After decades of EV trials, GM thinks having full portfolio is key to success


NASHVILLE — General Motors believes having a full portfolio of electric vehicles on sale at the same time will allow each of them to succeed more than previous, singular efforts have.

After selling the EV1 by itself in the late 1990s, followed by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid in 2010 and the Chevy Bolt in 2016, “we have learned a lot from ourselves,” GM President Mark Reuss said Wednesday at the Automotive News Congress in Nashville. In each case, having no other electrified offerings in the lineup made it hard for the automaker to promote that one model at the expense of its profitable, gasoline-powered vehicles.

“The company, at that time when we launched the original Bolt, was afraid and didn’t really get behind it,” Reuss said. “We would have liked to have had a portfolio of electric vehicles to go to market with. It’s hard to put one car in market and have anybody get behind it in a sales network.”

Now, GM is preparing to launch a slew of EVs powered by its proprietary Ultium batteries, co-developed with LG Energy Solutions. GM is investing $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 and aspires to have an all-electric portfolio by 2035.

The Ultium-powered portfolio started with the GMC Hummer pickup, which went on sale late last year and is priced at nearly $113,000. GM will start deliveries of the Cadillac Lyriq crossover, which costs around $60,000, this summer.

Next year, GM plans to roll out a Chevrolet Silverado pickup, Blazer crossover and Equinox crossover, all powered by Ultium batteries. The Equinox is expected to start at about $30,000.

The Bolt EV and EUV, meanwhile, are powered by GM’s previous-generation batteries.

“We made our own mistakes, and now we are pretty focused on what the right formula is,” Reuss said. “We’ll take that and really go at it.”

GM’s Ultium Cells joint venture with LG will manufacture battery cells in Warren, Ohio; Spring Hill, Tenn.; Lansing, Mich.; and a fourth U.S. location that hasn’t been revealed.

Reuss said the automaker will reveal that location soon but that it’s still vetting locations based on proximity to EV assembly plants. The cells have a modular design that allows them to be stacked horizontally or vertically to optimize energy density and vehicle layout.

Register for the second Automotive News Congress event on June 16 covering industry regulation.