GM has a problem. It’s dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the whole EV thing and it can’t bank on any of it. Wall Street looks at them as rust belt tech while a company like Tesla is a “tech company.” GM can protest all it wants but at the end of the day, the bottom line is GM’s value is way under Tesla’s. GM doesn’t like that one bit. So, it occasionally shakes the trees to see if what falls bumps the stock perception. Nothing so far has worked. So today it revealed 10 new EV models it will slog out over the next several years.
This has nothing to do with building vehicles or marketing them. This is all about Wall Street. But for enthusiasts, it gives us a chance to peek inside of GM to see what’s shakin’. Today it revealed these 10 EVs, while we also find out what the two new Cadillacs will be named. There are no numerals in them. Yeah!
Everything revealed today will involve every brand under the GM umbrella
Everything revealed today will involve all of GM’s brands. That’s Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. There were 13 vehicles presented representing 10 models and some variations we’ll get into shortly. GM did not allow cameras into the event so we only get to show you shadowy mystery shots of what’s coming.
With GM so heavily engrossed in EV development, it wanted everyone to know that of the 20,000 GM employees, at least 60% are working on EV-related projects. It always has those catchy slogans. The one for this gathering was “multi-brand, multi-segment from Bolt to Hummer.” See, catchy.
Most of the EVs GM is now developing will feature 400-volt battery packs with 200-kW fast-charging. Electric pickups including the Hummer will have 800-volt batteries with 350-kW fast-charging. Either system will charge up to 100 miles range in 10 minutes. That’s almost like putting $20 in your gas tank.
The show’s centerpiece was the GM “Ultium” modular EV system
The centerpiece of the show was the unveiling of GM’s new EV system dubbed “Ultium.” It’s modular so that different cells and/or chemistries can be combined offering 50 to 200 kWh. That translates to a 400-mile range in some cases. In conjunction with LG Chem, the batteries will reduce the use of cobalt by 70%.
Individual modules will be free-standing so stacking becomes easy. Each module will contain its own data which can be accessed at the end of its life before being recycled or portions reused. GM’s big goal is to cut down on component costs to gain price parity with ICE vehicles. The versatility also means modules can be stacked to provide something like the Hummer with the advertised 1,000 hp.
Here’s what the rollout will look like. The new Bolt EV with a 259-mile range will hit dealers in late 2020. GM expects to sell about 50,000 per year with 30,000 of those in the US. This will be the last vehicle to utilize the current EV and battery platform.
A new third-gen platform uses what GM calls “Ultium batteries”
The Cruise Origin shared EV will utilize the third-gen platform using Ultium batteries. This will happen early in 2021. From there the 2022 Bolt EUV will begin production in summer 2021. The wheelbase is five inches longer than the Bolt that is out now.
China will get the Cadillac Lyriq crossover in 2021 and then we’ll see it in 2022. In the fall of 2021 production will begin on the GMC Hummer EV. It will ride on 35-inch off-road tires according to what has been told to us.
What looks like a Chevy version somewhat similar to the Lyriq was also shown in clay form. No release date was revealed. Buick also had what looked like its take on this same CUV. There were distinctive features that helped to eliminate the badge-engineering GM was saddled with for the 1970s and 1980s.
Buick also had a small EV crossover that was shown. It was similar to the Bolt architecture. Next to it was a hatchback that some thought similar to the Velite concept Buick had in the recent past.
The Cadillac Celestiq will be an exclusive, hand-built sedan flagship
A big surprise was the peek at the flagship Cadillac sedan called Celestiq. A fastback with 23-inch wheels pulled out to the fenders, it presents a better future for Cadillac than anything previously made. From what was conveyed it sounds like it will be an expensive halo car, hand-built locally, with a ton of personalization based on the customers’ wants. The goal is to elevate the brand to the level it was at in decades past by offering coach-built cars.
GM is doubling down on the sedan as a viable vehicle by saying, “It’s not that the sedan is dead, but the traditional three-box design is.”
There is a lot to take in with all of the new nameplates, architectures, and body styles. We can’t wait to see how these evolve into actual road-going vehicles in the near future.