In the most recent letter to shareholders, General Motors chair and CEO Mary Barra has highlighted a bold electrification plan.
The company intends to accelerate its engineering and capital investments in electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving technology (AVs) by $8 billion, from $27 billion to $35 billion between 2020 and 2025.
GM would like to focus on zero-emission, battery-electric vehicles (with some share of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles), instead of "partial solutions" like hybrids/ “electrified” ICE vehicles.
"With our engineering and capital investments, we are executing the industry’s most comprehensive and fully integrated EV and AV strategy, underpinned by the Ultium Platform, along with revenue growth opportunities like connected services, HYDROTEC and Super Cruise."
Most of the investments will fall on vehicle plants and battery plants (a total of four in the U.S.).
A substantial setback is about $800 million allocated for the Chevrolet Bolt EV battery recall. GM reported the amount in its Q2 2021 financial report:
"Net income of $2.8 billion, and EBIT-adjusted of $4.1 billion, including warranty recall costs of $(1.3) billion, of which $(0.8) billion was related to the Chevrolet Bolt EV"
30+ EV models globally and 1+ million sales annually by 2025
The plan is to introduce a total of over 30 battery-electric vehicles in North America and China by 2025 with a sales target of more than 1 million annually by 2025 (globally).
Not only that, GM would like to take the largest market share in the BEV segment in North America. It would require a volume increase beyond Tesla, which controls more than half of the BEV sales.
The profitability of its new electric vehicles would have to be on par or even higher than for its conventional vehicles.
"The pull-ahead of $8 billion in investment means we will be in an even stronger position to delight customers with EVs that are better for the environment. Not only will our EVs be fun to drive and cost less to own, we will provide an outstanding customer experience. This is how we will encourage and inspire mass consumer adoption of EVs. GM has the technology, talent, scale and manufacturing expertise to do it."
The core of the GM's strategy is the Ultium platform, which will be used first in the GMC Hummer EV pickup, starting this fall.
"We’re excited about launching our first Ultium-based vehicles this fall – the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup, and the BrightDrop EV600 electric commercial vehicle. They will be followed in early 2022 by the all-electric Cadillac LYRIQ SUV, and Cadillac is announcing today that it will begin taking LYRIQ reservations on Sept. 18. We have also confirmed that both Chevrolet and GMC will offer battery electric full-size pickups based on Ultium."
The list of upcoming Ultium-based models includes:
- GMC: GMC Hummer EV pickup, GMC Hummer EV SUV, and recently hinted full-size pickup
- Chevrolet: all-electric pickup Chevrolet Silverado, confirmed in April 2021, a compact crossover plus a van and a hydrogen medium-duty truck
- Cadillac: Cadillac Lyriq, Cadillac Celestiq
- Buick: two hinted at without details
- Cruise (autonomous vehicles): Cruise Origin
- BrightDrop: BrightDrop EV600
Hydrogen is still in the equation
An interesting point is that GM is still working on hydrogen fuel cells - a third generation of the Hydrotec system. We believe that the FCVs will only be a small part of the overall electrification approach.
"Developing the third generation of GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology: Hydrogen fuel cells are poised to become the leading technology for electrifying the largest, hardest-working vehicles on the road and beyond."