The stats, by themselves, are impressive: GM says that 40 percent of the cars it sells in the U.S. would be electric by 2025. GM also said that it would have 30 (30!) EVs up and running by 2025. GM will be spending $27 billion electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle tech, more than the $20 billion it said in March it would be spending. GM says it’s Ultium-based EVs will have a range of 450 miles, not 400 as it previously said. GM says over half of GM’s R&D money and people will be working on EVs and AVs. GM even says that its Ultium tech will “bring EVs closer to price parity with gas-powered vehicles,” which might be the biggest accomplishment of all.
GM, in other words, was feeling itself a bit today, with its executives taking aim at Tesla.
These are all the sorts of moves that a lot of people (this website included) have been waiting for: something big and bold from GM, not a calculated risk but a real one, which committing over half your R&D budget to making dozens of electric cars certainly is, given that electric cars still are a long ways from taking off in the American car market.
Look, for example, at how much quicker GM says it’ll bring these EVs to market:
The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV’s development time of 26 months – down from about 50 months – is now the benchmark.
The development schedules for 12 vehicle programs have been moved up, including:
GMC HUMMER EV
Three other GMC Ultium variants, including an EV pickup
Four Chevrolet EVs, including a pickup and compact crossover
In addition, Buick’s EV lineup will include two Ultium-based EVs.
After the GMC HUMMER EV, the next EV to launch will be the LYRIQ, Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle, which will arrive in the first quarter of 2022, nine months ahead of schedule.
What’s interesting about this is that GM didn’t have to do any of this. GM could’ve kept puttering along, as they have been for some time, and, sure, some shareholders might have grumbled but not too much because, you know, it’s GM, what do you expect. Except GM did do this, and perhaps exactly because of those shareholders.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Investors are paying especially close attention to auto makers’ capital-spending plans for signs of substantial bets on future technologies that could drive growth. This week, analysts at UBS said they favored GM shares over Ford Motor Co. ’s, in part because Ford isn’t spending as much as its rival on electric-vehicle development.
“An ‘all-in’ EV strategy is a prerequisite to avoid a further de-rating of shares,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel wrote in a research note.
A Ford spokesman pointed to past statements from Chief Executive Jim Farley, who is focusing on electric versions of vehicles that commercial customers use in their businesses, including a battery-powered Transit cargo van Ford revealed last week.
Volkswagen announced a similar move last week, saying that they would up its electric investments by billions; one more automaker doubling down would make this a trend.