General Motors has a very ambitious electrification plan powered by its Ultium architecture, which is designed to cover pretty much every segment of the market, from the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt EV to the $340,000+ Cadillac Celestiq ultra-luxury flagship.
But while GM has many Ultium-based EVs in the pipeline, most of them haven't entered production yet. And those that did are having a difficult time reaching the desired production capacities.
General Motors' head of finance said the company is still struggling to ramp up production of electric vehicles, according to Reuters. GM CFO Paul Jacobson said at a J.P. Morgan investor conference on August 9 that the automaker's output of EVs, from the Cadillac Lyriq to the Brightdrop Zevo 600 van, had been affected by an issue with assembling battery modules.
The problem was first noted last week by CEO Mary Barra on the second-quarter earnings call. GM actually had to close one of its plants – CAMI Assembly in Ontario, Canada – for two weeks in July because of a reported shortage of batteries.
Gallery: Cadillac Lyriq Production
Jacobson said GM had manufactured more than 1,000 Lyriq SUVs in July, which is still well below the automaker's initial expectations. The company had a production target of 25,000 units for the Lyriq last year, but the Spring Hill, Tennessee plant failed to achieve that target, building only 8,195 units.
Things didn't improve this year, quite the contrary. GM delivered fewer than 2,400 Lyriq SUVs in the first six months of 2023 because of battery and other supply issues. Things aren't looking better for the GMC Hummer EV Pickup and SUV either as the carmaker only delivered 49 units in the first half of 2023.
GM resumed production of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 van on July 31 at its plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, and said it started an expansion to the facility that will enable on-site assembly of Ultium batteries by the second quarter of 2024.
The battery cells will be sourced from GM's Ultium Cells plants, assembled into battery packs at CAMI, and either used in BrightDrop vans or shipped to other EV plants.
GM has three Ultium Cell factories in the US together with joint venture partner LG Energy Solution, but only the one in Lordstown, Ohio is producing cells at the moment. The other two battery cell plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lansing, Michigan, are expected to go online next year.