GM confirms two new battery plants in EV tech boost - Just Auto
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GM confirms two new battery plants in EV tech boost

17 Jun 2021

General Motors has confirmed earlier reports that it will build two new battery plants in the US as part of a plan to increase its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, representing a 75 percent increase from its initial commitment announced prior to the pandemic.

GM is 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. Further details about these new U.S. plants, including the locations, will be announced at a later date, the company said.

GM says its enhanced commitment will ‘accelerate its transformative strategy to become the market leader in EVs in North America’ as well as ‘the global leader in battery and fuel cell technology through its Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cells; and through Cruise, be the first to safely commercialize self-driving technology at scale’.

“We are investing aggressively in a comprehensive and highly-integrated plan to make sure that GM leads in all aspects of the transformation to a more sustainable future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio.”

“There is a strong and growing conviction among our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, unions and investors, as well as policymakers, that electric vehicles and self-driving technology are the keys to a cleaner, safer world for all,” Barra said.

The latest investment announcement builds on GM’s initial commitment announced in March 2020 to invest $20 billion from 2020 through 2025, including capital, engineering expenses and other development costs, to accelerate its transition to EVs and AVs. In November 2020, the company increased its planned investment over the same period to $27 billion.

GM said the latest investments are enabled by GM’s strong underlying business, including record EBIT-adjusted in the last three quarters.

GM also said it now expects to deliver better-than-expected results in the second quarter despite the industry-wide impact of the semiconductor shortage.

The company now expects its first-half EBIT-adjusted will be between $8.5 and $9.5 billion due to continued strong demand, better-than-expected results at GM Financial, and improved near-term production from the pull forward of semiconductors from the third quarter. GM expects the second half of 2021 will continue to be complex and fluid. The company will provide additional updates on its year-to-date financial results and outlook for the second half of 2021 during its second-quarter earnings conference call on Aug. 4.

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 it has signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells to Wabtec Corporation, which is developing the world’s first 100 percent 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. Lockheed Martin and GM also are teaming up to develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts on the surface of the Moon, leveraging GM’s expertise in electric propulsion and autonomous technology.

GM is also confirming plans to launch its third-generation Hydrotech fuel cells with even greater power density and lower costs by mid-decade. GM manufactures its fuel cells in Brownstown Charter Township, Michigan, in a joint venture with Honda.

In November 2020, GM announced it would deliver 30 new EVs by 2025 globally, with two-thirds available in North America. Through the additional investments announced, GM says it will add to its North America plan new electric commercial trucks and other products that will take advantage of the creative design opportunities and flexibility enabled by the Ultium Platform.  In addition, GM will add additional U. assembly capacity for EV SUVs. Details will be announced at a later date.