GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra elaborated on the automaker’s previously announced electric car plans and battery cost goals at a conference today.
Last month, GM announced an expansion of its electric car plans to add 2 new electric vehicles based on the Bolt EV platform within the next 18 months and then 18 more electric vehicles on new platforms within the next 5 years.
At the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York today (via Reuters), Barra confirmed that those first two vehicles will be two new crossovers. One of which will be sold under its Buick brand, according to someone at the event.
As for the other 18 electric vehicles to follow, they will be based on new EV platforms starting in 2019 and then another one enabled by lower battery cell costs in 2021, according to Barra.
The company already disclosed that they pay $145 per kWh for battery cells and now they aim to bring that down to less than $100 per kWh.
Someone present at the event said that the new generation vehicles will cover several segments and markets, including several more crossovers, sedan, a couple of minivans, a sports car, and electric SUVs, according to the CEO’s presentation.
GM says that they didn’t confirm any specific vehicle that will be launched on the new platform.
“We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable,”
It’s the first time they are committing to volume production with a goal of “1 million units globally by 2026.”
This presentation from Bara gave a lot of colors to GM’s previously announced plans.
The segments covered are about what we expected. First a few crossovers, which can mean pretty much anything these days since GM considers the Bolt EV a crossover.
Also as expected, SUVs get the biggest share with an aim on the US market, which is in love with SUVs and pickup trucks.
Now we are a little less enthusiastic about the first two crossovers since Barra says that it will share “basic components” with the Bolt EV, which has so far been a fairly low volume vehicle dependent on LG for all its electric powertrain components.
Hopefully for EV enthusiasts, it means that they will ramp up production to support the new EV programs, but based on the guidelines set by Barra, I wouldn’t expect significant volumes until around 2020.
As for the battery costs, it sounds like they are still referring to the battery cell costs (and not the whole battery pack cost), which they are currently purchasing from LG Chem for $145 per kWh.
If they aim to bring the cost down to $100 per kWh by 2021, it’s fairly in line with the incremental industry progress and no breakthrough should be needed.
Overall, it sounds like good news for EV enthusiasts, but in term of volumes, they seem less ambitious than competitors like Volkswagen, Nissan. Daimler, and Tesla.