General Motors has announced that they are significantly increasing their planned spending on electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle development. The new figure of $35 billion represents a 75% increase over their initial commitment, hopefully speeding up their electrification efforts.
General Motors has spent the last year announcing a lot of upcoming electric cars such as the refreshed Chevy Bolt, GMC Hummer EV, and Cadillac LYRIQ. The brand no doubt has a lot of work ahead of them if they want to reach their goal of 30 electric models by 2025. As such, this increase in spending is a welcome sight for anyone monitoring GM’s electrification progress.
GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra remarked:
“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. 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.”
So how does GM plan to use this extra cash to help with their efforts? Firstly, they plan to build two battery cell manufacturing sites in the US.
Accelerating Ultium battery cell production in the United States: GM is accelerating 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. Further details about these new U.S. plants, including the locations, will be announced at a later date.
Also as you can imagine, speeding up the rollout of your planned products is also a priority for the company.
Expanding and accelerating the rollout of EVs for retail and fleet customers: In November 2020, GM announced it would deliver 30 new EVs by 2025 globally, with two-thirds available in North America. Through the additional investments announced today, GM will add to its North America plan new electric commercial trucks and other products that will take advantage of the creative design opportunities and flexibility enabled by the Ultium Platform. In addition, GM will add additional U.S. assembly capacity for EV SUVs. Details will be announced at a later date.
For those interesting in progress in the autonomous driving field, GM is planning to use part of the investment in their Cruise subsidy to continue improving and testing the system.
Safely deploying self-driving technology at scale: Cruise, GM’s majority-owned subsidiary, 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. In addition, GM Financial will provide a multi-year, $5 billion credit facility for Cruise to scale its Cruise Origin fleet. Developed through a partnership between GM, Honda and Cruise, the Cruise Origin will be built at GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center starting in early 2023.
Additionally, GM will also use the money for their HYDROTEC fuel cells which they are planning to provide to several other companies for their vehicles.
Further details haven’t been given, but it is good to see an automaker increase their investment this significantly. Of course, just throwing money at a problem won’t necessarily fix it, so there will still be a lot of things for GM to do if they want their electric products to be successful.
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