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Title: GM CEO Mary Barra chip shortage, electric trucks, and the outlook for EV investment and adoption.

 

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Thanks, Scott. GM has a LOT riding on the Ultium Cell battery platform.

The Ultium Cell battery is designed to be chemistry agnostic but I either did not know or forgot that it's also cell form agnostic, accepting prismatic, pouch or cylindrical. Both of these equal a lot of flexibility for future battery upgrades/replacements.

I disagree with her team's strategic decision to drop the Voltec in favor of 100% EV focus so they can have a full lineup of EV's sooner. The target is 50% of their sales being EV by 2030 and 100% by 2035. She did not say it, but I read elsewhere they will also be tying upper management compensation to meeting those goals.

Interesting but not surprising that the focus for heavy duty vehicles will be fuel cell.

They are also looking into "services", e.g. monthly subscriptions.

Barely a mention on Cruise AV or BrightDrop.
 
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Thanks, Scott. GM has a LOT riding on the Ultium Cell battery platform.
You're welcome. She was talking about a new USA battery plant every year for 4 years. That'll make a big impact.

It seems to be the 'thing' on social media to point out how many EVs GM has sold in recent quarters and think they are making a point. It is silly once you see videos like the above with the plans GM has.

GM sells a ton of trucks too (GMC + Chevrolet). Competition is good for all of us.

General Motors/GM (GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Hummer)
 

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It seems to be the 'thing' on social media to point out how many EVs GM has sold in recent quarters and think they are making a point. It is silly once you see videos like the above with the plans GM has.
I see it here too, "GM is doing nothing with EV's" with the poster not realizing how much is going on to gear up for a lot of EV changes across GM brands. The trucks don't interest me, but the Chevy EQuinox does.
 

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I see it here too, "GM is doing nothing with EV's" with the poster not realizing how much is going on to gear up for a lot of EV changes across GM brands. The trucks don't interest me, but the Chevy EQuinox does.
GM does deserve some criticism when it comes to plug-in cars. Track record is important and some politicians look like they are sucking up to GM because of the unions.

Marry says they are going to be #1 in EVs, but they better have something up their sleeve, because the other US manufacturers are already planning to beat GM.
 

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Marry says they are going to be #1 in EVs, but they better have something up their sleeve, because the other US manufacturers are already planning to beat GM.
What would "having something up their sleeve" look like?

Your comment seems like Exhibit A of someone saying "GM is doing nothing with EV's". As a reminder of what GM has been doing:
  • The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is on sale now and the 2024 Hummer SUV (production in Q1 of 2023). Reservations have topped 59,000.
  • The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will launch May 19.
  • The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup has 110,000 reservations so far. The Work Truck version launch is first, in spring 2023, followed by the RST for retail customers in fall 2023.
  • GM has economies of scale to come from introducing 20 new North American EVs by 2025, plus 10 overseas (China, plus ?).
  • There will be a new EV positioned below the $30,000 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV compact electric crossover. Speculation is it would be a subcompact replacing four small SUVS, the original Chevy Bolt EV hatch and the larger Bolt EUV crossover electric vehicles as well as the Chevy Trax subcompact and the step-up Chevy Trailblazer gas-powered crossovers.
  • There will also be a 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV positioned above the Equinox EV, arriving in spring 2023; the 2023 Equinox EV follows in fall. The smaller EV mentioned above will follow the Equinox.
  • Cruise robotaxi, the autonomous vehicle arm of GM, has officially begun offering the public robotaxi rides in San Francisco. Cruise needs one final permit to be able to charge drivers for their rides and will add 500 jobs as it prepares for commercialization.
  • Production of the Cruise Origin driverless pod will begin in Michigan later this year. Barra expects Cruise to be generating $50 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade. Personal autonomous vehicles from Cruise are expected mid-decade.
  • The CAMI plant in Ontario will start producing BrightDrop electric delivery vans later this year, starting with capacity of 30,000 a year and quickly doubling.
  • Four battery megafactories. The first Ultium Cells joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution to make battery cells will open around August 2022 in Lordstown, Ohio, followed by plant No. 2 in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in 2023, then plant No.3 in Lansing, Michigan, in 2024 and the location of plant No.4 will be announced in the next six months.
  • Chevy Bolts and Bolt EUVs are being outfitted with new batteries after the massive recall to prevent risk of fire that had shuttered the plant since last summer (now restarted). Mine was replaced about a month ago. 260 miles is what my range now displays. The old cells, from LG, had two rare manufacturing defects, Barra says, but GM recalled everything to err on the side of caution. The issues have been found and resolved, more robust processes have been put in place, and the CEO says she has full confidence in their quality.
  • A third full-size electric truck plant will be announced, in addition to Factory Zero and the retooled and expanded Orion Assembly plant, both of which are in Michigan.
  • GM's semiconductor chip shortage will slowly ease as they consolidate down to three chips.
  • GM is targeting 50% of their sales being EV by 2030 and 100% by 2035. They will also be tying upper management compensation to meeting those goals.
So I ask again, what would "having something up their sleeve" look like?
 

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What would "having something up their sleeve" look like?

Your comment seems like Exhibit A of someone saying "GM is doing nothing with EV's". As a reminder of what GM has been doing:
  • The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is on sale now and the 2024 Hummer SUV (production in Q1 of 2023). Reservations have topped 59,000.
  • The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will launch May 19.
  • The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup has 110,000 reservations so far. The Work Truck version launch is first, in spring 2023, followed by the RST for retail customers in fall 2023.
  • GM has economies of scale to come from introducing 20 new North American EVs by 2025, plus 10 overseas (China, plus ?).
  • There will be a new EV positioned below the $30,000 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV compact electric crossover. Speculation is it would be a subcompact replacing four small SUVS, the original Chevy Bolt EV hatch and the larger Bolt EUV crossover electric vehicles as well as the Chevy Trax subcompact and the step-up Chevy Trailblazer gas-powered crossovers.
  • There will also be a 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV positioned above the Equinox EV, arriving in spring 2023; the 2023 Equinox EV follows in fall. The smaller EV mentioned above will follow the Equinox.
  • Cruise robotaxi, the autonomous vehicle arm of GM, has officially begun offering the public robotaxi rides in San Francisco. Cruise needs one final permit to be able to charge drivers for their rides and will add 500 jobs as it prepares for commercialization.
  • Production of the Cruise Origin driverless pod will begin in Michigan later this year. Barra expects Cruise to be generating $50 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade. Personal autonomous vehicles from Cruise are expected mid-decade.
  • The CAMI plant in Ontario will start producing BrightDrop electric delivery vans later this year, starting with capacity of 30,000 a year and quickly doubling.
  • Four battery megafactories. The first Ultium Cells joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution to make battery cells will open around August 2022 in Lordstown, Ohio, followed by plant No. 2 in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in 2023, then plant No.3 in Lansing, Michigan, in 2024 and the location of plant No.4 will be announced in the next six months.
  • Chevy Bolts and Bolt EUVs are being outfitted with new batteries after the massive recall to prevent risk of fire that had shuttered the plant since last summer (now restarted). Mine was replaced about a month ago. 260 miles is what my range now displays. The old cells, from LG, had two rare manufacturing defects, Barra says, but GM recalled everything to err on the side of caution. The issues have been found and resolved, more robust processes have been put in place, and the CEO says she has full confidence in their quality.
  • A third full-size electric truck plant will be announced, in addition to Factory Zero and the retooled and expanded Orion Assembly plant, both of which are in Michigan.
  • GM's semiconductor chip shortage will slowly ease as they consolidate down to three chips.
  • GM is targeting 50% of their sales being EV by 2030 and 100% by 2035. They will also be tying upper management compensation to meeting those goals.
So I ask again, what would "having something up their sleeve" look like?
How about Tesla with a million EVs sold last year and looking to sell up to two million this year? The reality is that GM had the lead a decade ago and frittered it away.
 
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How about Tesla with a million EVs sold last year and looking to sell up to two million this year? The reality is that GM had the lead a decade ago and frittered it away.
Are you saying the answer to "better have something up their sleeve?" is a time machine to go back 10 years, gut the company by stopping production of all ICE production and focus solely on EV's? Or is this just a "shoulda coulda woulda" statement of regret that serves little purpose at this point given that they seem to be doing now what you wanted them to do then?
 

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Still using lack of chip excuse, though.
what wicked web, they do weave :)
Yeah, everybody is using that excuse. Wonder why. You'd think they'd come up with something original. :p :LOL:
 

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Are you saying the answer to "better have something up their sleeve?" is a time machine to go back 10 years, gut the company by stopping production of all ICE production and focus solely on EV's? Or is this just a "shoulda coulda woulda" statement of regret that serves little purpose at this point given that they seem to be doing now what you wanted them to do then?
I'm saying that GM should never have stopped development of EV technology.
 

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I hope they deliver all of their plans early, like 5 years early. All of those different models are great, but if they can produce enough battery cells then they will limit themselves.
I'm saying that GM should never have stopped development of EV technology.
Did they stop? I don't have a complete timeline for everything "EV" GM has been doing since the Volt, but here's a decent list to consider:

2007 Volt concept with sales starting late December 2010. 3 years development
2009 The Cadillac Converj started for eventual sale in 2015 as the 2016 ELR. 5 years.
2012 Work on the Bolt EV started for 2017 release. 5 years.
2016 Cruise Automation (with 40 employees) bought. By 2021 it had 1,163 employees and a working driverless car based on the Bolt.
2018 The Cadillac Lyric BEV was started for 2021 sales (delayed due to covid). Sales start this summer. 4 years.
2020 construction starts on 1st Ultium megafactory for 2022 opening. 2 years
2020 Work on the Bolt EUV redesign started for 2021 release. 1 year.
2020 Cruise Origin ride sharing AV shown. $50k to manufacture at scale with one million mile lifespan. Level 4-5 self driving.
2020 work on Hummer BEV started just after the Gen 2 Volt ended production. Sales 2022. 2 years.
2021 second Ultium battery plant announced for 2023. 2 years
2022 Cruise petitions and receives NHTSA permission to remove driver controls.
2022 Silverado EV shown for 2024 sale. 2 years.

On average, an all new car takes about 4-7 years for design, tooling, etc. GM's been doing a pretty decent job of turning cars around in 2-4 years. Many, many, many billions have been spent on the EV ramp up. That does not seem like stopping, unless you are referring to the Volt discontinuation after 2019?

It's possible to shorten the process in extreme cases to about 2-3 years. The Volt and the Hummer are examples, but knocking off 5 years from a 3-4 year development would be magic :) Despite the Covid delay, the Cadillac Lyrique development time was moved up by 9 months.

So what goes into those years from concept to in the dealer showroom?



1. INVENTION
MONTHS 0–72

Research market, including in-house and field investigations, to identify the role of this product and its components in the global portfolio; define separation from similar models sold by sister brands
Identify special features, advantages, and potential world, U.S., or segment firsts
Define competitive set, target customers; set curb-weight, fuel-economy, and performance goals
Competitive assessment
Powertrain selection
Budget, funding, pricing, investment considerations
Computer-aided-engineering (CAE) analysis
Customer, press, analyst clinics

2. DESIGN
MONTHS 0–72 (FOLLOWING MARKET RESEARCH)

Interior—sketches, theme selection, model build, continuous reviews
Exterior—same as above until design freeze
Exterior colors, interior-trim materials selection
Wind-tunnel assessment of theme models
Concept creation for management presentation, potential auto-show use
Additional CAE
Management and engineering reviews

3. ENGINEERING
MONTHS 0–72 (CONCURRENT WITH DESIGN)

Additional CAE
Customer clinics aimed at gathering current model feedback, suggestions for improvements
Research advanced technologies—engines, transmissions, motors, electronic controls, manufacturing techniques (painting, metal forming, plastic molding), and emerging trends
Package, layout studies
Body design and development for crashworthiness, weight, durability (in conjunction with CAE efforts)
Aerodynamic development
Design, development, tuning, validation (in-lab and on-road) of:
Powertrain
Chassis
HVAC, infotainment, seats, lighting systems
Hot-, cold-, wet-weather tests
Crash tests
Fuel-economy evaluations
Design for manufacturing and assembly studies
Component and manufacturing cost analysis
Collaborate with suppliers for R&D of purchased components
Safety and emissions certification

4. MANUFACTURING
MONTHS 36–72

Design for manufacturing and assembly
Construct or modify production facilities
Tooling design, construction, validation
Pilot builds to validate process and parts
On-line preproduction builds
Quality improvements
Confirm that production vehicle meets performance targets
Train workforce
Collaborate with suppliers
Commence production of saleable autos

5. LAUNCH
MONTHS 60–72

Market research
Naming research (if needed)
Define pricing
Develop marketing theme
Introduce product to dealer body
Plan logistics (flow of vehicles to dealers)
Create promotional (media and advertising) materials
Craft presentations for management, auto shows, press, social media, dealers, analysts

 

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Yes, the criticism of GM sucks because sucks GM is not doing nothing on EVs.

Focus on the numbers and admit the underperformance and go there:
2021 Q4 EV sales 26
2022 Q1 Plug-In 457

The good thing is that going up is the only place to go. Obviously, a missed opportunity.



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2020 construction starts on 1st Ultium megafactory for 2022 opening. 2 years
I could not find many details on the first battery factory, but it sounds like mid- 2022. I would expect a meaningful production next year if everything goes as planned.


Do that, but just hurry up.
 

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Yes, the criticism of GM sucks because sucks GM is not doing nothing on EVs.
"Not doing nothing" means they are doing something, we agree. :)

Focus on the numbers and admit the underperformance and go there:
2021 Q4 EV sales 26
2022 Q1 Plug-In 457
Sales is a different metric. I'm not disputing the sales numbers.

Given they only had the Bolt and it's production was halted for 9 months (?) during the battery replacements, lack of mega sales does not surprise me.

I'm saying GM is doing a lot of needed preparation to make sales across their various brands and product range for 20 new EV's under GMC, Chevy, Cadillac, Buick brands from full-sized trucks to SUV's to CUV's and whatever you want to call the Lyriq (SUV? but looks like a European shooting brake to me). So 20 new EV's with the first being the Hummer EV already on sale and Lyriq this summer. The next 3-5 years will tell whether they make their sales forecasts.


I could not find many details on the first battery factory, but it sounds like mid- 2022. I would expect a meaningful production next year if everything goes as planned.
Targeted production launch in August for the first Ultium plant with about 20 percent of planned capacity. Installation of the remaining capacity will continue through 2023, she said. The facility will have multiple assembly lines.

 

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As for stopping EVs comment I wasn't thinking After Volt, I was thinking after EV1, finished in 1999. eight years till the Volt concept came out. Back in that time frame it was recognized that a car took 5 years to come out (not that it couldn't take longer). Honda did it in four which meant they where 1 year ahead of other manufacturers as to new technology. This made Toyota look very stuck in the mud and makers of Grandma's car (albeit it pretty bullet proof). it would be interesting to see GM's actual diagnosis of information of EV1, and work done on Volt up to the introduction of Volt concept (preproduction). All secret I suppose and someone wanting to do a documentary on that would likely not have access to that.
 

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And in the mean time lets sell some gas junk;)
Yup, with the Bolt EV I don't miss the tickety tickety tickety gas engine nor the trips to the gas station. Even the Volt's rare FMM and EMM are starting to sound (and smell) like a nuisance to me.

GM (and the other legacy makers) are like a smoker trying to quit. They are in the nicotine patch stage, ha.Going cold turkey was not an option. They need to keep the lights on and people employed while making the R&D and production transition while betting billions in the process. Ford's approach is interesting, cutting the company in two with a gas division and an electric division. Perhaps they had more internal pushback on going EV than GM did.

VW seems to be in the GM mindset rather than Ford's split the baby approach. But they are also building out their cgharging ststion infrastructure more like Tesla. GM is still encouraging charging stations but are taking a more arms length approach. That may be a mistake as I see Tesla's charging stations as a plus for Tesla owners.
 
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Yup, with the Bolt EV I don't miss the tickety tickety tickety gas engine nor the trips to the gas station. Even the Volt's rare FMM and EMM are starting to sound (and smell) like a nuisance to me.

GM (and the other legacy makers) are like a smoker trying to quit. They are in the nicotine patch stage, ha.Going cold turkey was not an option. They need to keep the lights on and people employed while making the R&D and production transition while betting billions in the process. Ford's approach is interesting, cutting the company in two with a gas division and an electric division. Perhaps they had more internal pushback on going EV than GM did.

VW seems to be in the GM mindset rather than Ford's split the baby approach. But they are also building out their cgharging ststion infrastructure more like Tesla. GM is still encouraging charging stations but are taking a more arms length approach. That may be a mistake as I see Tesla's charging stations as a plus for Tesla owners.
I don't miss the gas engines either but I still own a 2006 Colorado with low miles so it will probably be around as long a I am. Filled it up last fall with premium and added a bottle of Stabile to the tank should last a while. Don't miss the refueling sessions on a weekly basis like with my 1997 454 1 ton dually, thirsty bastard took two 30 gallon tanks a week.

The Bolt is a very nice car with home charging and a big solar array it is like driving for free. The Volt is kind of a PITA with its annual trip for fueling. ;)

As far as charging stations go GM approach in 2022 to add the heavy outlet in the owners garage is a step in the right direction as that is where the majority of charging will take place and with the government getting involved in charging infrastructure maybe the smartest move, let Joe pay for it.
 
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