General Motors wants to fast track development of its plug-in Chevy Volt hybrid.
The automaker has awarded contracts to two companies that will design and test lithium-ion batteries.
The Volt was unveiled at the Detroit auto show earlier this year. It has a battery-powered electric motor that can run the car for up to 40 city miles on a single charge.
The gasoline engine can recharge the batteries while it is moving.
Speaking today at GM annual shareholders meeting, Chairman Rick Wagoner also said the automaker will roll out four new hybrids this year.
The new hybrid models are the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs, and hybrid systems for the Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu sedans.