General Motors is increasing its spending, launching an “all-out pursuit of global EV leadership,” GM CEO Mary Barra announced. By 2025, the US carmaker wants to have 30 electric models and intends to raise investment from 20 to 27 billion US dollars.
Those electric vehicles would cover a broad lineup, from below $30,000 to over $100,000, with a goal of “putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” Barra told reporters and investors during a conference on Thursday.
Thirty models pose an up from GM’s initial target of 20 electric models by 2023. She also said GM wants to sell more than one million EVs in the United States and China by 2025. That will be a long way, given the carmakers has currently sold under 100,000 BEVs with its Chevy Bolt, according to Electrek.
Whether the now announced increase in investment of 35 per cent to $27 billion by 2023 will suffice is yet another question. In the volume electric vehicle segment, GM is naturally competing with Volkswagen. The German corporation in its latest budget for 2021 to 2025, set aside 35 billion euros for e-mobility as part of overall spending 73 billion euros on “future-oriented topics” that also include hybridisation and digitisation. 35 billion euros come up to 41.5Bn dollars.
GM and VW also compete in China, where VW will launch the ID.3 in 2021 as reported. At the same time, GM offerings in Europe are becoming few.
Not so in the USA. The announced investments at General Motors also aim to accelerate EV development. Barra announced three previously unknown models from GMC, four more Cadillacs and two Buicks and at least one Chevrolet pickup. By 2025, GM expects 40 per cent of models to be battery-electric. As a concrete measure, Chairman Mary Barra said that they would bring the Cadillac Lyriq forward from late 2022 to early 2022.
GM writes that the development time of the GMC Hummer EV is the Group’s new benchmark. The model was developed in 26 months, half the time it usually took for a new model to launch.
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The company’s new Ultium architecture and battery technology is key to the announcements. GM now claims an electric driving range of up to 450 miles on a single charge, up from 400 previously stated.
The second generation of Ultium batteries, available mid-decade, should close most of the cost gap with gasoline engines, GM global product development chief Doug Parks told reporters. That is when GM expects to double energy density while reducing costs by 60 per cent.
GM will rely on LG Chem to increase battery-making capacity at the plant in northeast Ohio. The carmaker will also introduce more plants in which it builds electric vehicles, Barra said.
The company also stated to continue “to explore third-party licensing” for the Ultium architecture along with its Hydrotec fuel cell technology developed with Honda.
Asked about a spinoff of GM’s skateboard or battery operations, Barra said, “We don’t think it has to be separated.”
Instead, the CEO emphasised the advantages she sees in integrating internal combustion and electric vehicles, noting that EVs can share up to 70% of the components used in conventional cars.
Product development echoed the strategy. “GM’s EV development times are speeding up, and costs are going down rapidly, so we expect our Ultium EV programs to be profitable from the first generation on,” said Parks. “It’s not just the cost and performance of our innovative EV components that will give us a competitive advantage in a fast-changing industry, but how we integrate them with other advanced systems like Super Cruise, our Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture and other technologies pioneered in our traditional portfolio.”
GM also said it was creating an umbrella organisation for its electric vehicle and digital marketing efforts called Ultifi.
After Barra announced the accelerated rollout of electric models and investments, GM shares moved into positive territory. Tesla shares also rose, and by the end of Thursday trading had reached a market capitalisation of 475 billion dollars, eight times that of General Motors.
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