DETROIT – General Motors, trying to refashion itself as a futuristic company with technology to compete against Tesla, rolled out plans this week for 13 new electric vehicles during the next five years.
The company touted an exclusive new battery technology that could propel some of the vehicles as far as 400 miles on a single charge as it tries to capture electric vehicle enthusiasm that has brought wild growth to rival Tesla’s share price.
At a Wednesday event for investors, dealers and analysts at its sprawling technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan, GM executives said the new vehicles would be built using modular chassis and drive systems for manufacturing simplicity.
GM will be able to build trucks, cars, SUVs and even an autonomous shuttle based on the new systems, the company said. The global vehicles will include affordable transportation, work trucks, luxury SUVs and performance vehicles.
“What we have done is build a multibrand, multisegment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity,” CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
Some of the new vehicles will be able to go from zero to 60 mph in as little as three seconds – performance that rivals electric vehicle sales leader Tesla Inc.
New all-electric models will come from the Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick brands starting this year, beginning with the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV to be unveiled in April.
A new Chevrolet Bolt small SUV comes in the summer of 2021. There’s also the GMC Hummer EV pickup coming to dealers in the fall of 2021.
GM also has plans for three more Cadillac SUVs, a midsize Chevrolet SUV, two Buick SUVs, a GMC Hummer SUV, a Chevrolet full-size pickup with 400 miles of range, a luxury Cadillac car and the Cruise Origin, an autonomous electric shuttle.
With fewer parts than petroleum-powered vehicles, electric vehicles will be much cheaper and simpler to build, reducing manufacturing costs, GM said. The company plans 19 different battery and electric motor and transmission combinations, compared with 550 internal combustion powertrain combinations available today.
The company said a joint venture with Korean battery maker LG Chem will use a low-cobalt chemistry to drive down battery costs to below $100 per kilowatt hour.
Executives told the group the next generation of GM’s electric vehicles will be profitable.
“GM’s technology can be scaled to meet customer demand much higher than the more than 1 million global sales the company expects by mid-decade,” the statement said.
Electric vehicle sales will have to grow substantially both worldwide and in the U.S. for GM to meet its targets. Last year, manufacturers sold just more than 236,000 fully electric vehicles in the U.S., about 1.4% of total new vehicle sales, according to Autodata Corp.
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