DETROIT—General Motors has created a new position to bolster its EV presence. The automaker has hired Kurt Kelty, a globally recognized battery expert and former Panasonic and Tesla executive, to be vice president of batteries, reporting to GM President Mark Reuss.

Kelty will be in charge of GM’s battery cell strategy and a new end-to-end approach. This will include the use of raw materials, research, developing and investing in new technology, commercialization of cells and packs, and end of life opportunities. His team will be responsible for a critical piece of GM’s electrification strategy, bringing together the company’s already robust battery development resources with industry expertise to more quickly deliver profitable, lower-cost, higher performing electric vehicles.

“The foundation that [we have] 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,” says Reuss.

“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,” adds Kelty. “Joining GM creates an even bigger opportunity to help the industry make the switch and have a lasting impact on our planet.”

Most recently, Kelty served as vice president at Sila, a manufacturer of silicon battery materials, where he was responsible for sales, business development, cell manufacturing partnerships and engineering.

Kelty previously led the Tesla battery development team for 11 years. At Tesla he 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.