Media Moves

GM to challenge Tesla lead in EVs with $20-bln investment

March 5, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

GM has unveiled an investment plan worth $20 billion to advance its electric vehicle agenda and challenge the dominance of Tesla.

CNBC’s Michael Wayland reported:

 General Motors will spend more than $20 billion through 2025 on its next generation of all-electric and autonomous vehicles as it aims to gain a foothold in the fast-growing market for new auto technologies.

The investment is GM’s hardest push yet to convince skeptics, particularly on Wall Street, that the more than 110-year-old automaker can compete against Tesla as the auto industry pivots to all-electric vehicles. GM showed and discussed 11 new all-electric vehicles Wednesday as part of its plans through 2025, which includes at least 20 new models by 2023. CNBC first reported GM would unveil the products at its “EV Day.”

The company declined to break down how much of the $20 billion would go specifically to all-electric vehicles but said that the amount includes capital and engineering resources.

“This is a huge opportunity for us. The biggest opportunity any of us has ever seen for this company, certainly,” GM President Mark Reuss said. “And we are all-in. It represents a chance to reinvent the company and reset our brands. It will change this company and people’s perception of it forever.”

Andrew J. Hawkins from The Verge wrote:

In addition to showing off some of its upcoming vehicles, GM revealed an all-new modular electric vehicle platform with an improved battery pack called Ultium. Much like Volkswagen’s so-called MEB platform, the GM platform is intended to be flexible and multifaceted, with the goal of eventually undergirding a variety of vehicle types and shapes.

The new batteries are unique because of the “large-format, pouch-style cells,” compared to cylindrical cells, which GM says enables them to be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. These batteries will offer power ranging from 50 to 200 kWh, which could allow for a driving range up to “400 miles or more.” Motors designed in-house will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive applications.

GM altered the chemistry of its battery cells, in a move that’s distinct from most EV batteries in production today. The majority of batteries are made with NCM — nickel, cobalt, and magnesium. The Ultium batteries will add aluminum — so NCMA — and reduce the cobalt content by 70 percent. GM has also reduced by about 80 percent the amount of wiring from the EV architecture currently used in its Chevy Bolt vehicles. The hope is that this will drive battery cell costs below the $100/kWh level and allow GM to get more bang for its buck as it scales up its EV production capabilities.

MarketWatch’s Claudia Assis noted:

GM GM, 0.00 shares extended their advance to 2% as the company’s “EV day” with analysts in the Detroit area got underway.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra vowed to “dramatically” change the future of GM and “put everyone in an EV.”

“We believe climate change is real,” Barra said. “We have the ability and the responsibility to create a cleaner planet” and offer car buyers a slew of electric-powered vehicles in all body styles, prices, and to dealerships across the U.S., she said.

The program is expected to be profitable from its start and also includes selling EVs to rideshare providers, Barra said.

GM, which makes the Chevy Bolt, a competitor to Tesla Inc.’s TSLA, +0.53% mass-market Model 3 sedan, last month announced an all-electric Hummer, reviving the name and the cachet of the rugged vehicle whose name became to many people a symbol of size excess and poor fuel economy.

The Hummer as a standalone GM brand was discontinued in 2010. Tesla in late November unveiled its electric pickup, an angular model that drew some comparison with the defunct Hummer.

In addition to the all-electric Hummer, which will be sold under the GMC brand alongside other electric pickup trucks and an SUV, the company also unveiled plans for a larger version of the Bolt and several Cadillac models, including a luxury SUV called the Cadillac Lyriq.


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