General Motors, as part of its US$27bn initiative to match or pass Tesla in the electric vehicle sector, is working with "all the best startups" on next-generation EV battery technology while planning a big boost in production capacity for its new Ultium battery system, an executive has said.

"We're partnering with some great companies," including Honda Motor and LG Chem, on electric vehicles and batteries, Reuters quoted Doug Parks, GM EVP of global product development as telling an investor conference. But "we're also looking outside the company to startups to get on the front edge of that learning curve".

Parks reportedly said GM continued to build its relationship with Honda with whom it is jointly developing several future electric vehicles.

"There's an opportunity for more," Parks said. "We could extend that relationship to other segments", including sharing combustion engine vehicles and platforms with Honda.

Reuters noted GM chief executive Mary Barra said almost a year ago the automaker had boosted its spending budget on electric and automated vehicles from $20bn to $27bn through 2025.

Parks this week said much of that $7bn increase was tied to spending on additional production capacity for the Ultium battery which is scheduled to go into production in Ohio next year in a $2.3bn joint venture with LG Chem.

Given all the EVs GM has planned for North America - around 20 models by 2025 - "we're going to need more capacity" for batteries, Parks said. "So there's more investment coming after the initial wave in Ohio."

Industry leader Tesla last year sold just under 500,000 EVs globally, Reuters noted.