GM working with 'all the best start-ups' on next-gen EV battery tech

12 January 2021 - 08:14 By Reuters
GM is planning to match or surpass Tesla in the electric vehicle sector with the help of a R420.6bn investment initiative.
GM is planning to match or surpass Tesla in the electric vehicle sector with the help of a R420.6bn investment initiative.
Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors Co, as part of a $27bn (roughly R420.6bn) initiative to match or surpass Tesla Inc in the electric vehicle sector, is working with “all the best start-ups” on next-generation EV battery technology while planning a big boost in production capacity for its new Ultium battery system, an executive said on Monday.

“We're partnering with some great companies,” including Honda Motor and LG Chem, on electric vehicles and batteries, said Doug Parks, GM's executive vice-president of global product development. But “we're also looking outside the company to start-ups to get on the front edge of that learning curve.”

Parks, speaking at an investor conference, said GM continues to build its relationship with Honda, with whom the US automaker is jointly developing several future electric vehicles.

“There's an opportunity for more,” Parks said. “We could extend that relationship to other segments,” including sharing combustion-engine vehicles and platforms with Honda.

GM CEO Mary Barra said nearly a year ago that the automaker had boosted its spending budget on electric and automated vehicles from $20bn (roughly R311.5bn) to $27bn through 2025.

Parks said much of that $7bn (roughly R109bn) increase is tied to spending on additional production capacity for the Ultium battery, which is slated to go into production in Ohio next year in a $2.3bn (roughly R35.8bn) joint venture with LG Chem.

With all the electric vehicles that GM has planned for North America — some 20 models by 2025 — “we're going to need more capacity” for batteries, Parks said. “So there's more investment coming after the initial wave in Ohio.”

Industry leader Tesla last year sold just under 500,000 EVs globally.


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