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GM Doubles Down on EVs, Forecasts Rapid Production Expansion

General Motors is planning for the U.S. production and sale of some 1 million electric vehicles by the end of 2025, which would be 40 percent of the total number of vehicles sold in the U.S. last year.

From left, Britta Gross, director of transportation at EPRI, discusses an electric vehicle future with Jamie Hall, a senior strategist for electric vehicle policy and market development at General Motors, at the 2023 Forth Roadmap Conference in Portland, Ore.
Skip Descant/Government Technology
PORTLAND, Ore. — General Motors plans to produce 1 million electric vehicles for the U.S. market by 2025, and is assured its supply chain for battery and other materials can meet this volume.

“We have binding commitments securing all of the battery raw materials that we need for our goal of 1 million units of annual capacity by 2025,” said Jamie Hall, a senior strategist for electric vehicle policy and market development at General Motors, speaking at the recent Forth Roadmap electric vehicle conference.

This supply chain includes sourcing lithium from the Salton Sea in Southern California, “sustainable cobalt” from Australia and nickel from Canada, among other suppliers from “allied countries.”

“These are not handshake agreements, or sort of MOUs. These are binding commitments,” Hall stressed.

To put GM’s plan to produce 1 million EVs for the U.S. market by 2025 into perspective, the company sold 2.3 million vehicles in the United States last year.

As the world’s auto industries make the rapid shift to electric vehicles, the race to secure the precious metals needed for battery production has taken priority, with a number of reports showing China easily taking the lead in this area. This advantage is pushing U.S. automakers to step up efforts to secure a supply chain that can match their goals of repositioning their manufacturing operations away from fossil fuel-powered cars.

Also, federal incentives that make buying an EV cheaper are hinged on the domestic sourcing or production of the battery materials — or a U.S. trading partner — prompting even non-U.S. car makers to invest in the development of manufacturing facilities in the U.S. at the risk of a less competitive stance compared to companies like GM and Ford.

“Going this deep in the supply chain, and focusing on friendly countries, I think helps make our supply chain more resilient and secure, and helps us manage costs,” said Hall. “We’re all in, and we’re bringing together all the people across the company to line up what we need to make this a reality.”

This full court press toward the reorganization of one of the nation’s largest automakers toward an EV future will likely be experienced in other ways, say industry watchers. Britta Gross, director of transportation at EPRI, and who has a long history in the U.S. auto industry, predicted automakers will look to their EV models as the place to land tech innovations and other consumer-friendly car features.

“Over time, the gasoline vehicles, the diesel vehicles … just are not going to have the latest technology,” said Gross in her conversation with Hall during one of the opening sessions at the annual EV policy conference. “And it’s soon just going to become, if you want anything that looks like a new vehicle, it’s going to be one of the electric vehicles.”

But before this momentum can truly take shape, the development of charging infrastructure needs as much funding, innovation and widespread development as the cars themselves, said experts.

“What has to happen between now and 2025, 2030, is just staggering,” remarked Gross.

For its part, GM is working with its vast and well-connected dealer network to install 40,000 Level 2 chargers out into communities, said Hall. The company has also been working with EVgo to deploy about 3,200 fast chargers across 50 metro areas.

“This is charging in and around communities, potentially a solution, for example, for people in multi-unit dwellings who don’t have an easy home-charging option,” said Hall.

In addition, GM plans to install 2,000 high-speed chargers at 500 gas stations, which — like all of the charging it is proposing — would be open to all drivers.

“We’re not talking about getting chargers out there that are just sort of a walled garden for GM customers. This is about growing the overall public network,” said Hall.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.