General Motors will launch two new Chevrolet Bolt-based battery-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, and by 2023 have “at least” 20 new BEV or fuel cell models in its lineup, company executive vice president of product development Mark Reuss announced in Warren, Michigan. The cars and trucks are part of a strategy based on GM’s belief in an “all-electric future,” according to Reuss.
Although Reuss did not put a timeline on that all-electric future, he referenced GM CEO Mary Barra’s recently stated goal of “a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”
“We are far along on our plan to lead that future world,” Reuss said.
What’s more, GM is confident that its work in developing pure battery electric vehicles has paid off in reducing costs of the technology.
“This application of the next-generation electrics will be profitable,” Reuss said. “End of story.”
The BEV and fuel cell announcement is a clear shot at electric vehicle upstart Tesla, which posted a net loss of nearly $675 million last year, and has yet to earn an annual net profit. Musk has said Tesla plans to produce 500,000 electric cars annually by the end of 2018, and 1 million by 2020, though so far it operates just one factory, the former GM-Toyota joint venture that never built more than 430,000 per year.
The first two new electric vehicles will be “based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV,” GM said in a statement. The company hints that the other 18-plus EV models will come off a revised or all-new platform derived from the Bolt, using a “structured battery pack” that can be built to two different heights, with flexibility to fit any kind of vehicle. The new electrification strategy will be “multi-brand, multi-use,” Reuss said.
It’s pretty clear the calendar-2023 GM lineup will include Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs. The fuel cell strategy—a technology that Tesla’s Musk has rejected—will apparently lean toward larger vehicles, such as commercial and military trucks. Last year, GM and Honda announced plans to cooperate on fuel cell development, with plans for a joint venture dedicated fuel cell factory by 2025.