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GM's Annual Sustainability Report Confirms its Commitment to Electric Vehicles With 12 New Models Coming by 2023

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【Summary】U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) released its tenth annual sustainability report on Thursday. The latest sustainability report confirms the automaker's commitment to electrification. The report outlines GM’s plans to introduce 12 new fully-electric models by 2023 and that the recent pandemic has not caused any delays in the launch of the new models.

Eric Walz    Jul 17, 2020 2:30 PM PT
GM's Annual Sustainability Report Confirms its Commitment to Electric Vehicles With 12 New Models Coming by 2023
The fully-electric Cadillac Lyriq crossover will be one of a dozen of new electric models from GM (Concept model shown).

U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) released its tenth annual sustainability report on Thursday. The report provides the public an update on GM's key accomplishments in 2019 and stance on key issues each year, including the development of new electric vehicles and environmental stewardship.

The latest sustainability report confirms GM's commitment to electrification. The report outlines GM's plans to introduce 12 new fully-electric models by 2023 and that the recent pandemic has not caused any delays in the launch of the new models. The automakers say that progress on developing new EVs was not affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

GM said it has remained committed to its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, and part of that goal is to build more electric models and advanced driver assist system (ADAS) technology, including autonomous driving technologies.

Available ADAS technology on GM vehicles includes Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. These systems have shown a 46% reduction in certain types of crashes in the field, according to a study by GM and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

In 2020, GM announced an enhanced version of its Super Cruise automated driving system that will be introduced on the 2021 Cadillac CT5, CT4 and Escalade.

GM plans to allocate more than $20 billion of capital and engineering resources to its electric and autonomous vehicle programs between 2020 and 2025. Those plans have not changed. 

The investments include a $2.2 billion in GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, which will be the first GM plant fully dedicated to the manufacturing of EVs. The plant will support 2,200 jobs.

Other initiatives are ensuring at least 50% sustainable material content in GM vehicles by 2030. Examples of sustainable materials include interior components made from a synthetic suede material containing recycled content, which is offered in the 2020 Cadillac CT4 and other models.

GM's New Ultium EV Batteries

To support's GM's electric vehicle rollout, the automaker is building a joint venture battery factory in Ohio with its battery partner LG Chem. The $2.3 billion battery production joint venture with LG Chem will be called Ultium Cells LLC and will produce GM's new developed Utium battery cells. 

The EV battery plant is being built on a 158 acre site near GM's former Lordstown assembly plant, which is now occupied by electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors. 

GM's new Ultium batteries differ from the cylindrical cell batteries currently being used by Tesla. Instead of being rolled into a cylinder shape, the "pouch cell" batteries are flat and resemble a large envelope that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. The flat design allows GM engineers to fit more battery cells into each vehicle battery pack, which results in more power and longer range for its electric vehicles. GM's Ultium batteries will use 70% less cobalt.

Ultium energy options range from 50 to 200 kWh, which could enable a range of up to 400 miles and  a zero to 60 mph acceleration time of 3 seconds, according to GM. The Ultium batteries are designed to work with GM's new BEV3 electric vehicle platform, which will underpin most of GM's upcoming fully-electric models.

The BEV3 platform supports 800-volt architecture with DC fast charging to 350 kW.

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General Motors revealed its all-new Ultium modular platform and battery system on March 4, 2020.

GM said that all Ultium platform EVs remain on schedule, including the Bolt EUV, a compact "electric utility vehicle" based on the Chevy Bolt. The Bolt EUV is due next summer and will debut as a 2022 model. It will be built on GM's second-generation EV platform that's used on current Bolt EV. 

The Bolt EUV will be the first model equipped with GM's Super Cruise autonomous driver-assist feature, which up until now is only available on Cadillac models.

GM has also said it's close to developing an EV battery that can last one million miles.

Other new vehicles include the Cadillac Lyriq crossover, which will go into production in 2022. The Lyriq is an all-new compact SUV from GM's luxury division. Along with the Lyriq, GM is developing another full-size Cadillac SUV inspired by the popular Escalade. 

GM is also planning to begin production of the GMC HUMMER EV next year. The company resurrected the Hummer nameplate as an electric truck brand under its truck division GMC. The electric Hummer is still on schedule for production starting in late 2021.

GM is also working on it's first full-size Chevrolet electric pickup truck with over 400 miles of range. It will be the first electric pickup under the Chevy badge and is set to compete against an electric version of rival Ford's popular F-150 pickup due in 2022.

Another one of GM's new vehicles is the Cruise Origin unveiled in January. The Origin is a fully-electric and autonomous commercial robotaxi vehicle being developed with Japan's Honda Motor Co for GM's planned robotaxi service with its autonomous driving division Cruise, which is based in San Francisco.

GM commitment to electric vehicles comes as rival Tesla's stock is at an all-time high. Tesla is now the world's most valuable automaker by market value as its stock rose to over $1,500 a share this month on rising demand for its electric vehicles. The surge in Tesla stock price gives the company a market cap of over $278 billion, dwarfing GM market cap of roughly $38 billion.

However GM's electric vehicle business is one bright spot for the automaker as the automaker looks towards its future. The company's growing electric-vehicle business could be worth up to $100 billion, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas.

As reported by Barron's last month, Jonas predicts GM will ship 50,000 electric-vehicles this year, which represents less than 1% of GM's current global shipments. By 2040, Jonas believes that 80% of GM's lineup will be electric vehicles, which represents a tremendous growth potential for the automaker's electric vehicle business. 

By 2025, GM expects to sell a million EVs a year globally, so GM's transition to electrification is just beginning.

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