General Motors announced Thursday that it was dumping more money into its electrification plans and would also be accelerating its production to release more electric vehicles sooner than expected.
Speaking at a conference hosted by the British bank Barclays, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company would spend $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 — up from the $20 billion it announced before the COVID-19 pandemic. Also by 2025, GM will launch 30 new electric vehicles around the world, more than two-thirds of which will be available in North America. The vehicles will span GM’s entire brand portfolio, including Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet, and will come in a range of prices.
Previously, the company said it would release 20 new EVs by 2023, though most of those were expected to launch in China, where demand for electric vehicles is much higher thanks to strict emissions rules.
GM has unveiled two new EVs in the last few months: the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, expected to go into production in late 2022, and the GMC Hummer EV, slated for late 2021. But the auto giant has been criticized for bringing vehicles to market too late, while other automakers are racing to get their EVs to customers much sooner.
“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” Barra said in a statement. “We are transitioning to an all-electric portfolio from a position of strength and we’re focused on growth. We can accelerate our EV plans because we are rapidly building a competitive advantage in batteries, software, vehicle integration, manufacturing and customer experience.”
The news is meant to convince those investors on Wall Street who have been jittery about GM’s ability to catch up to Tesla, which has been the only automaker to successfully build an EV business over the last few years. Meanwhile, legacy automakers are stepping up their own EV plans, with Ford expecting to begin delivering its Mustang Mach-E SUV to customers by the end of the year and Volkswagen going into production on its electric ID 4 SUV early next year.
GM also said it was bolstering its estimates about its scalable Ultium battery architecture thanks to “engineering advances.” The automaker now says it anticipates getting 450 miles of range out of its Ultium batteries on a full charge, up from the previous estimated range of 400 miles.
The company said it was already working on the second-generation version of Ultium, which is projected to deliver “twice the energy density at less than half the cost of today’s chemistry.” GM said that this next-gen version of Ultium will cost “60 percent less” than batteries in use today. The company is prototype testing this next-generation battery technology, which is expected to be available mid-decade.