DETROIT—General Motors plans to spend $20 billion on electric and autonomous vehicle programs in the next five years, and expects its battery costs to fall below the level that analysts say would make EVs competitive with internal-combustion vehicles.
GM's proprietary Ultium batteries will cost less than $100 per kilowatt-hour and allow for a driving range of up to 400 miles on a full charge, GM said March 4. That's about 50 percent more than the 259-mile range for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt.
The GMC Hummer EV, expected to go into production in fall 2021, will be the first vehicle to use the new battery technology, GM said. The auto maker gave previews of 10 other upcoming EVs to analysts and reporters March 4, including a Hummer SUV, a midsize Chevy SUV, a Buick SUV and crossover and three Cadillacs.
"Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. "What we have done is build a multibrand, multisegment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity and even more flexibility."
Tesla and other auto makers have been working to reduce battery costs to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, which widely is considered the point at which EVs can have price parity with combustion vehicles.
GM says its first generation of a full EV portfolio will be profitable and can be scaled to meet customer demand even if sales significantly top its forecasts. The auto maker projects its annual EV sales will reach 1 million in North America and China combined by mid-decade.
"Thousands of GM scientists, engineers and designers are working to execute an historic reinvention of the company," GM President Mark Reuss said in the company's statement. "They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers."
GM will design the electric motors in-house. The vehicle systems and propulsion systems are much less complex than traditional internal-combustion powertrain combinations, GM said. The auto maker plans 19 different battery and drive-unit configurations to start, compared with 550 internal-combustion powertrain options available today.