GM increases spending by $ 35 billion on electric vehicles, battery factories, autonomous driving and fuel cells
General Motors announced on Wednesday that it would increase spending on autonomous and electric vehicles by an additional 75% until 2025. This is an increase of an additional $ 35 billion on top of the investment plans announced by GM before the pandemic, or roughly 10% of GM’s total revenue in each of the next four years.
(In a separate announcement Thursday, GM said it would partner with Liebherr-Aerospace to develop prototype fuel cell systems for aircraft. These would replace an aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). . Fuel cells to power the aircraft are a future possibility.)
The spending increase will cover, among other things, the addition of two more battery factories in the United States, in addition to the two previously announced by the automaker. On their own, they would double the number of lithium-ion manufacturing facilities currently operating in the United States.
“We are aggressively investing in a comprehensive and highly integrated plan to ensure GM leads all aspects of the transformation towards a more sustainable future,” GM President and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. before Wednesday’s announcement.
GM has rapidly ramped up its investments in electric vehicles and utility vehicles over the past year, with the figure starting at $ 20 billion in March 2020. It rose to $ 27 billion last November. The investments cover a range of new technologies, including not only battery-powered cars, but also autonomous vehicles developed by its subsidiary Cruise LLC and its Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell system.
GM: We will sell 1 million electric vehicles by 2025
The company now plans to sell more than one million all-electric vehicles by 2025, Barra said. So far, it has only launched two: the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV (main photo). But he revealed a number of others, including the Chevrolet Hummer EV pickup and Hummer SUV, the Cadillac Lyriq, and an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup. It plans to have at least 30 battery-electric vehicles in global showrooms by 2030.
âWe are increasing our investment to scale faster as we see momentum in electrification in the United States, as well as customer demand for our product portfolio,â said Barra.
To meet this anticipated demand, GM is also increasing production of the new Ultium batteries it has developed as part of a joint venture with South Korean LG Chem. The first of these factories will open later this year in Lordstown, Ohio, and a second is being prepared in Spring Hill, Tennessee. GM has said it will add two more Ultium plants, but has not yet revealed where they will be located.
This gives a significant boost to the global US production of lithium-ion batteries. Currently, there are 93 major factories dedicated to the production of this technology in China, compared to only four in the United States, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Increasing capacity is one of the goals of the infrastructure plan proposed by President Joe Biden.
The enhanced investment program follows a GM vision set out four years ago in which it envisioned what Barra called “a world with zero accidents, zero emissions and zero congestion.”
Approval for self-driving car testing in California
The increased spending targets this in several ways. The company today announced its intention to accelerate Cruise’s testing of its autonomous vehicle technology. It was approved this month to begin using fully autonomous vehicles to transport passengers to California. And it is launching an AV carpooling service in Dubai. The technology developed by Cruise will also be used in a pilot program launched by Honda in Japan.
Honda has entered into several projects with GM covering, among other things, autonomous vehicles and fuel cell technology.
Fuel cell plans include locomotives and stationary power supplies
They are preparing to launch a third generation version of the Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell system and are looking for many new applications. Honda focused on automotive applications, including the marketing of a hydrogen Clarity sedan. GM has focused on other opportunities, including stationary power supplies.
On Wednesday, the Detroit automaker announced a non-binding agreement with Wabtec, a maker of railroad locomotives. The Pittsburgh-based company recently began testing a battery-powered model and plans to move forward with the development of battery and fuel cell locomotives using GM’s Ultium batteries and Hydrotec fuel cell systems.
GM is not the only automaker to step up its investments in EV and AV technologies. Ford recently announced its own upgrade program, as have a number of other key competitors including Volkswagen and Toyota.
GM CFO Paul Jacobson said today on a call with reporters that GM remains committed to being fully electric by 2035, that there will be “additional programs” (car models) in GM’s EV / AV plans and that GM was able to secure a certain Q3 (July to September) chip deliveries were postponed to the current quarter in order to reduce production cuts. Jacobson said more than half of all GM capital spending is now on electric and autonomous vehicles.