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by Tim Beissmann

South Korean energy specialist LG Chem will begin supplying car makers with batteries capable of powering electric vehicles for at least 200 miles (322km) in 2016.

LG Chem chief financial officer Cho Suk-jeh told Reuters EVs powered by the advanced, ‘second-generation’ batteries would be available in around two years’ time, though would not elaborate on exactly when and where they would appear first.

LG Chem currently supplies lithium-ion batteries to General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Kia, Renault, Volvo, and other car makers. The 200-mile-plus range of the new batteries is roughly double that of the company’s current, ‘first-generation’ EV batteries.

GM is a front-runner to be first to market with the long-range batteries. The US car maker’s vice president for product development, Doug Parks, last year said GM planned to offer an EV with a range of at least 200 miles with a circa-US$30,000 ($32,000) price tag as early as 2016.

GM’s new EV will rival the forthcoming Tesla Model III, a pure-electric model set to launch in 2016 with a projected range of at least 320km and an anticipated starting price around US$35,000 ($37,250).

Tesla’s larger and more expensive Model S is already available with batteries capable of 390km and 502km ranges.