General Motors CEO Sets Sights on Selling 1 Million EVs Annually

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【Summary】Small block V8s may have helped General Motors become popular, but the American brand is looking toward EVs as the future.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Nov 04, 2019 6:00 AM PT
General Motors CEO Sets Sights on Selling 1 Million EVs Annually

American automakers haven't exactly gone all-in on the electric future. When it comes to traditional American brands that have gone down the route of electrifying vehicles, General Motors is one of the more prominent ones. It had the Chevrolet Volt and has now put all of its eggs in the Chevrolet Bolt's basket. But more electric vehicles are on the way – a lot more – as General Motors' CEO Mary Barra hopes to sell 1 million electric cars annually in the future.

Setting Sights On 1 Million
In a lengthy interview with Bloomberg, Barra gave the outlet a look into what's to come from the automaker. Hint, it's a whole bunch of electric cars and autonomous vehicles. Putting everything on EVs and AVs could prove to be troublesome for GM, as electric cars and self-driving vehicles haven't really taken off yet. There's also the issue with all of the money required to manufacture both types of technology. Still, it's the future for GM.
"This is what we really believe is the future of transportation," said Barra.
What exactly are Barra's goals? Well, the CEO wants to sell a million EVs a year, while bringing down the costs of manufacturing battery powertrains. The goal is to have an "economy-of-scale edge" that bests what Tesla currently has. It's a heavy task, but one that GM is preparing for.
A few years ago, GM announced that it would come out with 20 new electric cars by 2023 . With 2020 around the corner, and GM only having one battery-powered model in its lineup, the American automaker doesn't have that much time left to get things done. But GM's still trying different things. 

For one, the automaker now has a modular battery pack that allows the automaker to manufacture multiple vehicles without having to sink funds in coming out with new battery packs for cars. The report states that GM made 18 different prototypes with the same battery pack that ranged from sports cars, sedans, and SUVs. The idea was to show that it was possible.
"The purpose," said chief designer Mike Simcoe, "was to show that we could reuse the electric vehicle architecture and make vehicles that run the gamut."

Sales Depend On Cheap Battery Packs
In the real world, building electric cars that use the same platform would greatly help GM save money. And over time, as more consumers make the switch to electric vehicles, they'll become more profitable. 

Over time, the report states that GM will spend more and more money trying to make gasoline engines that meet regulations, while EVs will become more affordable. So investing in EVs now will ensure that GM will save money down the road.
There's only one problem what that thinking – GM has to wait for EV battery packs to come down in price. As Bloomberg points out, battery packs for EVs were $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of energy. Now, it's down to $150 to $200 per kWh. While that's a great drop, it's not enough. When the figure gets below $100 per kWh, that's when GM will be able to make a profitable EV. There's nothing to do, except wait.
With a strong focus on China and the hopes that EVs will one day become as popular gasoline-powered vehicles, and it's easy to see how GM could, realistically, wind up selling 1 million electric cars a year in roughly five years time.

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