Keeping Up With GM EV News Is Like Drinking From a Firehose
General Motors is picking up the pace of its rollout of electric vehicles once again with reservations climbing and more EV-specific plant announcements still to come.
GM Chairman and President Mary Barra used the automaker’s 2021 fourth-quarter earnings call with investors to list a litany of advances in the charge to unseat Tesla as the top manufacturer of EVs by 2025. GM plans to deliver 400,000 EVs in North America through 2023.
Some product-focused highlights:
GMC Hummer EVs
Reservations for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV and the 2024 Hummer SUV have topped 59,000. The electric pickup is now on sale, while the SUV will go into production in the first quarter of 2023.
Cadillac Lyriq Production, Customers Orders Start Soon
The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will launch within 60 days. GM will forego a new round of reservations and begin taking orders soon after the Debut Edition launches in March. When Cadillac showed the first electric Cadillac, with its dynamic lighting and huge curved LED touchscreen, it sold out in fewer than 20 minutes.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup has 110,000 reservations so far, including orders from 240 fleet operators. The Work Truck version will be launched first, in spring 2023, followed by the RST for retail customers in fall 2023. The Silverado EV will beat competition such as the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup with longer range, faster charging, more towing capacity, better dynamics from the integrated battery pack into the body structure, and the flexible midgate, Barra says. And GM has economies of scale to come from introducing 30 new EVs by 2025, with 20 of them destined for North America.
Third Electric Truck Plant Planned
A third full-size electric truck plant will be announced, in addition to Factory Zero and the retooled and expanded Orion Assembly plant, both of which are in Michigan.
Refreshed Gas-Powered Silverado and Sierra
On the combustion engine side, updated versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks are coming in March. They will have Super Cruise and higher trim levels, which the public seemingly can’t get enough of.
Smaller EV Coming Below Chevy Equinox EV
There will be another EV positioned below the $30,000 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV compact electric crossover (pictured above). Barra did not provide details, but the expectation is it would be a subcompact that would replace four small SUVS, the original Chevy Bolt EV hatch and the larger Bolt EUV crossover electric vehicles as well as the Chevy Trax subcompact and the step-up Chevy Trailblazer gas-powered crossovers.
We vote to keep the Trailblazer name. There will also be a 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV positioned above the Equinox EV, arriving in spring 2023; the Equinox EV follows in fall 2023. The smaller EV will follow the Equinox.
Cruise Starts Public Driverless Car Service
Cruise, the autonomous vehicle arm of GM, has officially begun offering the public robotaxi rides in San Francisco. A waiting list has been started for the public to try the rideshare service, which will initially be offered with limited hours in a geofenced area in San Francisco and then expand hours, surface area, and cities. Cruise received permits needed for driverless rides in November and has completed 600 trips covering 20,000 miles since.
Barra, who recently took a ride in a Bolt outfitted with the full self-driving tech, called it a highlight of her career as an engineer and as president of GM. Cruise needs one final permit to be able to charge drivers for their rides and will add 500 jobs as it prepares for commercialization. Production of the Cruise Origin driverless pod will begin in Michigan later this year. Barra expects Cruise to be generating $50 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade. Personal autonomous vehicles from Cruise are expected mid-decade.
BrightDrop Van Production
The CAMI plant in Ontario will start producing BrightDrop electric delivery vans later this year, starting with capacity of 30,000 a year and quickly doubling.
Plenty of Batteries
GM will not run short of batteries, Barra says. The first Ultium Cells joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution to make battery cells will open mid-year in Lordstown, Ohio, followed by plant No. 2 in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in 2023, then plant No.3 in Lansing, Michigan, in 2024 and the location of plant No.4 will be announced in the next six months.
New Bolt Batteries Being Installed
Chevy Bolts and Bolt EUVs are being outfitted with new batteries after the massive recall to prevent risk of fire that has shuttered the plant since last summer. The cells, from LG, had two rare manufacturing defects, Barra says, but GM recalled everything to err on the side of caution. The issues have been found and resolved, more robust processes have been put in place, and the CEO says she has full confidence in their quality.
Pass the Chips
GM’s semiconductor chip shortage will slowly ease over the course of the year. About 80,000 vehicles that were partially assembled and parked while they awaited chips to be finished were completed by the end of 2021 and shipped to dealers. Barra says GM will increase production by 25 to 30 percent this year.
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