GM has recently shown a newfound interest in selling its EVs, running a major ad campaign for the Chevy Bolt EV in mainstream newspapers and magazines for the first time. Now the company has announced that it plans to launch 20 new battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles by 2023, including two in the next 18 months.
The new vehicles will be built “from the ground up” as EVs, said Pam Fletcher, Executive Chief Engineer of Autonomous & Electrified Vehicles. “This is just a taste of what’s to come over the next months and years. The story is more than just what you can see; it’s also about what’s under the skin.”
The first two new vehicles will be based on the current Bolt EV architecture, while future ones will feature an “all-new battery system” that GM recently previewed at its Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Reporters were shown clay models of a Buick crossover, a Cadillac wagon and what appears to be a new version of the Bolt. These were designed for the next-generation EV architecture, which includes two different heights of battery cells.
“These three vehicles demonstrate why that height difference is important,” said Mark Reuss, Executive VP of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “You can do different H-points, you can do different roof lines and you can do different range capabilities and different performance.”
Another six vehicles were kept under sheets. One had a silhouette that suggested a Corvette, while the others appeared to be crossovers or SUVs, bearing out a statement by Fletcher that new EVs would be introduced in the top-selling SUV segment.
Execs from Daimler and other automakers have recently explained that they are reluctant to push EVs because they are still losing money on them. However, Mark Reuss says GM’s new line of electrics will be profitable, although he offered no specific time frame. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Reuss. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”
Signaling another change of direction, Pam Fletcher said that GM will help to “accelerate” the deployment of DC fast charging stations. She said there are currently over 1,100 public fast chargers available to GM customers in the US, and that more details of the company’s infrastructure strategy would come soon.
GM is to begin producing a fuel cell system through a previously announced joint venture with Honda in 2020. It has introduced SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure), a fuel cell concept based on a heavy-duty truck frame and driven by two electric motors. It features autonomous capabilities, exportable power and a system that can produce water.
Wall Street liked the news: GM shares gained 4.4 percent on the announcement, reaching a new high since the company emerged from reorganization in 2010.