General Motors Boosts Electric Vehicle Plans – Ultium, Ultra Cruise and More

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In the old days, if you wanted news about the electric vehicle revolution, you would turn to Elon Musk and Tesla. While some other manufacturers dipped their toes in the waters of electric cars, Tesla was the one making waves.

Tesla is doing great with two new factories coming online soon and showing no signs of slowing down, but these other companies are no longer resting on their laurels. They have awakened from their self-righteous reverie and are slowly but surely dragging themselves into a future where electrified transportation will be the norm.

General Motors is the poster child of the idea that large multinational corporations are timber giants that stumble on their own feet when they try to change direction. It has shown inspirational glimpses in the past – the EV1 and the Chevy Volt being two examples – but always comes down to doing what it does best, which is building cars and trucks. high volume for the masses.

Now, if the recent announcements from The General are to be believed, it is fully integrated into the EV revolution. Last week at an Investor Day event, he announced he would double his revenues by 2030, take the crown off Tesla’s electric vehicle sales, make its combustion engines more efficient with emissions lower, generate new revenue through insurance and OnStar subscriptions, introduce its Ultra Autonomous Cruising System, offer an electric SUV under $ 30,000, present a new electric SUV at a low price and market an all-electric version Twin Silverado / Sierra pickups. Phew! It’s a lot of things to do. Let’s unpack GM’s goals to get into the details.

The all-electric Silverado

In a Press release This week, General Motors announced that it will showcase its all-new Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck at CES 2022 in January. The truck will be built on GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform, which uses Ultium batteries and Ultium electric motors. (GM’s marketing department is in love with the new word they’ve created!) The Silverado EV will feature a full glass roof in a full-size pickup for the first time. The 4-wheel steering system that will be a feature of the next electric Hummer will also be available.

For fleet buyers, there won’t be any fancy glass room or crab-walking suspensions, just hard-working trucks with up to 400 miles of range. However, there is no mention of a huge frunk or home vehicle capability like the Ford F-150 Lightning. A glass roof may not be enough to make up for the lack of these features, if in fact they are absent on the Silverado. (An electric GMC Sierra will follow shortly after the Silverado’s launch.) However, it’s unlikely that all Silverado electric vehicles will offer that much range. Expect a number of battery size options.

Ultra Cruise

GM says its new Ultra Cruise will be quite the equal of Tesla’s (and often delayed) fully autonomous driving system. With more sensors than its Super Cruise system, including cameras, radars and lidar, it develops “accurate three-dimensional, 360-degree statistical representations of the environment surrounding vehicles with redundancies in critical areas.” GM says it will offer drivers door-to-door autonomous driving 95% of the time.

“The Ultra Cruise is not just a game changer in terms of what it enables – a hands-free, door-to-door driving experience – but also technological,” said GM executive vice president Doug. Parks. “It was entirely developed in-house. The combination of Ultra Cruise for premium offerings and Super Cruise for lower cost products will allow us to offer driver assistance technology in all price points and segments. Ultra Cruise will be one of those subscription offers that GM relies on to make more money.

Autoblog Says: “Like Tesla, GM’s offering will support over-the-air software updates allowing both maintenance and expansion as issues are identified or upgrade modules become available. Look for Ultra Cruise to debut next year on a so far unnamed 2023 Cadillac model. “

There is more!

As part of the Investor Day presentation, GM Chairman Mark Reuss said a Chevrolet SUV the size of the current Equinox that starts at around $ 30,000 is expected to bring significant new sales to the company. ‘business. The Equinox is GM’s second best-selling vehicle. He added that the company was working on an electric Chevrolet Blazer and a smaller vehicle at a lower price, but did not provide any details. Reuss claimed that electric vehicles will bring new buyers to showrooms.

He added that the company will create a factory dedicated to building electric trucks by converting an existing facility and plans to have more than half of its North American and Chinese factories capable of making electric vehicles by 2030. ( Compare that with Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess calling for demolishing existing factories to create new, more efficient production facilities.) GM also said this week that it will invest $ 750 million to improve charging networks for electric vehicles over the next 4 years.

The devil and the details

The company also announced last week that it is setting up a Battery Innovation Center where it hopes to find ways to improve battery performance and reduce battery costs. It is building two battery factories – one in Michigan and one in Tennessee – with its partner LG Energy Solution to manufacture the battery cells it will need to power its new all-electric offerings.

“If wishes were horses, we would all be kings,” my old Irish grandmother liked to say. GM has made a ton of promises lately, but talking is cheap. Actions are what matters. Readers should know that GM relies on the sales of good old cars and trucks with good old internal combustion engines to pay for all of this.

Longtime General Motors watchers can’t help but think that if market conditions changed, GM would abandon its EV intentions faster than a 3-day fish and continue doing what it always has. until the waters of Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie combine to overwhelm Detroit.

If investors were impressed with what they heard on Investor Day, they had a funny way of showing it. GM stock prices actually declined slightly after the presentation before recovering a little later in the week.

GM is clearly in the EV race, but still appears to be about one lap away from the leaders. Will he achieve his noble goals? Will it even still be in operation at the end of this decade? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.

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