G.M. Accelerates Its Ambitions for Electric Vehicles


For the last few years, Tesla has not only dominated the market for electric cars but also captivated the imaginations of investors, a phenomenon that has lifted its market value to stratospheric heights even though it only just started turning consistent profits.

Now General Motors is planning an all-out push to catch up to Tesla, in E.V. sales and in catching investors’ eyes.

In a presentation to financial analysts on Thursday, the automaker said that it was expediting plans to introduce electric cars and trucks over the next five years, and expected to spend $27 billion by 2025 on the effort, up from a previous budget of $20 billion.

“We are all-in to establish leadership in electric vehicles,” the company’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said at a conference hosted by Barclays Capital. “E.V.s are core to growing our business and creating shareholder value.”

Ms. Barra said G.M. aimed to introduce 30 electric models around the world by 2025, about 10 more than it had previously disclosed. Twenty will be available in the United States. Among the first will be the Hummer electric sport utility vehicle planned to arrive in showrooms late next year. A Cadillac S.U.V., called the Lyriq, is now due in the first quarter of 2022, nine months earlier than previously planned, she said.

Other models will include an electric pickup truck and S.U.V. for its Chevrolet brand, as well as other models at a range of prices.

“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution,” Ms. Barra said. “We are resolved as a management team to move even faster to expedite the transition to E.V.s.”

For the last five years, G.M., Ford Motor, Volkswagen and others have been trying to develop compelling and affordable electric vehicles, while watching with both envy and admiration as Tesla raced ahead. Tesla is on track to sell close to 500,000 E.V.s this year, far more than any rival, and is building factories in Germany and Texas that could fuel further growth.

Along the way, Tesla has cultivated an enthusiastic following of both fans and investors, who have rewarded the company by buying up its stock. On Thursday, Tesla was valued at $472 billion, dwarfing its older, bigger and more profitable rivals. In the third quarter, G.M. made $4 billion in profits, and Tesla only $331 million, yet G.M. has a market value of just $62 billion.

That has long been a source of frustration for traditional automakers and prompted increasing efforts to catch up. Ford has said it is spending $11.5 billion on electric vehicles in a five-year period ending in 2022. Volkswagen recently said it would spend 73 billion euros on electrification over the next five years.

In the next few months, Ford plans to start selling a key model in its E.V. push, a battery-powered S.U.V. under the Mustang name. V.W. will introduce an electric S.U.V., called the ID4, early next year.

BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Fiat Chrysler and others are also making substantial investments in E.V.s.

Ms. Barra said the company expected its Ultium modular battery packs to provide a range up to 450 miles before needing a recharge. Earlier this year G.M. said the maximum range would be about 400 miles.

G.M. hopes to produce the battery packs for other automakers and has formed a partnership to supply Honda Motor. “Scale can give us an incredible competitive advantage,” said Doug Parks, a G.M. executive vice president.

G.M. is building a factory near Lordstown, Ohio, to make Ultium packs. Last week, the company said it aimed to hire some 3,000 electrical and software engineers to support its E.V. effort.

“We want to lead in this space,” Mr. Parks said. “We think the industry is transforming, and to lead it, you’ve got to be better than other folks.”

Although Tesla “has got a good jump” and a number of start-ups are focused on electric vehicles, he said, “we’re not going to cede leadership.”

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