One of the US top auto manufacturers, General Motors, has stated that the company expects global electric vehicle sales to reach 1 million by the middle of this decade. However, new research revealed that the company might only meet half of that target by 2026, while EV sales skyrocket to 5 million by 2030.
A recent publication by Wood Mackenzie, a global energy research group, analyzed GM’s current and future share of the EV market, as well as the company’s future relevancy in a highly dynamic market. According to Wood Mackenzie, GM must win 30% of the US EV market and 16% of the Chinese EV market to achieve its target of 1 million annual EV sales by 2026
“GM’s target would entail capturing 12% of global EV market share by 2026,” said Ram Chandrasekaran, Wood Mackenzie Principal Analyst. “This will be challenging, particularly given its notable absence from the EU.”
“Despite this, GM does have a clear-cut strategy towards electrification. It has divested from plug-in hybrids, with 90% of its EV sales coming from battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Earlier this year, GM announced a further $20 billion investment for new electric and autonomous vehicles.”
The plan to deliver on the EV targets includes the company’s March commitment of investing $US20 billion by 2025 in electric and automated vehicles. This is combined with GM’s plans to reduce the number of powertrain combinations and focus more on module electric vehicle components.
“The modular electric drive platform is designed to fit vehicles of different classes,” said Wood Mackenzie’s Chandrasekaran. GM has also claimed that it will have a battery control unit at a module level to offer more cost-effective repairs.
“However, neither the platform nor the battery technology is ground-breaking.”
The company has also entered into a joint venture with South Korean chemical company, LG Chem. The move saw construction begin in May on the future site of the Ultium battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio.
Both companies are investing $US2.3 billion in the new joint venture which they hope “will use the most advanced manufacturing processes all under one roof” to produce cells efficiently and benefit from strong economies of scale.
“With this investment, Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, speaking in December 2019.
“Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future. We look forward to collaborating with LG Chem on future cell technologies that will continue to improve the value we deliver to our customers.”
“If completed, this would be one of the largest battery manufacturing facilities in the world,” added Chandrasekaran. “The factory is intended to supply packs for GM’s electric pick-up trucks to be sold in the US. Initial planned capacity is 30 GWh, however, the plant will be built with future expansion in mind.”
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