Fleet of GM EVs to be released in 2021, challenging Tesla, Ford

By 2023, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the number one automaker in the US expects to launch a fleet of 20 GM EVs.  GM photo.

GM EVs to be built on platform that will accommodate multiple sizes, segments

General Motors CEO Mary Barra told investors on Monday that the new family of GM EVs, expected to launch in 2021, will be profitable for the number one automaker in the United States.

Barra’s plans are seen as a direct challenge to Tesla, the electric vehicle company that has yet to turn an annual profit and continues to struggle with the launch of its Model 3 sedan.

She forecasts sales of 1 million EVs by 2026, with many sales expected in China.

“We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable,” Reuters reports Barra said at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York.

A number of automakers have recently committed to upping their production of electric vehicles, but manufacturers, including Tesla and Ford, still have to figure out how to make money on them.

According to a Reuters report, GM EVs will be built on an all-new electric vehicle platform that will be capable of accommodating at least nine models, ranging from a compact crossover to a large, seven-passenger luxury SUV and a large commercial van.

Barra says the vehicles will be sold by different GM brands in the US and China.

GM says it will also provide the underpinning for a shared autonomous vehicle that the company plans to put into commercial service.  She said GM is the “only fully integrated developer of AVs with true scale capability.”

“We are not capital constrained in our EV or AV development,” she added.

In September, GM announced it will launch 20 new EVs by 2023, while its rival Ford said it will unveil 13 “electrified” vehicles, which will mostly be gasoline-electric models, by 2022.  GM did not offer any details on its plan.

GM says it will find cost savings by developing a new battery system that will be 30 per cent cheaper than the current system that powers the Chevy Bolt.

According to Reuters, GM hopes to cut the cost of its lithium-ion batteries to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour from $145 per kilowatt-hour by 2021.  This should bring the overall cost of EVs much closer to comparable internal combustion engine vehicles.

The company says these batteries will hold more energy and be quicker to charge.  GM is hoping the new batteries will increase its EV range to over 300 miles.  The Chevy Bolt is rated at 238 miles between charges.

Barra told investors that GM will manufacture high volumes of the batteries at plants in the US and China.

Before the new EV platform is operational, GM plans to introduce three new EVs by 2020, including two crossovers.

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