GM boosts EV spending by 35%, moves to increase battery production


(Reuters) – General Motors Co on Thursday stepped up its challenge to electric vehicle leader Tesla Inc , boosting planned spending on future electric models by 35% to more than $27 billion and outlining plans to increase battery output to meet ramped-up vehicle production targets.

Over time, GM plans to offer electric vehicles across its lineup, from below $30,000 to over $100,000, with a goal of “putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” Chief Executive Mary Barra plans to tell investors Thursday during a conference sponsored by Barclays.

That ambition is shared by Tesla and by German automaker Volkswagen AG, which last week outlined an $86-billion electric vehicle investment plan. GM and VW compete head to head in China.

GM expects to boost battery-making capacity at the plant it is building in northeast Ohio with South Korea’s LG Chem and will increase the number of plants in which it builds electric vehicles, officials said ahead of Barra’s presentation.

Tesla’s soaring market capitalization, and growing pressure from regulators to phase out carbon-emitting gasoline engines, has put pressure on established automakers to accelerate production of electric vehicles, even though for now those models promise less profit than current trucks and SUVs.

GM confirmed it will speed up the rollout of new EVs, and will offer 30 models globally by 2025, expanding on a prior target of 20 electric models by 2023. GM reiterated it is targeting annual sales of 1 million EVs in the United States and China by 2025.

GM’s pitch to investors focuses on the company’s Ultium battery technology, which GM said will now offer electric driving range of up to 450 miles on a single charge, up from 400 previously stated.

The second generation of Ultium batteries, available mid-decade, should close most of the cost gap with gasoline engines, GM global product development chief Doug Parks said on a call with reporters.

GM plans to start selling the Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV by the first quarter of 2022, nine months earlier than previously planned. GM is speeding up three GMC vehicles beyond the already-revealed Hummer EV, including a pickup truck; four Chevrolet models, including a pickup and compact crossover; and three other Cadillacs. It also said Buick’s lineup will include two EVs.

Barra and other GM executives have been signaling for weeks that the automaker plans to compete more aggressively in the emerging EV market.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Nick Zieminski