Detroit’s General Motors Co. announced it plans to offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade, and 40 percent of the company’s U.S. entries will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025.
The company also announced an increase in GM’s financial commitment to electric and autonomous vehicles to $27 billion through 2025, up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of the company, made the announcement.
“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” she says. “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.”
The company also has announced that Factory ZERO, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center and GM’s all-electric vehicle assembly plant, is the first automotive plant in the U.S. to install dedicated 5G fixed mobile network technology.
GM’s plan to offer the all-electric models will launch the EVs around the world, and more than two-thirds will be available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, and Buick will all be represented, and the EVs will be offered at all price points.
The company’s Ultium-based electric vehicles will be capable of driving ranges up to 450 miles on a full charge. This is up from 400 miles. The Ultium platform provides the building blocks for everything from mass market vehicles to high-performance vehicles.
GM’s second-generation Ultium chemistry is projected to deliver twice the energy density at less than half the cost of today’s chemistry. GM is prototype testing this next-generation technology, which is expected to be available mid-decade. Ultium technology, supported by hundreds of granted patents and pending patent applications, is expected to bring EVs closer to price parity with gas-powered vehicles.
The company continues to explore third-party licensing for its Ultium EV architecture, batteries, and propulsion systems, along with its Hydrotec fuel cell technology developed with Honda.
More than half of GM’s capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs.
Ultium’s battery packs cost nearly 40 percent less than those in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Despite the pandemic, GM’s work on electric vehicles accelerated during 2020.
Now, eight months after the technology was first revealed, GM is projecting that second-generation Ultium packs, expected mid-decade, will cost 60 percent less than the batteries in use today with twice the energy density expected.
These cells will get closer to cost parity with gas-powered engines due to:
- Cell design that enables higher energy density and uses less non-active material, making more room for the part of the battery that produces energy.
- Manufacturing efficiencies through Ultium Cell’s joint venture with LG Chem.
- Better integration between vehicles and their battery packs, enabling fewer cells and modules.
- Less expensive cathodes, reduced active material, novel electrolytes, and the first use of lithium metal anodes in a GM battery.
The Ultium platform is flexible enough to accept new chemistry and cell types without redesigns to its architecture. The batteries will be easy to service without having to replace the whole pack.
“GM’s EV development times are speeding up, and costs are going down rapidly, so we expect our Ultium EV programs to be profitable from the first generation on,” says Doug Parks, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing, and supply chain. “It’s not just the cost and performance of our innovative EV components that will give us a competitive advantage in a fast-changing industry, but how we integrate them with other advanced systems like Super Cruise, our vehicle intelligence platform electrical architecture, and other technologies pioneered in our traditional portfolio.”
GM is doing most of the development work on these cells at its Chemical and Materials Systems lab at the Global Technical Center in Warren. Next year, GM plans to break ground on an all-new Battery Innovation Lab and Manufacturing Technology Center to develop the Ultium battery chemistry.
The qualities of the Ultium system and advances in battery technology have enabled GM to bring electric vehicles to market faster than originally planned. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV’s development time of 26 months, down from about 50, is now the benchmark.
The development schedules for 12 vehicle programs have been moved up, including the Hummer, three other GMC Ultium variants, including an EV pickup, four Chevrolet EVs, including a pickup and compact crossover, and four Cadillacs. In addition, Buick’s EV lineup will include two Ultium-based EVs.
After the Hummer, the next EV to launch will be the Lyriq, Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle, which will arrive in the first quarter of 2022, nine months ahead of schedule.
“Ultium is already changing the way customers – and investors – view our company,” Barra says. “We are resolved as a management team to move even faster to expedite the transition to EVs. The all-electric future we are building integrates all the things we do better than anybody else – so we can put everyone in an EV, generate profitable growth, and create shareholder value.”