help the automaker overhaul how it uses raw materials, develops and invests in new technologies, commercializes batteries, and manages EVs at the end of their service life, the press release says.
“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,” Reuss said in a statement.
Kelty most recently led sales, business development, battery cell manufacturing partnerships and battery engineering for battery supplier Sila.
But he’s best known for his time at Tesla, where he led technical exchanges and business negotiations with battery cell suppliers and developers. Kelty was also heavily involved in creating Tesla’s first Gigafactory, according to GM. He’s worked on lithium-ion batteries since he worked at Panasonic in 1993.