GM expands its electric vehicle investment and plans more U.S. battery manufacturing capacity


General Motors said it will increase its EV and AV investments through 2025 to $35 billion.

The automaker made an initial commitment in March 2020 to invest $20 billion over the time period, including capital, engineering expenses and other development costs. Last November, it increased that total to $27 billion.

In January, GM said that it plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop what GM called “a vision of an all-electric future” as well as “an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.”

To reach its goals, GM outlined plans to transition to battery electric vehicles or other zero-emissions vehicle technology, source renewable energy, and leverage “minimal offsets or credits.”

The automaker said at the time that it believed that the energy sector was “well on its way to a decarbonized grid” and that an all-electric future would be supported by renewable infrastructure and technology.

(Read “The future of cars is electric–but how soon is this future?“)

Demand driver

In a supply chain review of strategic parts of the U.S. economy, the White House earlier this month shone a spotlight on U.S. battery manufacturing capacity both for electric vehicles and for stationary applications. The report said that the automotive industry will likely drive the demand for batteries and quoted worldwide sales projections of 56 million passenger EVs in 2040, of which 17% (about 9.6 million EVs) would be in the U.S. market.

The report said that if all batteries for EVs in the U.S. market were manufactured abroad, that would result in roughly $100 billion in imports.

GM’s newly announced investments include:

  • Accelerating plans to build two new battery cell manufacturing plants in the United States by mid-decade to complement the Ultium Cells LLC plants under construction in Tennessee and Ohio. It said further details about these new U.S. plants, including the locations, will be announced later.
  • In addition to collaborating with Honda to build two EVs using Ultium technology – one SUV for the Honda brand and one for the Acura brand – GM announced June 15 that it signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells to Wabtec Corp., which is developing a battery-powered locomotive.
  • Separately, GM will supply HYDROTEC to Navistar, Inc., which is developing hydrogen-powered heavy trucks to launch in 2024, and Liebherr-Aerospace, which is developing hydrogen-powered auxiliary power units for aircraft.

GM also confirmed plans to launch its third-generation HYDROTEC fuel cells with greater power density and lower costs by mid-decade. GM manufactures its fuel cells in Michigan in a joint venture with Honda.

The company said last November that it would deliver 30 new EV models by 2025 globally, with two-thirds available in North America. In its latest update, GM said it will add electric commercial trucks and other products to its North America plan that will use its Ultium Platform. In addition, GM will add U.S. assembly capacity for EV SUVs. Details will be announced later.

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