GM plans to take its electric-car development to the next level with the rollout of a new electric-car model that it says will be 30% cheaper than its existing all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, thanks to innovations in battery technology and other engineering areas. GM CEO Mary Barra discussed her company’s electric-car plans Wednesday in an investor conference, in which she said that the new GM electric car will become available in 2021 and will be the basis for at least 20 new battery-powered vehicles by 2023.
Chevrolet is one of six car brands owned by GM. Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Holden, and Wuling are the others. Barra said that the upcoming electric-car model GM is developing will be flexible enough to accommodate nine different body styles in multiple sized, brands, and segments in the United States and worldwide.
Barra said that the new platform will cut the cost of lithium-ion batteries from $145 per kilowatt-hour to less than $100, partly by integrating the batteries into the vehicle’s floor. The company expects to sell a million electric cars a year by 2026.
“We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable,” Barra said.
It may also pose a formidable challenge to Tesla, whose production lines have been plagued by delays. The company has delivered only 260 Model 3s after launching the model last summer, and it has no set date for starting production of its upcoming Model Y.
Electric cars have a long history at GM. The first electric car in the modern era was a GM model: the Impact, a concept car that GM presented at a Los Angeles auto show in 1990. The company debuted the Volt in 2010 and the Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle in 2011. Chevrolet produced the first Bolt in 2016.