SAIC-GM open second electric car plant in China

SAIC-GM, General Motors’ joint venture with SAIC Motor, opened its second plant producing electric vehicles based on GM’s Ultium platform. The factory is at the company’s production site in the city of Wuhan in Central China and has started making electric cars already.

In fact, SAIC-GM has been active in Wuhan since 2015 and already builds three New Energy Vehicles there, more precisely, the BEV versions of the Chevrolet Menlo and Buick Velite 6, as well as the PHEV version of the Buick model.

However, the new factory is Ultium only and the first product being assembled there is the Buick Electra E5. SAIC-GM plan to launch the electric crossover in China in the first quarter of this year, as reported, and today said deliveries would begin within the first half of 2023. SAIC-GM added, the Electra E5 would adopt “local battery solutions tailored for China that support high thermal stability, low degradation and long battery life”. In other words, the company confirmed that the Buick EVs made in China rely on NMC battery chemistry with cells coming from CATL. In the North American Ultium models, GM relies on its own cells from the joint venture with LG Energy Solution.

But back to China, where the new factory in Wuhan joins SAIC-GM’s first Ultium production site in Shanghai. The joint venture had commissioned the plant in October 2021 and a few months later started producing the Cadillac Lyriq crossover at the “Ultium Center”.

With the two plants, SAIC-GM said it plans to roll out more than ten Ultium-based models across multiple brands and segments. Buick announced in June 2022 its transformation to an all-electric car brand by the end of this decade. The carmaker has sold over ten million vehicles in China since its introduction by SAIC-GM in 1998, making China Buick’s biggest market.

General Motors further announced the launch of more than 15 electric models based on its Ultium platform in China by 2025 last November.