Last week General Motors announced it will boost its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion. This is a 75 per cent increase from its initial commitment the company announced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GM says its enhanced commitment will accelerate its transformative strategy to become the market leader in EVs in North America, as well as a global leader in battery and fuel cell technology through its Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cells.
The company says it will also prioritize making the Cruise, GM’s majority-owned subsidiary, the first safely commercialized self-driving technology at scale.
“We are investing aggressively in a comprehensive and highly-integrated plan to make sure that GM leads in all aspects of the transformation to a more sustainable future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra.
Under the aggressive plan, Barra says “GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio.”
Factors in accelerating the change in the automobile landscape include strong public reaction to the GMC Hummer EV and Hummer EV SUV, the Cadillac LYRIQ and the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup. Also, GM and dealer investments in the EV customer experience, public and private investment in EV charging infrastructure and the global policy environment.
“There is a strong and growing conviction among our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, unions and investors, as well as policymakers, that electric vehicles and self-driving technology are the keys to a cleaner, safer world for all,” Barra said.
GM’s announcement builds on the company’s initial commitment announced in March 2020 to invest $20 billion from 2020 through 2025 to accelerate its transition to EVs and AVs. In November 2020, the company increased its planned investment over the same period to $27 billion.
General Motors expects to deliver better-than-expected results in the second quarter despite the industry-wide impact of the semiconductor shortage.
GM says its additional investments and new collaborations are designed to create even greater competitive advantages for the company. They include accelerating battery production in the United States. The company says it has plans to build two new battery cell manufacturing plants in the United States by mid-decade to complement the Ultium Cells LLC plants under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.
In addition to collaborating with Honda to build two EVs using Ultium technology – one SUV for the Honda brand and one for the Acura brand – GM announced June 15 it has signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells to Wabtec Corporation, which is developing the world’s first 100 percent battery-powered locomotive.
Separately, GM will supply HYDROTEC to Navistar, Inc., which is developing hydrogen-powered heavy trucks to launch in 2024, and Liebherr-Aerospace, which is developing hydrogen-powered auxiliary power units for aircraft. Lockheed Martin and GM also are teaming up to develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts on the surface of the Moon, leveraging GM’s expertise in electric propulsion and autonomous technology.
GM confirmed plans to launch its third-generation HYDROTEC fuel cells with even greater power density and lower costs by mid-decade. GM manufactures its fuel cells in Brownstown Charter Township, Michigan, in a joint venture with Honda.
In November 2020, GM announced it would deliver 30 new EVs by 2025 globally, with two-thirds available in North America. Through these additional investments announced, GM will add to its North America plan new electric commercial trucks and other products that will be enabled by the Ultium Platform.
Cruise recently became the first company to receive permission from regulators in California to provide a driverless AV passenger service to the public. Cruise also was recently selected as the exclusive provider of AV rideshare services to the city of Dubai and is working with Honda to begin development of an AV testing program in Japan.