Autonomous Chevy Bolt Program Gets Billions In Backing
General Motors announced that SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion in autonomous driving subsidiary GM Cruise Holdings LLC (GM Cruise).
GM intends to begin series production of Cruise AV (autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV) in 2019 and the investment from SoftBank Vision Fund brings those plans closer to large scale deployment.
GM will invest $1.1 billion on its side upon closing of the transaction. GM Cruise Holdings is valuated at $11.5 billion.
With billions invested, the time until the robo-taxis enter service is near.
“The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in two tranches. At the closing of the transaction, the Vision Fund will invest the first tranche of $900 million. At the time that Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment, the Vision Fund will complete the second tranche of $1.35 billion, subject to regulatory approval. Together, this will result in the SoftBank Vision Fund owning a 19.6-percent equity stake in GM Cruise and will afford GM increased flexibility with respect to capital allocation.
The GM and SoftBank Vision Fund investments are expected to provide the capital necessary to reach commercialization at scale beginning in 2019.”
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said:
“Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years. Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”
Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers said:
“GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion. The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry.”
GM President Dan Ammann said:
“We’re excited to be joining forces with a tech leader who shares our belief that AV technology will change the world. We look forward to partnering with SoftBank as we work toward deploying this technology safely and in massive scale.”