GM said Monday that it was rapidly ramping up its EV development engineering teams. GM also revealed the screen in its upcoming Bolt EUV. Nikola, meanwhile, revealed Monday that its deal with GM has not closed. There was a lot going on with GM today!
First, the hiring news: GM said it will hire 3,000 new employees to ramp up software development for EVs. These will be white-collar employees in engineering, IT, and design. This tech will be in and around its EVs, the push for which is already well underway.
“As we evolve and grow our software expertise and services, it’s important that we continue to recruit and add diverse talent,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “This will clearly show that we’re committed to further developing the software we need to lead in EVs, enhance the customer experience and become a software expertise-driven workforce.”
Job openings for electrical system engineers; infotainment software engineers; developers for Java, Android, iOS and other platforms; controls engineers; and more will help to build on GM’s current software foundation.
Software expertise is core to GM’s Vehicle Intelligence Platform, which brings more electrical bandwidth and the capability to support new active safety, infotainment, connectivity and the Super Cruise* driver assistance feature, as well as over-the-air updates. Beyond the vehicle, GM will continue to invest in software applications like OnStar Guardian**, which allows OnStar members to access safety services from a compatible phone, whether they’re at home, out walking, or traveling in a vehicle, regardless of brand, age or ownership.
Moving on: Here is a new video of the screen in the 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV.
Chevy says this shows the “Power Flow” which gives you information about regenerative braking usage and battery levels, presumably to help you drive more efficiently. It is fun to watch the wheels move!
Moving on: Nikola announced its third-quarter 2020 results. Many companies would call this an earnings report but the funny thing about Nikola is that it has no earnings. The bigger news, however, was an update on the consummation of its proposed partnership with GM. The update today is that there is no update. The deal still hasn’t closed.
On September 8, 2020, Nikola announced a strategic partnership agreement with General Motors Co., which contemplates General Motors receiving equity stake in Nikola in exchange for various in-kind services. The transaction has not closed, and Nikola is continuing its discussions with General Motors. Nikola will provide further updates when appropriate or required.
Moving on: I was on a conference call today with Ken Morris, GM’s Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles. Morris said all of the expected things about GM’s EV and AV push, including that it looked forward to working with president-elect Joe Biden’s administration on EVs and AVs, notable only because GM had sided with the Trump administration on emissions regulations.
Morris also said that “affordability” was a priority for GM when it came to EVs, which piqued my interest, since EVs here are pretty expensive even with the federal and state tax credits. The call ended before I got to jump in and ask the question, but I emailed GM afterward to ask if GM had a price point in mind when it talks about affordability, and how GM defines affordability in general. Spoiler alert: GM’s definition of “affordability” might be a little different from yours. Here is what a spokeswoman gave me:
GM set the benchmark for affordable, long-range EVs, with the launch of the Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2016. Bolt EV was one of the first fully-electric vehicles to break the affordability barrier with a starting MSRP of $37,495 before Federal/State tax credits. GM’s Ultium technology gives us the flexibility and energy to build EVs in every segment on the road today, from performance vehicles to work trucks.
First: I’m not sure even with federal and state tax credits that you could call a Chevy Bolt “affordable” back in 2016, though maybe with the gas savings you could convince yourself it was. Second: Chevy Bolts are, in fact, very affordable right now! Just not at MSRP.
Mainly, I hope that Chevy might someday sell an EV under $20,000 in America, and they might even have to someday to compete, since they don’t have the benefit of the federal tax credit anymore. Hell, maybe even under $10,000! You know, like GM does in China.