Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Future Is Electric Cars: General Motors’ Ambitious Vision for 2023

With large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, the largest U.S. automakers General Motors Co. generates much of its profit. It now plans to have a lineup of both battery-powered cars and hydrogen fuel-cell autos, which also operate on electricity. 

By committing to sell 20 all-electric cars by 2023, General Motors Co. has joined a rising community of automakers promising an emission-free future for automobiles. In the next 18 months, two new EVs will launch to succeed the Chevrolet Bolt that has been on sale for less than a year.

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric, a world free of automotive emissions,” Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, said on Oct 2 at the company’s technical center north of Detroit. “It is real.”

General Motors is increasing its electric vehicle investment, planning more electric cars, trucks, and SUVs than previously announced, and the company announced recently that it would manufacture many of them earlier than originally expected.

General Motors had previously said it would commit $20 billion to the development of electric and fully autonomous vehicles over the next five years. The automaker announced that’s being increased to $27 billion through 2025. Autonomous vehicles are ones that can drive themselves without human input, like the Cruise Origin being developed by GM and Honda. Because of the high power requirements of their computers and sensors, autonomous vehicles are often hybrid or electric.

General Motor’s on a mission to revolutionize the world with electric cars

The planned lineup demonstrates General Motors is doubling down on electrification despite the Bolt’s slow start in U.S. showrooms and companies’ inability thus far to profitably sell EVs. The automaker has delivered fewer than 12,000 units of the battery-powered Bolt, which goes about 238 miles between charges. Deliveries have primarily been concentrated thus far in California, which mandates sales of emissions-less vehicles.

The majority of General Motors’ electric cars are set to feature the company’s latest Ultium batteries. These batteries are unique in the automobile industry due to its pouch-style cells being able to be stacked horizontally or vertically inside the battery pack. Engineers are thus able to optimize the layout and energy storage for each vehicle design.

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With ranges of up to 450 miles, which goes even further than Tesla’s Model S Long Range Plus unveiled in June 2020 with a 402-mile range, General Motors’ numbers surrounding its electric future cars have improved in many regards. General Motors expects this level of efficiency to bring the price of its electric vehicles in-line with the company’s current gas-powered offerings by the middle of this decade.

There is a noticeable pressure on carmakers to make their fleet more environmentally friendly. Recently, the United Kingdom banned the sale of new petrol and diesel-fuelled cars from 2030. The inference would be that there is going to be increasingly fierce competition in the electric vehicle space. 

As things stand, General Motors’ spending on the electric cars front is dwarfed by both Volkswagen and Tesla. It is interesting to note that all three carmakers are developing their own native batteries as opposed to buying them from third-party suppliers.

Recently, BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, said that this year saw investors allocating more than twice as much money in its funds that invest in climate change. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, commented on whether and how companies approach social, governance, and environmental issues has become imperative for investors.

Currently, electric vehicles only make up approximately 2% of worldwide car sales. However, as pressures towards greener products increase, this market is predicted to grow bigger.

Electric cars are primed to become the new normal as environmental concerns increase and continue to be taken more seriously by world leaders. The question then falls on autonomous cars and how big a money pit that will prove to be due to the insurance, regulatory, moral, and legal hurdles involved in their usage.

Sanjana Yadav
Sanjana Yadav is a Literature graduate from the University of Delhi. She is a budding writer, a big foodie, and an avid animal lover. Thoughtful and compassionate with a refined aesthetic sense, she carries a rebellion within and has an opinion for anything and everything. A true Scorpion in every sense, she loves watching psychological thrillers and is always ready to indulge in dreamy conversations about life with a hot cup of coffee. Her optimism keeps everyone around her sane.

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