General Motors Co's Indian unit is partnering local firm Reva Electric Car Co to develop electric vehicles for the Indian market, and hopes to start selling a battery-operated small car within a year.

U.S. and many global automakers are betting that battery technology will make electric cars the environmentally friendly transportation of the future amid higher gasoline prices and stricter emission rules.

General Motors will use its Chevrolet Spark platform for the India electric car, Karl Slym, managing director of the firm's India unit told reporters on Thursday.

Bangalore-based Reva, which makes electric cars and has more than 14 years of experience in electric vehicle research, will provide the technology for the Indian electric car.

General Motors is also making the heavily touted Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid in the United States and the car is expected to be launched next year.

India's Tata Motors has developed an electric vehicle for the European markets, based on its Indica Vista passenger car, and plans to begin production within months. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by John Mair)