GM spends $ 7 billion more on electric and autonomous vehicles

U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) on Thursday said it intends to step up efforts in electric and autonomous vehicles with $ 7 billion in additional investments by 2025 to better cope with Tesla and younger competitors .

With the 20 billion already announced before the pandemic, the amount devoted to these two growth segments will be greater than that dedicated to the development of vehicles running on gasoline and diesel, underlined the boss of the group Mary Barra, during a conference organized by Barclays.

The American manufacturer has set a new goal: to produce 30 new models of electric vehicles by 2025. Up to now, it had aimed to assemble 20 by 2023.

The four brands of the group – Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick – will have all their versions, the idea being to offer a wide range of prices and models intended for both sporty driving and family transport.

The ultimate goal is to “become the group selling the most electric vehicles in North America,” said Ms. Barra. The market is currently clearly dominated by Tesla, which has taken a large lead.

“If we compare ourselves to the competition in the electric vehicle market, we think we have more flexibility, versatility, scale and experience than anyone else,” said Doug Parks, head of the product development at GM.

– Negotiations with Nikola –

The Detroit manufacturer was the first major automotive group to produce an electric vehicle in the 1990s. But it has since been largely overtaken by the company of Elon Musk, which has been able to bring this technology up to date against a backdrop of struggle. against global warming.

GM’s additional efforts “may help the company re-enter the game fully,” said Art Wheaton, an automotive specialist at Cornell University.

In terms of public perception, Tesla is clearly in the lead “thanks to the continued surge in its stock market share and the style of its vehicles,” he told AFP. Volkswagen, driven by the diesel emissions scandal, “has made some good decisions to position itself well,” he adds.

GM is a little behind at the same time when the future President of the United States, Joe Biden, could “decide to join the Paris Agreement and impose rules more favorable to the environment”, notes the specialist.

The group, which is particularly present in China, must also take into account the country’s authorities’ desire to encourage less polluting vehicles.

To catch up, GM plans to bring forward the launch of production of the electric versions of several models: at the end of 2021 for the Hummer, the legendary version of the all-purpose 4X4 of the American army, and in the first quarter of 2022 for the first electric Cadillac, which will be nine months ahead of the initial schedule.

GM executives on Thursday declined to comment on ongoing negotiations with electric and hydrogen truck designer Nikola.

A few days after the announcement of a strategic and financial partnership between the two groups at the beginning of September, an investment company accused Nikola of being a huge hoax and GM in the process decided to discuss their arrangement again.

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