How GM Is Going All In On Electrification | CNBC Marathon

How GM Is Going All In On Electrification | CNBC Marathon

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In January 2021, General Motors made a stunning announcement. It aspires to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light duty vehicles by 2035, meaning that GM intends to stop selling gas burning cars. Gm executives have made announcements over the past several years touting the carmaker's commitment to an all electric future.

Of course, rivals such as Tesla, the world's most valuable automaker by a longshot, sell nothing but electric cars. Gm plans to introduce 30 EVs by 2025. They can't just sit back and wait for the market to come. They are going to have to push the market forward because if they don't do it, there are others who will. Gm executives emphasized the company's plan to be completely emission free is a goal and not a guarantee. But even with the walk back, GM's plan has skeptics. Concerns linger among auto industry insiders

that consumers are still skittish about buying EVs. We really want to hear from those. Customers because we think we can address all of that. Skeptics vehicle ranges are improving, but charging an EV still takes a lot longer than filling a gas tank in many areas. Don't have a lot of charging stations, especially when compared with the number of gas stations. Gm is not the only one that has made a big commitment to electric vehicles, but some other automakers are spreading their bets out among electric, hybrid and even more efficient internal combustion engines.

They have committed to going all electric, not doing hybrids, not doing plug in hybrids. It's a huge risk. It's very ambitious. And when they do it, especially in light of range, cost and infrastructure issues.

Gm is expected to spend $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025. The automaker has since increased that investment to 35 billion. They dramatically reduced the number of engineers and resources they're putting into traditional power trains and diverted that over to electric development, both battery development, as well as motors and power electronics and also the software that controls all of this.

The automaker is planning crossovers, cars, SUVs and trucks from all four of its US brands. Details on several of them are sparse, but a few are expected soon. As of August 2021, the Chevrolet Bolt, EV and Bolt EUV are the only pure EVs GM sells in the US. As of August 27th, GM was undergoing a $1.8 billion recall of all Chevrolet Bolt vehicles over a risk of battery fires.

Gm has confirmed several such fires have already occurred. Other EV makers have also had problems with battery fires. Gm is expected to soon begin releasing some highly anticipated vehicles, including a sleek crossover from its high end Cadillac brand and an all electric sport utility truck with a six figure price tag bearing the resurrected Hummer brand name. Underpinning most of these new electric vehicles will be GM's Ultium battery cells, a newly designed battery made in partnership with LG Chem. Gm has said it has been able to dramatically reduce battery costs while improving capacity, thus solving two of the biggest concerns around EV adoption.

The two companies will produce the batteries through a $2.3 billion partnership. Gm is also including plans for electric commercial vehicles. Is going to be really important for GM to get themselves established in this market, to have a viable electric delivery van, cargo van that can be used for a range of different applications and also to have the services to back that up.

Gm's Brightdrop venture will include vehicles, equipment and services for electric commercial fleets. Fedex is the project's first customer. General Motors leased the EV one from 1996 to 1999, making it the first automaker to release a mass produced electric car. Despite customer satisfaction, the company could not make the business case for EVs and ended up scrapping the project and crushing most of the cars. In April, report from Bank of America merrill Lynch forecast that by 2035, battery electric vehicles will make up about 31.6% of total light vehicle sales worldwide and about 28.5% in North America.

Another report from Boston Consulting Group forecast that pure electric vehicles will comprise 45% of light vehicle sales worldwide by 2035. So this is the trouble with GM's all electric aspiration, according to Yann Gabrielson, an auto industry economist. Gm had about 8.7% of the world automotive market in 2020. Evs are only expected to be somewhere from 31.6% to 45% of all light vehicle sales around the world in 2035, if it exclusively sells electric vehicles around the world. Gm risks dramatically shrinking its total global market share unless it grabs a massive share of total EV sales.

And there is a lot of competition coming. Gm's market share has shrunk since 2008 in the US, North America and around the world. Part of this is due to the automaker paring back operations. It sold off its entire European business in 2017 and exited some other markets such as India. Gm's international retreat has left it heavily dependent on North America, especially the United States and the Chinese market, where it has ten partnerships with Chinese automakers.

Even in the US it has lost share, dropping from 22.1% in 2008 to 17.1% in 2020. Then there is the question of how many customers actually want EVs.

To which the answer seems to so far be not that many battery electric vehicles comprised just 2% of new car sales in 2020. One of the reasons we haven't seen more electric vehicles, there haven't been that many goodbye. We certainly anticipate that sales will increase as more models come onto market. China is a bright spot. Almost half the total number of EVs in the world are in China. Having experience in China where electric vehicles are much more common is also very helpful.

Gm I think we'll probably see more GM electric vehicles in China than we will actually here in the US. Gm's business in China is done strictly through joint partnerships with Chinese firms, so it has less control over its business there than it does in North America. Competition in China is also steep, with many domestic EV manufacturers in the marketplace. Demand for EVs spiked in Europe in 2020. The region surpassed China for the first time in EV sales. This is not expected to continue, but it is anticipated that Europe will contribute a lot to global EV market share.

Those who follow the industry say there are some potential hurdles to ownership. Evs still tend to cost more than a comparable internal combustion engine. It varies from model to model, but it takes a long time to fully charge an EV battery. The fastest charging technology. Dc fast charging or level three charging takes about 30 minutes to charge a battery for about 125 miles of driving. Slower connections can take up to several hours.

When we talk to consumers. Barriers to EV adoption for them are availability of charging reliability and affordability of the EVs. Manufacturers are working on the affordability. New battery technology that's going to be cheaper. But charging is still a major issue.

As of August 24th, 2021, there were 5325 DC fast charging stations in the United States, compared with roughly 150,000 gas stations. It's true that customers can charge elsewhere, such as at home or in the office parking lot. But this requires a reliable connection. Many Americans don't have garages or a convenient way to plug in their cars.

Gm's big risk is they put all the chips on one spot, and it strikes me that a lot of things have to come together. One of the biggest is are we going to get an infrastructure package that vastly increases the EV charging infrastructure because that's key, I think, for every automaker. Many of the world's automakers are taking a cautious approach to electrification by offering several different powertrains across their lineups internal combustion hybrids, electrics and others. Bob Carter, an executive at Toyota, said, we want to be the Macy's to. Department store of propulsion systems.

So they're going to have gas, hybrid plug in, hybrid fuel cell, and they're even playing with hydrogen run through regular engines in Japan. Gm's Detroit rival Ford is pursuing a somewhat similar strategy. The F-150, for example, is available with a range of internal combustion engines, as well as a hybrid powertrain. And an electric variant is expected in 2022.

Gm says it is addressing some of those concerns. For example, the automaker added an energy assist feature to its My Chevrolet app. If you're taking a trip, it'll tell you where to charge. It'll make your trip much more pleasant for you as you go down with that. But we want to make sure that we keep you to answer all those questions.

With its challenges in mind. Gm does have some strengths. First, it has its own battery technology, albeit one that it has produced in partnership with LG Chem. One of the key points about GM's ULTIUM batteries is that they can be produced for less than $100 per kilowatt hour. A kind of barrier in pricing that once

crossed will make EVs price competitive with internal combustion engines. That's a pretty breakthrough number, and we're not done yet. We don't know the bottom of the cost curve. Ultium batteries can be produced cheaply due to the reduced content of certain metals, especially cobalt. Some of this innovation is happening where not only are you using less critical metals, we use nickel and cobalt, manganese and aluminum, but we're dropping the expensive parts of the batteries down by like 70% to get all the performance and all the cost reductions to make this happen for our customers.

Ultium batteries also have a design comprised of what GM calls pouch cells. These are distinct from the cylindrical designs seen on other vehicles such as Teslas. This design, which GM says is unique in the industry, allows the cells to be stacked in different configurations that can accommodate different needs in different vehicles.

It, for example, allows for designs that lower the floor of the cabin in a car and give more interior room. Gm has also brought battery cell development in-house, which is a break from the past when it and most other automakers were relying on suppliers. A lot of the big OEMs are seeing that as something that they need to be doing, both to make sure that they have enough supply. Because if they're going to be making this transition to completely electric, they're going to need a lot more batteries than we have the capacity to produce right now. Gm is also beginning this EV onslaught in segments where it competes extremely well, such as in crossovers, SUVs and full sized pickup trucks. The three best selling models in the US are all full sized pickup trucks. Ford's F-Series is usually the top selling line

of pickups, but GM is the biggest seller of full size and midsize trucks combined, and it surpassed Ford in full size pickup sales in 2020. The pickups popularity is not lost on upstart EV makers such as Tesla, Rivian, Lordstown and Bollinger. Tesla, the most valuable automaker in the world by market capitalization, debuted its futuristic looking cybertruck in 2019.

Ford debuted its fully electric F-150 lightning in 2021. It has also borrowed the Mustang name for its first fully electric SUV, the Mustang Mach-e. Gm is also reaching into its archives, and it has chosen to revive the Hummer name. The original lineup was a gas guzzling family of SUVs modeled on military vehicles. It was beloved by celebrities, but hated by those who saw the vehicles as cardinal symbols of excess. Gm killed the Hummer brand during its

reorganization after declaring bankruptcy in 2009, only to watch sport utility vehicle sales skyrocket in the recovery that followed the recession. Gm will first release the Hummer as a pickup. An SUV will follow in 2023.

The electric Hummer pickup has 1000 horsepower, £11,500 feet of torque and can go 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds, which is faster than many iconic high end sports cars. The electric Hummer has attracted a lot of attention, including among buyers who are not the typical electric vehicle customer. Bob Dikes runs an oil and gas company out of Colorado and has a reservation for the first electric Hummer pickup truck. He said he is not terribly interested in Tesla, but used to own some of the original Hummer vehicles and wants to try out the new version. My main reason was. I thought it was cool.

I liked. It and it would be unique to. Have for a while. And see what it's like. Dikes thinks it will be a while before EVs take over the electric vehicles.

There's going to be quite a few in the future, but I think it's going to take 20, 20, 30 years to get enough infrastructure to really put this in the marketplace. Part of GM's plan includes new models from its struggling luxury brand, Cadillac. The Lyriq crossover is due out in 2022. The stylistic will be hand-built and likely carry a very steep price tag.

General Motors does have a strong legacy of innovation. Gm was the first company to put catalytic converters on cars to filter out pollutants. It was the first company to offer engines that deactivated cylinders to save money on gas. It was the first company to offer widespread connectivity in its vehicles through its OnStar service. But not all of GM's innovations were

successful. In some cases, some of those technologies came to market maybe a little prematurely, like cylinder deactivation in 1980 on the Cadillacs before it was really ready. In the same way, its early attempts to introduce electric cars struggled.

I remember driving the first EV1. While that wasn't a sales success by any stretch. It certainly was a learning. Experience, which allowed them to move on to the boat.

So all of those things are learning experiences that give them some institutional knowledge. I think it's probably really helpful. Despite all the challenges that come with electrification, committing to electric gives GM a shot at self reinvention while nodding to its history and perhaps even vindicating earlier engineers and executives who took chances. Everything is going electric cars, delivery vans, busses, garbage trucks and more are rapidly evolving to a battery powered future with the technology going mainstream. The EV revolution is also making waves in the world of boating. They have surveys of why people go out in boats.

And among the top five reasons is connecting with nature and connecting with family and friends. And those both go so much better when you can actually hear all of them. General Motors recently invested $150 Million in Seattle based startup Pure Watercraft. We're bringing a lot of what it takes to develop a. Vehicle from. Our automotive expertize into.

The marine industry. We are able to extend the investment that they've made to an entire new category and to deliver what we've always set out to do, which is a better product to the customer for about the same cost to what they're paying today. Several other upstarts are also working to bring their own electric boats to market. The introduction of zero emission watercraft is significant boats and the engines they use can be big polluters. Traditional gas outboards are far more pollutant even than a car would be burning the same number of gallons of gas.

The EPA started to require a catalytic converters in inboard and stern drive boats beginning in 2011. And because of that, a lot of boats that could be either inboard or outboard switched to outboards to avoid the pollution controls. And electric systems are more efficient than their internal combustion counterparts. About 8% of the energy in the gasoline ends up pushing the boat, and 92% does things you don't want, like turbulence, noise and heat. The boating industry is seeing renewed popularity. Sales of powerboats were up 12% in 2020, with more than 310,000 new sales, the highest numbers since before the 2008 recession.

During the pandemic. The average age of boat buyer has fallen for the first time in decades, and a new population is looking to go boating. Right now, we're going about three and a half miles an hour and the boat is using 400 watts. So about the power of four old incandescent light bulbs. Boating is a segment that's a natural fit for electrification.

An electric motor is built for this. It has a wide, efficient band, efficient at every RPM, full torque at zero RPM, right when it starts up. So this is exactly what electric motors are good at. Many fishing communities are actually pushing for electrification and doing all electric fishing leagues. They've done studies of what the life is in the lake near those fuel depots on Lake Tahoe. And everything's dead nearby. Like electric vehicles, switching to an electric boat motor reduces the need for maintenance.

Our coolant system is permanently sealed, so it never has to be topped off. Our oil in our gear set is permanently sealed in that gear set. All of these things are things that need to be serviced often in a gas outboard. The reduced maintenance, the ease of ownership will actually end up potentially being cheaper for the end consumer over the lifetime of the product. And the infrastructure is already in place to allow for charging.

Most public marinas have power pedestals on the docks already. They don't have to install new power lines to charge boats. But converting a boat to electric isn't as straightforward as dropping in a battery and a motor from a car. The amount of energy required to move through water is far greater than what a vehicle on the ground experiences. The faster you go, the more drag there is. The big challenge there is, well, how do we get a battery that's energy dense enough that it really makes sense to put this weight because the boat is a lot more sensitive to weight than a car might be.

The energy density of batteries is improving by about 7% a year, and the cost per kilowatt hour is is going down by about 7% a year. So with time, it's inevitable that all this all these boats are going to switch to electric. With the success of Tesla, many have their sights set on doing the same in the boating industry.

Some are even following the automaker's strategy starting at the high end before developing mass market products. Ark, founded by former SpaceX employees, announced its first boat last summer. The Ark one is a 24 foot vessel with a top speed around 40 miles per hour that can operate for about 4 hours cruising. It plans to sell the limited edition boat for 300,000 x. A Swedish startup is also selling a high end boat in the same price range with similar performance. The company said it started customer deliveries of its E 8000 in early 2021 and has plans to open a new factory in Sweden with the capacity to build over 400 boats a year. Another Swedish startup, Candela, has

developed a hydrofoil electric boat. Instead of using this analogy to make waves and to push through the water. We actually disconnect from the water and only have a very small surface that is submerged. We use only 20% of the energy. That same similar boat will use to do the same speed.

Because of this, the company uses a small 45 kilowatt hour battery pack from a BMW I3 electric car. We try to make the boat as as efficient as possible, as light as possible, and then use a small battery to do 50 nautical mile a day boat that will be pushing water and creating waves to do 22 knots for four, two and one half hours, you would need a battery that is probably five times bigger. The company has been shipping its Sea seven boat and is getting ready to start deliveries of its new C8 this summer. The first boat was delivered in 2018 and we sold 30 of them worldwide.

So we have eight of the 17 in the United States and we have almost 100 kit preordered, including probably 25% of them coming to the US. It's expensive though, costing around $395,000 for the C8. One company has developed electric offerings that compete closely with its gas counterparts. Andy Reilly, a former software engineer who sold his Internet startup during the dot com boom, was inspired by the Tesla Roadster back in 2008.

I thought, Wow, if battery propulsion can do that for a car, it must be able to make a boat. And nobody was doing that. The only boats I could find that were electric were slow.

Pure watercraft, founded in 2011, has developed an electric outboard motor that can power skiffs, fishing boats and other small vessels for between 16500 to 25000. We built an electric outboard motor that replaces up to a 40 or 50 horsepower gas outboard. Do you have batteries that you can daisy chain together with our cables? There weren't great high voltage battery packs available for us to purchase when we started the company. So we developed our own battery pack.

We developed everything from the motor to the motor controller to the propeller even, which got us much better efficiency than what we could get off the shelf. At CES this year, Pure announced a partnership with General Motors to create an electric pontoon boat, combining GM's Ultium battery with pure outboard motor. Our battery packs are designed to essentially fit like a slab, like a skateboard under the main structure of the vehicle. This really well translates into the architecture of a pontoon. The GM project is really about taking their battery and taking a lot of their components, pairing it with our motors, and then putting it into a pontoon boat that we can sell.

Pricing is between 45 and $60,000, depending on single or dual motor configuration. A comparable gas pontoon costs around 25 to 60000. Right now, we can hit price parity on certain boat types that will only improve. Gm explored working with a number of partners but ultimately decided to work with a new entrant over a traditional boat manufacturer. We took about two and one half years to identify Pure as our ideal partner. Our vision for the future and our vision for what? This opportunity was never quite lined up with an existing boat manufacturer, at least not on the time scale that we thought it ought to be achieved in the partnership with General Motors will enable better access to parts and suppliers.

We're able to get automotive quality and volume components built at prices that we could never achieve at our volume. Batteries, motors. Our testing capabilities. Our customer knowhow.

Our manufacturing expertize. All of those attributes we can bring to accelerate. The work that.

Port is achieving today. Following in Tesla's footsteps, Pure is doing direct to customer sales and plans to offer mobile service. We have our mobile field techs in vans that show up at the customer's location and do that service for them on site. And they're staffed by pure watercraft. So they know exactly what they're doing. The pandemic has renewed interest in outdoor recreation and boating, has seen its popularity rise. The global recreational boating market was valued at $29 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach 35.4

billion by 2027. We've seen right around 10% growth year over year in pontoon boat volume sold. Every. Year for about 15 years. This was even before COVID hit.

And for companies that focus on the motor such as pure, the outboard engine market is forecasted to exceed 17 billion by 2025. People are buying an electric car and they're buying an electric lawnmower. Now, the only thing they're buying gas for is their boat.

They're ready now to look for an electric boat alternative. Electric boats aren't just arriving for recreational and personal craft. Larger vessels are already sailing with more in development. A ferry boat that has a half an hour run and then waits and then offloads, unloads people and then comes back. Half an hour back and forth is a great application for electric propulsion.

Candela is working to apply its hydrofoil technology in higher capacity water taxis and ferries. Using the hull of the car. We have already developed a commercial vessel to be able to carry eight people. This first prototype, which will be tested in Stockholm in the summer, and then we have another product called the P30 for 30 people, and that's really where the company wants to go in the future.

And we have already a lot of interest in different places like Venice and other places in Europe, in lakes. In China, a 100 meter vessel dubbed the world's largest cruise ship completed its maiden voyage in January. It uses a massive 7500 kilowatt hour battery with the intent of carrying up to 1300 passengers on river tours. However, the ship's range is limited to about 62 miles per charge. Current battery technology limitations make larger scale applications less viable.

But as it improves, we could start to see more ships go battery electric. Lots of really promising signs are happening with other startup companies with electrification examples at any little corner of the industry, whether it's a ski boat, whether it's a ferry, there's a ferry out in Thailand that uses 27 DC fast charge stations to charge. As more consumers opt for electric cars, some are optimistic that electric boats will be the obvious choice to. The running costs. And the maintenance costs are

dramatically lower, that's for sure. And if the ride comfort is higher, then there's it's a no brainer. It's not just that it's electric. We've actually

created a better experience here. We have less maintenance. We have less overall ownership costs. You don't have to deal with gas. Just plug it in. At the end of the day. People are much more conscious of the environment. They want to do things that are in

harmony with nature, not in conflict with it. It's an inflection point where people want to find a better way to go boating. This is the Ultium battery from General Motors.

The largest American auto manufacturer is going all in on EVs. General Motors, we believe. In an all electric future. We're working to a goal where. We have zero crashes, zero.

Emissions and zero congestion. Gm CEO Mary Barra believes the company will dominate the US market. We're going to be number one mid-decade in EVs in the US.

And this is the battery technology that is going to take it there. It starts with a single cell that we can use as a brick that we can build all these different vehicles with. And that ultium cell then will go in to a Hummer, a lyric or any other vehicle that we dream up in a very quick fashion.

Gm plans to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025. It plans to have manufacturing capacity for 1 million EVs and is scheduled to launch more than 30 electric vehicles globally over that same time period. Many will utilize the new platform. The whole company. We intend to have.

All light duty vehicles be EVs by 2035. Gm is also building a commercial EV business under the Brightdrop brand name. It has begun delivering vehicles to FedEx and has signed a contract with Walmart. But it is hard to find a carmaker of any significant size that is not working on an electric vehicle.

And there are countless startups all around the world. So what makes GM's Ultium platform technology different? We've got the right partners with our three factories making these cells with LG, and now we're going to make the world's best brick to make the world's best vehicles. Cnbc went inside GM's battery lab to see how it is different from what Tesla and other EV battery makers are doing and how GM plans to become a major player in the EV market. What we have here is a lithium ion battery, and this is our large format, lithium ion battery that powers all of these vehicles.

Tim Grewe is the general director of Electrification Strategy and Cell Engineering at General Motors. Gm unveiled its Ultium platform in March of 2020. It is a whole new architecture for electric vehicles. It encompasses new battery designs, new motors platforms, and even new software for electric vehicles. We're at what we call the SDS Development Center, where basically we bring all the ingredients for Ultium together and we make sure that they work properly together and as individual components.

Gm partnered with the battery cell manufacturing giant LG Energy Solutions to develop the Ultium Battery. The partnership is opening three battery factories across the United States between 2022 and 2024. One in Ohio, one in Tennessee, and one in Michigan. For the first time, we've got a single Altium cell that can be the foundational brick to build all of these vehicles together. And with that, we're scaling it.

Gm has already teased, unveiled, announced or begun producing several fully electric vehicles using the Ultium platform. The GMC Hummer pickup and Hummer SUV. The Cadillac Lyriq premium SUV and Celeste sedan. The Chevrolet Silverado EV full size pickup truck, the Chevrolet Blazer, and a fully electric version of the Corvette. Battery technology is complex, but a

battery generates electricity through a chemical reaction. A battery is made up of an anode, a cathode, a mix of chemicals that separates the anode and cathode and an electrolyte. When the battery is discharging, i.e. generating electricity ions move from the anode n to the cathode end when charging ions move in the opposite direction. The positive and the negative have these nice.

I call them parking garages right where you can store the lithium when it's all the way charged. They're all parked in the negative side. We call it the anode.

When they discharge, they go and they park in the positive side and then the separator basically makes the traffic lane. So that all happens very uniformly and can last the life of the vehicle. There are several things that make the Ultium platform different. It is, say, some industry analysts, the first large scale use of a new battery chemistry. The new chemistry considerably reduces the content of some very expensive and tough to source materials.

Ev batteries often use chemistries that rely on cobalt, often in combination with nickel, manganese or other elements. Tesla, for example, has been known to use a combination of nickel, cobalt and aluminum in many of its cars. However, it has recently been trying to move toward cobalt free battery designs. Gm's partnership with LG Energy Solutions has developed a different chemistry. It reduces the

Cobalt by 70%. This nickel manganese, cobalt, aluminum is one of the primary factors that will drive ultium battery pack costs below $100 per kilowatt hour. That is a threshold the entire industry is trying to hit to make EVs cost competitive with internal combustion cars. Gm has also taken the unusual step of developing a new battery management system that manages the battery at a more granular level than others. Most battery management systems, including Teslas, work at the pack level.

Gm's system manages the battery at the level of individual modules. This will allow GM to replace parts of a battery pack bit by bit over time if needed, rather than replacing the whole pack at once. It also means GM doesn't need to stock old battery parts. Newer battery technology can be put into an ultium pack alongside older technology, and the pack will still function. Your cell phone has a pouch battery in it, or your tablet has a pouch battery in it, but they're obviously not automotive batteries.

And so what we do with our approach is we say, well, we make it more robust, we add more insulation, we make sure it can last the life of the vehicle in our pouches. The idea of a pouch design is not unique to GM, but GM says there are aspects of its design that are proprietary. It's generic, but how we make it is very unique. Cells are tightly packed side by side, which reduces the space between them.

That allows for more energy capacity. The design is flexible and can accommodate cells of other shapes. Gm's vehicles in China don't use the long cell designs seen in the US. They instead use something called a prismatic can a shorter, wider box. So this is an example of a prismatic can.

It's got the same electrode in it as the actual flat stacked one year. You simply wind it up inside of it. China is the world's largest EV market.

Gm sold 2.9 million vehicles in China in 2021. Sales of new plug in hybrids and electrics, collectively called new energy vehicles or nevs in China, rose considerably. Its Buick Volt.

Ev family doubled sales year over year. You think, oh, just China alone, 15, 20% of the world's market, they're going to be almost entirely electric in the next five years. Their 2025 plan in China. Gm sells more electric cars and Tesla. Cell modules can be stacked vertically or horizontally as the vehicle design requires.

They can be double stacked to include up to 24 modules in a truck, for example. Or there could just be one single layer of modules in a sports car. This is basically a lyric pack that you see right in front of you. So it's got all the structure integrated

into it so that it can be part of the vehicle. And there's 12 of those modules in here to meet the lyrics needs. Now you can imagine if you have an equinox, it'll be less than 12 and it'll just be a shorter pack. An Altium battery pack can provide up to 450 miles of range on a charge at a quarter of the weight and about 40% of the cost of GM's previous battery designs. A vehicle with 450 miles on a single charge

would place among the longest range vehicles available in the United States. Only the Lucid Air Dream edition outpaces it with an estimated 520 miles. The Tesla Model S has a 405 mile range around 2008. We said people really want an EV and we made the Volt extended range EV where it's a very capable 50 mile EV. In 2016 we came out with a Bolt EV which was a 238 mile EV.

The Volt extended range made it possible the Bolt EV in 2016 made it practical. You could use the car and now with things like the Hummer and the Lyriq its preferred. If GM's Ultium battery pack does have a per kilowatt hour cost of less than $100, that would put it in territory competitors have not been able to reach. That's still the target that everybody is trying to get to is under $100 per kilowatt hour.

Tesla's been under $100 a kilowatt hour at the cell level for a while now because they use those cylindrical cells and they're cheaper to make. But the way they make their pack is more complex. So that offset some of that savings on the cell. These batteries will all be powering Ultium Drive Electric Motors, which GM unveiled in September 2021. The first vehicle the system will be featured on is the GMC Hummer. General Motors was the first automaker to make a serious attempt at a mass market EV.

Its EV one was only available for lease in limited numbers in the late 1990s. Its first fully electric vehicle after that was the Chevrolet Bolt first introduced for the 2017 model year. But like all automakers, it has been largely overshadowed and outsold in the US EV market by industry leader Tesla.

With Altium, the company is trying to take the lead again. They obviously don't get anywhere remotely close to anything in the same stratosphere as Tesla in terms of their business, but they've got to show that their EV business really works. They haven't yet. Some industry experts are skeptical that GM's ULTIUM technology is in any way ahead of the curve. Monroe and Associates is a manufacturing consultancy that is known in the auto industry for its teardowns and analyzes of electric vehicles and battery packs.

We are tasked with. Investigating every EV that is that is being manufactured, that is leading in the world. Steuben said. Monroe and Associates has not been able to yet tear down an Ultium based vehicle. They are basing their opinions on what GM is saying about the Ultium platform and what the firm has found in its other research and teardowns. My broad impression of the Ultium platform is that it's a really good idea, but it's 5 to 7 years too late.

Many of the virtues that they're extolling in their marketing campaigns, particularly with the form factors of the cell, the energy density, the reduction of wiring, the layout and configuration of the motors are already being done. If you study the market, we can draw parallels in the battery to VW ID for I can't draw very many parallels to Tesla. Because. The form factor and chemistry is different. Take battery chemistry, for example. While GM's battery chemistry has reduced cobalt content.

Eliminating cobalt altogether from a battery portfolio is something that many manufacturers have done. Tesla is using cobalt free lithium ion phosphate cells in its Chinese models. In everything that I read on GM's strategy, they're primarily sticking to that. I think nickel, manganese, cobalt, aluminum chemistry, which does have some advantages, but still having some cobalt. I want to see elimination of cobalt in

some of their chemistry choices. That said, there are some features that are notable. The fact that they're designing everything from scratch for this thing, it's all purpose built for EVs is a good thing. It gives them the opportunity to really optimize all of the systems for an EV. That's probably, in theory at least should help them.

Gm says the next generation of Ultium will offer twice the energy density at 60% of the cost. We've made announcements about our lithium metal technology, which is much higher energy density, very capable to make it happen. And that's the true entrepreneur really going to change the world type stuff. As with many other battery technologies, there are many companies working on lithium metal batteries. Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and others are investing in them. Perhaps the true test of Ultium cells will come

once people start getting behind the wheel. I think the Cadillac Lyriq is really going to be our first real look at what the true possibilities are with the Ultium platform. The Cadillac Lyriq will be GM's first crossover to market with Ultium cells and will come in a size and shape that will more closely resemble the crossovers and SUVs customers are buying. With a starting price of around $60,000, the LYRIQ increases GM's chances of being profitable on each vehicle. It also positions GM to directly challenge

leaders like Tesla. Another top selling segment where GM is securing a toehold is the full size pickup truck. This is the best selling segment overall in America and one dominated by American manufacturers, especially Ford and GM. Ford and GM were both really surprised by the demand when they announced their electric pickup trucks. Gm unveiled the Chevrolet Silverado EV at CES in January 2022. In late April, the company said it already had over 140,000 reservations for the truck.

We're seeing a real shift from the market towards EVs. A lot of customer pull for EVs, and that's that's caught a lot of manufacturers by surprise. And so they're scrambling now to figure out how do they get enough materials to build all the batteries for what they perceive as the demand for these things? And this is this is the next big challenge for everybody.

2022-06-21 20:06

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