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GM’s $27B plan: 450-mile range, affordable models among 30 EVs by 2025
Bengt Halvorson
BENGT HALVORSON NOVEMBER 19, 2020

With ranges up to 450 miles and the potential for vehicles costing less than $35,000 in the electric vehicle mix by the middle of the decade, GM’s numbers surrounding its widely broadcast all-electric future have suddenly become better in several respects.

Ahead of a presentation to be delivered with CEO Mary Barra Thursday at Barclays Global Automotive Conference, Doug Parks, GM's executive VP for product development, purchasing, and the supply chain, explained why the company is upping its intended 2020-2025 investment in all aspects of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles to $27 billion, from $20 billion announced last March.


General Motors' BEV3 platform and Ultium batteries
General Motors' BEV3 platform and Ultium batteries

According to Parks, the company has pulled a number of EV programs ahead versus even earlier in the year—like the Cadillac Lyriq, as well as some models not yet shown—and it’s made continued investments in further development of its battery chemistry.

“Building your own cell is priceless,” he said, underscoring that without its own battery development and the joint venture with LG Chem, called Ultium Cells LLC, it wouldn’t be able to plan profitable, more affordable vehicles in the near future.

Possible electric Chevrolet Camaro in GM Ultium teaser video
Possible electric Chevrolet Camaro in GM Ultium teaser video

A company release accompanying the stepped-up plan stated that it now plans “EVs at all price points for work, adventure, performance, and family use.”
That includes models priced right in the heart of the market, in the $35,000 range, and perhaps below, Parks hinted, responding to questions about how low that means. “We'll certainly be in the high-volume segments,” he said. “And then as that cost comes down we’ll continue to drive that even farther.”

GM Ultium battery
GM Ultium battery

Parks again emphasized that a single-cell strategy—and realizing economies of scale with it—makes that possible. GM can configure the same large-format pouch cells used in all of its future Ultium-powered electric vehicles horizontally or vertically into modules, with single- or double-layer packs and the potential—as in the Hummer EV—for 800-volt charging. GM is now anticipating to get to cost parity with internal combustion vehicles soon after the launch of the Ultium vehicles, which is set to start next fall with the release of the Hummer EV. Ultium packs, by the kilowatt-hour, will cost 60% less than today’s packs, with twice the energy density, by the middle of the decade. A 40% drop in cost will be realized right off the starting line, according to Parks, with the launch of the Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.

Because of incremental propulsion developments, GM can now claim a range of 450 miles for that top battery of more than 200 kwh, although not necessarily in the bulky Hummer EV.

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV
Counting on those economies of scale for batteries, GM now says that it plans to launch 30 different new global EV models, with 20 of those available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, and Buick will be represented in the product rollouts.

That consists of three other GMC variants, including another EV pickup; four Chevrolet EVs, including a pickup (above, and styled somewhat like the Avalanche, as we've noted before) and compact crossover; and four new Cadillacs. A slide notes an especially shortened timeline for a second GMC electric pickup and a Chevrolet compact crossover.

GM EVs pulled ahead - November 2020
GM EVs pulled ahead - November 2020

GM is already running durability testing on its “nex-gen Ultium” cells that would be phased in around the middle of the decade in a wide range of vehicles already in production. The cells will help GM meet affordability targets with fewer cells needed for the range people expect.

Parks pointed particularly to an affordably priced C-segment crossover, somewhat like the Chevrolet Equinox, but with a different mission. "As we get volume on that C segment SUV, and we get volume on ourselves, and we get the new chemistry, by mid decade that continues to create our ability to offer vehicles at lower and lower prices.”

GM still plans on a million EVs by mid-decade. “There will be additional battery volume cell volume required, so we’re already planning for that,” Parks said, confirming that will eventually require expanded capacity at the Ohio battery plant.
 

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in another announcement GM indicated that they will produce 1 Million EVs a year by 2025. WOW, Tesla will hit that mark in 2021. The math on their battery cost savings, indicates that their Ultium batteries will lower cost to a projected $84 per KWH, Tesla projects $56 per KWH by then. Everyone has access to the latest chemistry, but Musk reiterated that pouch style batteries are more expensive and time consuming to produce than cylindrical cells. Also, the cylindrical cells allow them to be used as part of a honeycomb central structure of the car, making it stronger, saving space, and allowing double use of the weight of steel in the casings.
 

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in another announcement GM indicated that they will produce 1 Million EVs a year by 2025. WOW, Tesla will hit that mark in 2021. The math on their battery cost savings, indicates that their Ultium batteries will lower cost to a projected $84 per KWH, Tesla projects $56 per KWH by then. Everyone has access to the latest chemistry, but Musk reiterated that pouch style batteries are more expensive and time consuming to produce than cylindrical cells. Also, the cylindrical cells allow them to be used as part of a honeycomb central structure of the car, making it stronger, saving space, and allowing double use of the weight of steel in the casings.
You mentioned the benefits of the Tesla design. The benefit of the GM design is the battery is serviceable, with individual sections that can be replaced or upgraded.

By 2025, all the designs and chemistries we are currently discussing will most likely be obsolete. Everyone is predicting Solid-state batteries will be here. With the amount of resources being thrown into research by the entire industry, it is only a matter of time.

I’m glad the largest US automobile manufacturer is finally stepping up. This is a good thing. Tesla’s 1m vehicles predicted built next year is but a fraction (0.07% of 1.4b) of the electric vehicles needed to replace ICE cars on the road in the world. We need ALL the manufacturers on board.

At present, I personally don’t care the method a company transitions to electrification, as long as they transition.
 

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Several issues: The technology may improve in the future, but it is far more important that the cost of vehicles be lower in 2021, not 2025 or later. Tesla's design being implemented now, with their current batteries and technology implemented in the next 2 years, and the structural design. are for cost saving now and near future. Current batteries have been subjected to extensive testing that shows that the million mile battery is already here. Modular replacement weight and space design overhead is unnecessary. The new tech significantly improves on the life of current batteries. Why dream about what will be available after 2025 when buying a car today? As to battery technology, there are two separate issues. First, new battery technologies, including solid state in Tesla's Maxwell facility, are already being made in numerous laboratories all over the world. It's going from lab to scalable production that's the rub. Tesla has determined that solid state is not scalable in the near future. Tesla's choice of li-ion batteries in 3 different chemistries, with their new 4680 tabless format, and high speed production methods, is designed to meet the expected terawatt hours of battery production required to keep up with demand AND keep costs low. With their new technology, Tesla will produce terawatt hours of batteries in factories with smaller footprints than their current Gigawatt Nevada factory.

Elon Musk has repeatedly stated that he welcomes all newcomers not as competition but as allies in the conversion to zero emission transportation. He has put his money where his mouth is by opening almost all of his patents to any other manufacturer without royalties. It's not just 1 million cars next year, it's doubling capacity every year thereafter. I've said before that 2021 is a watershed year where BEVs in production or soon to be are better cars than their ICE competition. It's sad that, with the exception of VW, that other companies are ramping up production so slowly. It's probably from fear that their ICE cars and manufacturing facilities will become irrelevant too soon.
 

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Several issues: The technology may improve in the future, but it is far more important that the cost of vehicles be lower in 2021, not 2025 or later. Tesla's design being implemented now, with their current batteries and technology implemented in the next 2 years, and the structural design. are for cost saving now and near future. Current batteries have been subjected to extensive testing that shows that the million mile battery is already here. Modular replacement weight and space design overhead is unnecessary. The new tech significantly improves on the life of current batteries. Why dream about what will be available after 2025 when buying a car today? As to battery technology, there are two separate issues. First, new battery technologies, including solid state in Tesla's Maxwell facility, are already being made in numerous laboratories all over the world. It's going from lab to scalable production that's the rub. Tesla has determined that solid state is not scalable in the near future. Tesla's choice of li-ion batteries in 3 different chemistries, with their new 4680 tabless format, and high speed production methods, is designed to meet the expected terawatt hours of battery production required to keep up with demand AND keep costs low. With their new technology, Tesla will produce terawatt hours of batteries in factories with smaller footprints than their current Gigawatt Nevada factory.

Elon Musk has repeatedly stated that he welcomes all newcomers not as competition but as allies in the conversion to zero emission transportation. He has put his money where his mouth is by opening almost all of his patents to any other manufacturer without royalties. It's not just 1 million cars next year, it's doubling capacity every year thereafter. I've said before that 2021 is a watershed year where BEVs in production or soon to be are better cars than their ICE competition. It's sad that, with the exception of VW, that other companies are ramping up production so slowly. It's probably from fear that their ICE cars and manufacturing facilities will become irrelevant too soon.
Your wording indicates you may think I took a shot at Tesla in my last post, I assure you thats not the case. The entire post was about how Tesla cannot do it alone, All manufacturers need to be in the game to truly make a difference. 1.4 billion cars is a lot to replace.

I am also not arguing which technology is better. There are pros and cons to each. What I am saying is: Let each company pursue its own paths instead of just copying. it will lead to more innovation.

I am going to take a shot at Mr. Musk. If Elon truly felt he views others “not as competition but as allies in the conversion to zero emission transportation”, then he should open up the Tesla Supercharger network to all non-Tesla vehicles. Not free, of course. Charge the customer for the electricity. He could still give a discount to Tesla owners. I doubt he will, until the network no longer gives him a competitive advantage. See? Despite what he says, he does view them as competition.

I’m glad GM is waking up, and trying to make up for lost time. I hope others follow quickly. The earth will shake us off like fleas if we keep abusing it.
 

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It's sad that, with the exception of VW, that other companies are ramping up production so slowly. It's probably from fear that their ICE cars and manufacturing facilities will become irrelevant too soon.
ICE vehicles, at least in the form of Hybrid's are not in danger of becoming irrelevant any time soon. As I posted on another thread a total switch in the USA to BEV will require up to about a 75% increase in our electrical generation capacity. At present, travel by BEV in the upper Midwest states is not practical due to lack of infrastructure. Many drivers do not seem to have the planning skills it takes to plan a BEV trip or the patience to deal with longer refueling times. It will take a few decades for that to change. The important thing is that the change starts and continues to happen. Hopefully market forces will determine how fast that happens while people like these forum members are leading the way.
 

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Your wording indicates you may think I took a shot at Tesla in my last post, I assure you thats not the case. The entire post was about how Tesla cannot do it alone, All manufacturers need to be in the game to truly make a difference. 1.4 billion cars is a lot to replace...

I am also not arguing which technology is better. There are pros and cons to each. What I am saying is: Let each company pursue its own paths instead of just copying. it will lead to more innovation.

...I am going to take a shot at Mr. Musk. If Elon truly felt he views others “not as competition but as allies in the conversion to zero emission transportation”, then he should open up the Tesla Supercharger network to all non-Tesla vehicles. Not free, of course. Charge the customer for the electricity. He could still give a discount to Tesla owners. I doubt he will, until the network no longer gives him a competitive advantage. See? Despite what he says, he does view them as competition...
I didn't miss your previous point, just expanding the record and offering a different view of GM's battery path. I think we all want the same thing.

As to Superchargers, I think Tesla customers would feel somewhat put out to find the spaces occupied. Customers paid for those Superchargers with the money they paid Tesla. I'm sure Tesla wouldn't mind collecting the additional fees. VW is paying for the Electrify America charging network as part of their diesel settlement to be open to anyone. Interestingly, early on, other manufacturers refused to work with Tesla to standardize the plug/interface.

Oh, and not just what he says, he did open his patents.
 

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ICE vehicles, at least in the form of Hybrid's are not in danger of becoming irrelevant any time soon. As I posted on another thread a total switch in the USA to BEV will require up to about a 75% increase in our electrical generation capacity. At present, travel by BEV in the upper Midwest states is not practical due to lack of infrastructure. Many drivers do not seem to have the planning skills it takes to plan a BEV trip or the patience to deal with longer refueling times. It will take a few decades for that to change. The important thing is that the change starts and continues to happen. Hopefully market forces will determine how fast that happens while people like these forum members are leading the way.
Most new BEV software has navigation route planning with charging stops, if not there is aftermarket software that will. Fast charging has dramatically reduced times. It would be nice if the rest of the industry included the entertainment options that Tesla provides for those "waits". Most charging is done at home, but the charging networks are growing fast. The grid is the reason Tesla is in the energy business along with cars, batteries, chargers, and software. They are not alone in seeing the commercial value in solar and wind energy with mega batteries.

I've said before that I believe the latest generation of cars, with those coming in 2021, will change the market. BEVs will sell as fast as they are made. Production is the problem.
 

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That is the fuel economy standard issue, and not Gov. Newsom's executive order prohibiting sale of new ICE cars after 2030.
 

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That is the fuel economy standard issue, and not Gov. Newsom's executive order prohibiting sale of new ICE cars after 2030.
Yes, California rejected the Federal easing of the EPA emissions targets. And the Federal government was pursuing to override. I hope the others supporting the relaxing of emissions rules also withdraw.

PS - the California ICE ban is 2035, not 2030. 2030 is the UK.
 
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