GM Ramps Up for Better EV Program

Automaker will invest $20 billion during the next five years.

March 09, 2020

DETROIT—General Motors and Telsa are in a two-horse race to create the next generation of all-electric vehicles, according to CNBC.

Last week, the Detroit automaker announced it would spend more than $20 billion over the next five years on the development of all-electric and autonomous vehicles. The announcement, which came on what the company dubbed “EV Day,” was an effort to get Wall Street to buy into GM’s all-electric vehicle plans.

“We thought it was time for people to understand that General Motors has a leadership position in electrification, and we’re moving fast,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. GM’s stock has suffered in the past year, including a slide of about 18% in 2020.

GM plans to roll out 20 new EV models by 2023, including an updated version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV this year, and two SUVs—a Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq—by 2022. EV plans also include compact cars and full-size pickups.

“We believe the event was a clear shot across the bow against [Tesla CEO Elon] Musk and Tesla, which continue to lead the EV landscape by a clear margin,” said Daniel Ives, a Wedbush analyst.

GM has said its new all-electric vehicles will have a range of 400 miles or more, have a 10-minute battery charge time for a range of more than 100 miles and accelerate 0 to 60 mph in as fast as three seconds. Those performance specifications are in line with or superior to those of Tesla’s current vehicles. Today, Tesla’s Model 3 is capable of a 322-mile range, 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and can recharge 172 miles in 15 minutes.

Ives described GM’s new proprietary “Ultium” battery-cell technology as a “highlight of the event.” It can be stacked inside the battery pack either horizontally or vertically, as compared to Tesla’s vertical cylinder cells.

“GM, given its vast distribution and global customer base, must be taken seriously in this EV arms race,” Ives said, adding GM’s plans are “markedly more aggressive” than in recent years.