Mary Barra, Chief Executive of General Motors Co GM.N, said the Detroit automaker is accelerating a all out pursuit of global EV leadership,” targeting Tesla Inc TSLA.O, the leader of electric vehicles, with expanded spending and accelerated automotive production targets.
Over time, during a conference sponsored by Barclays, GM plans to sell electric cars across its lineup, from below $30,000 to over $100,000, with the goal of putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” Barra told investors Thursday.
Barra said that in coastal states where the company’s brands are weak, EVs could help GM expand sales in the United States by as much as 280,000 vehicles a year. “In North America, we want to be No. 1 in EVs,” Barra said.
By 2023, GM plans to increase investment on electric and autonomous vehicles to $27 billion, up 35% from previous announced plans, she added. The automaker is now planning to accelerate the release of a dozen new hybrid vehicles.
The aspirations of GM to be the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles placed it on a collision path with Tesla and the German automaker Volkswagen AGVOWG p.DE, which outlined an investment strategy for electric vehicles of $86 billion last week. In China, GM and VW meet head to head.
After Barra outlined her EV plan, GM shares rallied into positive territory. On Thursday, Tesla shares were up 3 percent, driving the carmaker toward a market capitalization of $475 billion that is almost eight times greater than GM’s.
Some investors have urged Barra to split the activities of GM’s electric cars from the profitable, legacy internal combustion company of the automaker. “Asked about a spinoff of the operations of GM’s skateboard or battery, Barra said, “We don’t think it needs to be isolated.
Instead, Barra discussed the value she sees of merging internal combustion and electric vehicle industries, adding that up to 70 percent of the parts used in conventional automobiles can be used by EVs.
With South Korea’s LG Chem051910.KS, GM will expand battery-making capability at the plant it is building in northeast Ohio and will increase the number of plants where it manufactures electric vehicles, Barra said.
The rising market capitalization of Tesla, and the demand from regulators to phase out carbon-emitting gasoline engines, has placed pressure on existing car producers to ramp up electric vehicle production, even as these models offer less benefit for now than current trucks and SUVs.
Last year when it sided with the U.S., GM was attacked by Democrats and environmentalists. President Donald Trump backed attempts to strip California of imposing its own rules on vehicle emissions and, later, Trump’s decision to slash the quality standards of the Obama period. GM has announced that it will accelerate the deployment of new EVs and will sell 30 models worldwide by 2025, raising the previous target to 20 electric models by 2023.
Barra said GM wants to surpass its previous target of annual sales in the United States and China of 1 million EVs by 2025. GM’s presentation to investors focused on the Ultium battery technology of the firm, which GM said will now deliver up to 450 miles of electric drive range on a single charge up from 400 previously suggested.
GM Global Product Marketing Manager Doug Parks said on a call to reporters that the second generation of Ultium batteries available in mid-decade, could close much of the cost difference with gasoline engines.
GM also said that it was establishing an umbrella group called Ultifi for its electric car and digital marketing activities.