GM Electric Vehicles

In response to the distrubtion of the autosector by Tesla, GM unveiled 10 EVs on the 4th of March 2020 in Warren, Michigan. The GM EV strategy, which to was more about be compliant, is underpined by it’s partnership with LG Chem to produce enough batteries for 1 million EVs per year by 2025. To achieve its bold new plan GM will invest $20 billion by 2025 and release 20 new EVs by 2023. GM hopes on the extension of the EV tax credit to support its EV strategy.

The GM / LG Chem partnership is establishing a 30 gigawatt hour battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The $2.4 billion plant will produce 250 million large pouch format battery cells which is named Ulthium cells. The Ulthium cells is a new NCMA chemistry which uses 70% less cobalt by employing a new aluminium cathode. The Ulthium battery system is modular and can be configured in battery packs from 50kWh to 200kWh which can deliver ranges up to 400 miles. The Ulthium pouches can be stacked  in various ways, allowing for more battery pack shapes to meet various vehicle needs.

The battery system, which form part of GMs BEV3 EV platform, can either be 400 volt or 800 volt supporting 200kWh or 360kWh charging infrastructure respectively. Interestingly, GM announced that it only needs 19 combinations of battery and motor configurations as apposed to 550 engine and transmission configurations for it’s ICE fleet. The BEV3 drivetrain sports charging of 100 miles in 10 minutes and 0-60mph in 3 seconds.

The new NCMA battery chemistry is expected to drive cost of batteries below the $100 per kWh price tag, which is seen as the level needed for EVs to compete equally with combustion vehicles.

In terms of it’s EV line-up, GM unveiled cars across it’s Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick marque brand’s. The EV onslaught commences with the release of the new refreshed Bolt in 2020, followed by the 3 inch longer Bolt EUV and GMC Hummer in 2021, and the Cadillac Lyriq in 2022. The Lyriq’s launch date is set for 8 April 2020 and that of the Hummer on 20 May 2020. 

In terms of autonomous driving, GM will equip 22 cars by 2023 with its Super Cruise semi-autonomous Level 2 driving technology, starting with the Bolt EUV as the first EV equipped with it.

GM is breaking from Tesla’s strategy of creating its own charging infrastructure, by rather going the partner route. GM partnered with Chargepoint and EVgo on its myChevrolet app. Qmerit will cover homecharing solutions and installations for GM


The line-up unveiled by GM on March 4 2020:

Cadillac - The Lyriq crossover, Celestiq hand-built flagship sedan, Cadillac SUV

Chevrolet - Lyriq sized crossover, 2020 Bolt and Bolt EUV

GMC - the Hummer and a short wheelbase version

Buick - one small and one mid-sized crossover

GM Electric Car Strategy in the news

2019 Week 2 Cadillac to spearhead GM's EV strategy

Tesla’s dominance in 2018 is forcing traditional automakers to continuously adapt and rethink their strategy to keep up with the “surprising” shift by consumers to cleaner and more advanced products offered by the auto start-up. I am using the term start-up lightly as it now relates more to the relatively young age of the company compared to its competitors rather than its operations. Reuters this week indicated that GM is redirecting a large portion of its engineering talent to focus on electric vehicle technology to back GM CEO Mary Barra’s bold promise to investors that the US automaker will turn a profit selling EVs by 2021.

According to the Reuters report, GM is working very hard to follow Tesla in reducing the cobalt content of its EMC1.0 battery system by increasing the use of nickel in its battery chemistry, thereby reducing the cost of its batteries to below $100/kWh by 2021 from the current $145/kWh. GM and its Chinese strategic partner SAIC is also working to bring down the cost of EV assembly by developing dedicated electric car plants which are less complex than combustion plants. A third focus area is the creation of flexible, modular plug-and-play platform on which battery systems and fuel cells of various sizes can be added. All-in-all 1,700 engineers and other professionals are already exclusively focusing on GM’s electrification strategy.

In a press release by the company following an investor update on Friday the 11th of January GM put Cadillac front and center of its EV strategy making the brand its lead EV brand. Cadillac will develop GM’s first pure electric EV following the Chevrolet Bolt on the groups new flexible BEV3 platform, To date, Cadillac was only able to sell around 4,000 plug-in hybrid versions of the Cadillac ELR and CT6 luxury sedans.

Furthermore, GM announced to investors that it would start to commercialize its self-driving vehicles in dense city environments this year. GM’s Seattle based autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise also signed a partnership with food delivery company DoorDash this week.

In related news, Tesla backed away from purchasing one of the three assembly plants closed in GM’s recent restructuring. According to GM Tesla were not willing to take on GM’s unionized employees at the Ohio plant.

2018 Week 48 GM EV strategy shift

Signs of Tesla’s transformation of the auto sector is emerging in boardrooms all over the globe and with its competitors all rehashing their EV strategies no seemingly every year GM announced this week that it would double its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles. The news came with the announcement that the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac CT6 PHEV will be killed off by March 2019 as the company joins the direction taken by Ford earlier focusing on trucks, crossover and SUVs and not sedans. The restructuring and discontinuation of the Volt which has sold nearly 160,000 units to date will result in the closure of three assembly plants and two drivetrain factories leading to job losses amounting to 15,000 employees. The plants in question are:

  • Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit.
  • Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio.
  • Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland.
  • Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan.

The announcement caused the ire of Donald Trump which promised to make American jobs his priority. Donald Trump’s actions seem to have the opposite effect as the world including America is now spiraling towards a recession and instead of his denialism of the impact of greenhouse gasses on the climate the world is rushing towards greener transport and energy sources. Trump threatened that he would take away GMs EV subsidies if they don’t plan to replace the lost capacity and build another car in the USA prompting the following reaction by GM stating their commitment to the US economy.

GM is committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S., as evidenced by our more than $22 billion investments in U.S. operations since 2009. Yesterday’s announcements support our ability to invest for future growth and position the company for long-term success and maintain and grow American jobs. Many of the U.S. workers impacted by these actions will have the opportunity to shift to other GM plants where we will need more employees to support growth in trucks, crossovers and SUVs. GM’s transformation also includes adding technical and engineering jobs to support the future of mobility, such as new jobs in electrification and autonomous vehicles.

We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

2018 Week 23 GM intensifies EV plans in China

General Motors announced this week that it would intensify its electrification strategy in China. Automotive News China quoted GM’s China head Matt Tsien, who said in Shanghai on Tuesday that the automaker will now develop 20 heavily electrified vehicle models through 2023. The plan to build 10 EVs by 2020 will be bolstered by a further ten models from 2021 to 2023.

In related news, GM and Honda extended their EV partnership to include battery development. The company made the following announcement this week:

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) announced an agreement for new advanced chemistry battery components, including the cell and module, to accelerate both companies’ plans for all-electric vehicles. The next-generation battery will deliver higher energy density, smaller packaging and faster-charging capabilities for both companies’ future products, mainly for the North American market.

2018 Week 14 GM to sell two more EV models in China

GMs Buick brand announced that it would expand the electrification of its models in China by launching a plug-in hybrid and pure electric Buick Velite 6. The BUICK 6 Velite will be presented on the 17th of April and join the plug-in hybrid Buick Velite 5 on the showroom floors. The Buick Velite 6 is based on the Buick Velite Concept introduced in November 2016 at the Guangzhou Auto Show, pictured on the left below. The Velite 5 will also get a Range Extended model. The Velite 5 is based on the Chevrolet Volt platform and pricing starts at ¥265,000. According to GM press release the Velite 6 will adopt an all-new battery electric vehicle propulsion system which in my language reads Chevrolet Bolt.

2018 Week 11 Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt go to production

GM announced that it is moving into the production and commercialization phase of its autonomous version of the Chevrolet Bolt, the Cruise AV. GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, developed the world’s first production-ready vehicle built from the ground up to operate safely on its own with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls. I recently jokingly mentioned to friends that steering wheel manufacturers are going the way of the buggy whip, as evident from the picture of the GM Cruise AV on the cover of this weeks newsletter. GM will invest $100 million in its Orion and Brownstown facilities to bring the Cruise AV to market in 2019. The Orion Township assembly plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV while the Brownstown Battery assembly plant will be expanded to include the production of the Cruise AVs roof modules.

2018 Week 10 Maven Gig goes live in Austin

According to a press release by GM Maven Gig is to deploy a test fleet of 20 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in Austin, Texas. Maven is car sharing service announced by GM in 2016.

The service will work as follows:

  • Maven Gig vehicles are available for flat weekly rates that include the car, unlimited miles, insurance (minus deductibles) and maintenance.
  • Pricing starts at $229 per week plus taxes.
  • Maven will provide charging for Maven Gig drivers for a limited time through the Austin Energy Plug-In EVerywhere and EVgo networks.
  • Drivers can see vehicle availability and pricing via the mobile app.
  • Reservations and pickup date/time can be scheduled through the app.
  • Maven Gig is platform agnostic and members can use the car to drive for rideshare services or for grocery, package and food delivery.

The Chevrolet Bolt is the most popular car in for Maven Gig drivers and has completed 6.5 million all-electric miles since February 2017 and have saved an estimated 250,000 gallons of gas.An estimated 643,800 rideshare passengers have been transported in Maven Gig vehicles, and drivers shouldn’t feel any range anxiety:

  • On average, Maven Gig members in Bolt EVs drive more than half the vehicle range every day.
  • Approximately 9 percent of daily trips exceed the EPA-estimated range of the car.
  • Maven Gig drivers have taken trips from San Francisco to Portland and from San Diego to Los Angeles.

2018 Week 5 GM China Strategy

In a bid to strengthen its sales in China GM announced that the majority of the 20 EVs that the US carmaker intends to produce by 2023 will be available in the worlds largest EV market and that it will include its Super Cruise driver assistance technology.

2017 Week 49 GM Marketplace roll-out

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) this week started with the rollout of what GM calls the first-ever commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services, although I am certain some Chinese companies such as Baidu have already started similar services. Marketplace, allows eligible Chev, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars to order food, find the closest gas station to save on fuel and make dinner reservations on the go.

“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving (according to the AAA). Leveraging connectivity and our unique data capabilities, we have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM. “Marketplace is the first of a suite of new personalization features that we will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months to nearly four million U.S. drivers.”

For a list of the first brands accessible through Marketplace click here. The question now is how will Apple, Amazon, Google and other platforms react to the competition from the auto sector in their domain?

2017 Week 48 The Future is here faster than you think

GM unpacked its autonomous vehicle strategy this week. Reuters reported that GM would deploy autonomous vehicles in US cities from 2019 to compete with Tesla and Waymo who is leading the race in the autonomous vehicle development. GM will commercially deploy self-driving cars as robo-taxis earlier than competitors Ford, VW and others which only see production versions of autonomous vehicles by 2021.

Disruption in mobility caused by ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles had a major impact on Car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis. Avis this week announced the establishment of its Mobility Lab in Kansas, Missouri to test connected vehicles as it tries to remain relevant in the changing market.

2017 Week 46 GM next gen EV platform by 2021

Appart from plans to produce EVs for the Chinese markets some of the major international automakers this week clarified their EV strategy for other parts of the globe.

GM CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News that the US-based company would launch its next-generation EV platform in 2021 and hope to have EV sales of one million vehicles per annum by 2026. According to Mary Barra, the company aims for at least 20 EVs and FCEVs by 2023. The next generation platform will be modular, at least 30% cheaper and have a range of over 300 miles. The improved platform will have the battery cells integrated into the architecture.

2017 Week 46 GM to monetize services

In her presentations at the Barclays 2017, Global Automotive Conference in New York GM CEO Mary Barra gave a glimpse of GMs plans to monetize services embedded in its smart connected vehicles. According to Barra GM will launch a marketplace application in its connected vehicles which will be simpler to use than current smartphones. Like other carmakers, GM is exploring how it can gain value from its 13 million connected cars which create 3 petabytes of data per year.

2017 Week 40 GM ramps up EV plan (finally)

How different is the news we report today than that of a year ago? In 2016 the general topic when reporting on large US automakers EV strategies was them downplaying electric vehicles as a small niche. This week the USA’s two largest automakers (historically, before Tesla unseated them on market cap) announced strategy shifts towards more aggressive EV development.

In a press release Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain said “General Motors believes in an all-electric future. Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

The plan towards an All Electric Path to Zero Emissions recently announced by CEO Mary Barra includes two new pure electric cars in the next 18 months based on learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt, ultimately reaching 20 new all-electric models by 2023. The plan also includes Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles starting with SURUS — the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure — a fuel cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance — all emissions free. The company also announced that it more than doubled its autonomous vehicle test fleet in California.

2017 Week 38 GM sets its China EV Strategy

GM CEO, Mary Bara, provided greater insight into the companies strategy to meet stringent Chinese Regulation during a press briefing in Shanghai. Mrs. Bara along with other CEOs from the industry in the past attempted to influence the Chinese Government to soften its hardline aimed at a drastic shift towards electrification. The GM CEO stated that the company will release ten new EVs by 2020 and that it will open a battery plant with its domestic partner, SAIC, this year. She maintained GM’s stance though that Government support is required to help the consumer shift towards EVs.

2017 Week 37 GM unveils production ready autonomous vehicles

General Motors and its subsidiary, Cruise Automation, unveiled a production-ready self-driving car based on the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle. Up to now, autonomous cars are all hand build, a process that can only produce a couple of hundred cars a year, but presenting a self-driving car that is based on a mass-market platform is a game changer for GM.

2017 Week 32 GM is selling a $5,000 EV in China

Baojun s a mass-market car brand from General Motors SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture in China. This week they have reviled their brand new fully electric commuter vehicle, the E100.  

The E100, which is Baojun’s first electric car, is powered by a single 39-horsepower electric motor and has a top speed of 62 miles an hour. The E100 can drive about 96 miles on a fully charged battery. More than 5,000 people have already registered to buy the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 vehicles will be made available this week, and buyers will be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis. The Baojun E100 will sell for around $5,000 after incentives.

2017 Week 30 GM SAIC JV to deliver first EV

In China, the SAIC / GM / Wuling joint venture, Baojun launched its first electric vehicle, the Smart look-alike Baojun E100 city car. GAC also released its much anticipated GAC GE3 SUV BEV. Both vehicles will go on sale in August. The Baojun will sell for CNY35,800 ($5,300) and the GAC GE3 starting at CNY 150,000 ($22,200).

2017 Week 24 GM produces Autonomous Bolt EV

GM announced this week that it completed the equipment of 130 Chevrolet Bolt EVs with its next generation of self-driving technology. The vehicles will be added to its fleet of 50 current generation Bolt EVs testing the autonomous technology on public roads in San Francisco Scottsdale and Detroit. The company reported that the new generation technology features GM’s latest array of equipment, including LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to accelerate development of a safe and reliable fully autonomous vehicle.

In related news the California DMV permitted self-driving truck start-up, TuSimple, to test its artificial intelligence (AI)-based Level 4 autonomous driving system on 420-miles of public roads from San Diego to Tucson in Arizona.

2017 Week 13 GM acquires OSVehicle

GM acquired its second Y Incubator company, the Italian based OSVehicle, for $1.1 billion in a bid to develop a self-driving “Vehicle-as-a -Service” (VaaS).

OSVehicle provides an open-source platform to hobbyists and other start-ups. Customers can have a full EV platform, the Tabby EVO, shipped between $12,500 and $19,500. OSVehicle claim start-ups can save $2 million and 3-years in Research and Development by going the open-source route. The open-source platform enables for larger disruption in mobility options using electric vehicles. Imagine adding George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.aiat a price of $1,000, and you can build your own “ai-chauffeur” driven zero emission vehicle.

GM aims to use OSVehicle to develop its EDIT modular self-driving car based on the Chevy Bolt M1 platform. The decision was influenced by the ability of modular platforms to extend the lifespan of heavy use vehicles, such as ride sharing and hailing applications.OSVehicle‘s Yuki and Tin Hang Liu claim that through the use of modular architecture, car fleets can last ten times longer by enabling seamless hardware upgrades of self-driving and connected car technologies.

2017 Week 9 USA February EV sales unpacked, GM stays ahead, Bolt slides

February Electric Vehicle sales data released for the USA this week reveals some interesting talking points. Overall, February sales gained a further 13.4% in January 2017 and over 55% on year on year basis. Contributors to the increase came from a nearly doubling in sales of the Tesla Model S and continued demand for the new Toyota Prius Plus. Unfortunately, the Prius in our books hardly counts as an electric vehicle due to its underwhelming continued reliance on its combustion engine.

Disappointingly, sales for the Chevrolet Bolt declined over 18% from January, bringing total sales for the four months to 3,272 units, far short if one takes that at a claimed 30,000 units per annum the Bolt should have sold 10,000 units during the four months. In the carmaker standings, GM retained its lead with 2,776 units over Tesla’s 2,550 units with Ford taking third place with 1,704 units.

2017 Week 2 GM CEO to Co-Chair government committee to oversee self-driving development

The USA Department of Transportation this week announced the formation of an Automation Committee to oversee its self-driving policy, with Tesla, a clear leader in the sector not on it. Self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles are not necessarily mutually inclusive as the technology could be applied to all drivetrains. However, the appointment of GM CEO Mary Barra as Co-Chair of the committee could be a clear indication of which tail is wagging the dog. GM recently opposed the new EPA emission requirements of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Follow the link for the complete list.

2016 Week 45 Los Angeles Auto Show 2016

Although not as electric vehicle focused as the Paris Auto Show earlier the year, the Los Angeles Auto Show to be held this coming week promises to provide further insight in how automakers gear up for their respective electric vehicle strategies. Vehicle Manufacturers to keep an eye out for is Hyundai, Land Rover, GM, Tesla, BMW, Mercedes, and Nissan. Market commentators will also be looking at how some manufacturers utilise the low fuel cost environment to bring more SUV’s and crossovers to the market. The consumer’s appetite for these vehicles in the low fuel environment has long been the Achilles heal for the addition of EV vehicles, adding to an ever increasing glut of sedan vehicles.

2016 Week 44 Charging Corridors

Reuters reported on an announcement by the White House that it will establish 48 EV Charging corridors, comprising 25,000 miles across 35 States with the support of Utilities and vehicle manufacturers. The initiative will allow for charging stations every 50 miles. The press release goes further by identifying specific State programs to support the adoption of electric vehicles, including California’s commitment to have 5% of all public parking to include charging stations. Car manufacturers supporting the initiative includes BMW, Nissan, and GM.


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