General Motors to boost investment with massive focus on enhanced Electric vehicle portfolio
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced that the company will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade. Around forty percent of the company’s U.S. entries will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. These announcements were part of an overall commitment by GM to increase the direct financial investments to electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle development with total financial investment as much as $27 billion through 2025 – this is up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” said Barra. “We are transitioning to an all-electric portfolio from a position of strength and we’re focused on growth. We can accelerate our EV plans because we are rapidly building a competitive advantage in batteries, software, vehicle integration, manufacturing, and customer experience.”
Key elements of GM’s plan, including:
By 2025, GM will launch 30 EVs around the world, and more than two-thirds will be available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick will all be represented, with EVs at all price points for work, adventure, performance and family use.
Engineering advances have increased the previously stated GM-estimated maximum range of Ultium-based vehicles from 400. GM’s Ultium-based EVs, when produced, will be capable of driving ranges up to 450 miles on a full charge1.
GM’s versatile Ultium platform provides the building blocks for everything, from mass market to high performance vehicles – all from a single, common cell in most markets and a set of interchangeable propulsion components.
More than half of GM’s capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs.
GM’s second-generation Ultium chemistry is projected to deliver twice the energy density at less than half the cost of today’s chemistry. GM is already prototype testing this next-generation technology, which is expected to be available mid-decade.
Ultium technology, supported by hundreds of granted patents and pending patent applications, is expected to bring EVs closer to price parity with gas-powered vehicles.
Both the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac LYRIQ to be accelerated, other vehicles expected to be announced.
General Motors to hire 3000 electrical system infotainment software and control engineers, plus developers for Java, Android, iOS and other platforms.
GM continues to explore third-party licensing for its Ultium EV architecture, batteries and propulsion systems, along with its Hydrotec fuel cell technology developed with Honda.
GM innovates in EV propulsion despite COVID-19
Ultium already represents a milestone achievement in electrification, with battery pack costs nearly 40 percent lower than those in the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Despite the pandemic, GM’s work on EVs accelerated during 2020. GM is projecting that second-generation Ultium packs, expected mid-decade, will cost 60 percent less than the batteries in use today with twice the energy density expected.
These second-generation cells will get closer to cost parity with gas-powered engines due to:
Cell design that enables higher energy density and uses less non-active material, making more room for the part of the battery that produces energy.
Manufacturing efficiencies through GM’s Ultium Cells LLC joint venture with LG Chem.
Better integration between vehicles and their battery packs, enabling fewer cells and modules.
Less expensive cathodes, reduced active material, novel electrolytes and the first use of lithium metal anodes in a GM battery.
GM has completed hundreds of test cycles on the multi-layer prototypes of this next-generation Ultium cell chemistry. Production cells are expected by mid-decade.
The Ultium platform is flexible enough to accept new chemistry and even cell types, without redesigns to its architecture. Ultium batteries will be easy to service at the module level, which makes repair costs less expensive than having to replace the whole pack.
“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 is doing most of the development work on these cells internally at its Chemical and Materials Systems Lab, located at the Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. This facility features a fabrication line with polymer mixing, slurries, a coating machine and a cell assembly room. Next year, GM will break ground on an all-new Battery Innovation Lab and Manufacturing Technology Center to develop the next-generation Ultium battery chemistry.