General Motors and Honda have announced a partnership to develop smaller, lighter batteries to be used in the next generation of electric cars from both companies.

The battery agreement specifies that the companies will collaborate using GM's next-generation battery technology.

Honda will buy battery modules from GM as a part of the arrangement.

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The batteries are expected to be smaller and have higher energy density for longer range, and faster recharge times.

The agreement follows on the two companies' partnership on fuel cells that started in 2013. Last year, that partnership expanded into to build fuel-cell stacks at GM's Brownstown, Michigan plant to be used in future products for each company.

Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle

Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle

Those products include the Chevy Colorado ZH2 fuel cell truck being tested by the military, though the new stacks are not in any Honda products yet. The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell car uses Honda's own fuel-cell technology.

Honda has lagged behind in electric-car development, only offering its first electric car for sale last year in California and Oregon. (The Honda Fit EV was only available for lease.) Its latest electric car, the Clarity Electric, has 89 miles of range.

Its most recent competitors on the market include the Chevy Bolt EV with 238 miles of range, and the Nissan Leaf with 151 miles. Even older electric car models such as the VW e-Golf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric have more than 120 miles of range. The Hyundai Kona Electric, expected to debut late this year, is slated to have 234 miles of range.

GM has been a leader in electric cars. It introduced the first affordable electric car with more than 200 miles of range in the Bolt EV, and rolled out its first plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, in 2011.