General Motors Co plans to launch a series of electric vehicles in 2021 that will cost less to develop and build, and will furthermore, make a profit for the U.S. No. 1 automaker, Chief Executive Mary Barra told investors earlier this week.
Her plans demonstrate an aggressive electrification strategy and direct challenge to electric vehicle specialist Tesla Inc, which is struggling to get its more affordable Model 3 launched.
“We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable,” Barra said at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York.
Electric and autonomous vehicles will underpin the future of transport; however, Tesla and other manufacturers are still trying to understand how to gain a profit from them.
GM is looking to break through this by creating an all-new electric vehicle family that will accommodate multiple sizes and variations, to be sold by different GM brands in the United States and China, Barra said.
GM’s cost reduction efforts on electric vehicles revolve around the creation of a cheaper new battery system.
By 2021 the company aims to make its lithium-ion batteries less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, instead of the current $145 per kilowatt-hour battery. This would bring the overall cost of electric vehicles closer to gasoline-engine equivalents.
GM announced that the batteries would be able to hold more energy and charge quicker. With the aim to boost the kilometre range to more than 483 km with the new batteries.
GM’s new electric vehicle platform will act as a base for at least nine derivatives, ranging from a compact crossover to a large seven-passenger luxury sports utility vehicle and a large commercial van.