General Motors brought some good news in the form of heady claims yesterday at the virtual Barclays Global Automotive Conference. GM said it’s upping its investments in EVs and said they’ll be more profitable and more powerful as the second-generation Ultium project comes into play. GM is also hiring for its EV teams and plans to break ground on a new plant soon and is accelerating its timeline for all of this.
“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary 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.”
GM says that by 2025 it will have 30 EVs around the world, two-thirds available in the U.S. The GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq programs were both accelerated with the Lyriq coming to market in the first quarter, 2022, nine-months earlier than originally expected. All told, 12 programs have been sped up including the Hummer and Lyriq, three other Cadillacs, four Chevys and three other GMC projects including an EV pickup truck.
The bigger news, or maybe more important, is that GM says its second-generation Ultium vehicles are projected to deliver twice the energy density at half the cost of today’s chemistry. Already the Ultium pack costs almost 40 percent less than the battery pack in the Bolt. Much of this work is happening at GM’s Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, but next year the company breaks ground on a new Battery Innovation Lab and Manufacturing Technology Center to help develop the chemistry. To wit, it’s hiring 3,000 electrical system, infotainment and software and controls engineers, plus developers for Java, Android, iOS and other platforms.
GM is also upping its range estimate on the Ultium platform after intermittent engineering advances and now expects it will be capable of 450 miles on a charge as opposed to 400. We’re guessing that won’t be for the full-zoot Hummer with a trailer, but it’s still impressive. With bathroom and food stops that’s about an 8-hour road trip.
The big question is parity. When will EVs be equal to ICE vehicles in price and/or range? Most importantly price, because as we’ve said before, the average American drives less than 30 miles per day. Even with a 300-mile range, that’s 10 days’ driving without charging. With GM’s (and others) advancements, we’re now looking at a matter of years instead of decades.
What will it take for you to get an EV? Sound off in the comments.
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