The company said that by doing so, it will lower costs and improve performance, quality, reliability and manufacturability of electric motors by controlling design, materials selection and production processes. The first GM-designed and built electric motors are scheduled to debut in 2013 in rear-wheel-drive Two-mode Hybrid technology.

Tom Stephens, vice chairman of global product operations at GM, said: “Electric motor innovation supported the first wave of automotive growth a century ago with the electric starter, which eliminated the need for a hand crank, and revolutionized automotive travel for the customer.

“We think the electrification of today’s automobiles will be just as revolutionary and just as beneficial to our customers. Electric motors will play a huge role in that.”

GM said that its new rear-wheel-drive Two-mode Hybrid system will use two motor designs and an internal combustion engine to provide improved fuel efficiency compared with the current Two-mode Hybrid technology in GM’s full-size pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

GM has been building this in-house capability for years, expanding electric motor research and development, design and validation capabilities at facilities in Michigan, Indiana and California. The company has also developed math-based design and computing capacity for electric motors. The electric motors will be manufactured in the US at a GM facility.

GM was selected in August by the US Department of Energy for a $105m grant for the construction of US manufacturing capabilities to produce electric motors and related electric drive components.

In addition to in-house capabilities, GM will continue to purchase and co-design electric motors with suppliers.