General Motors is planning to launch a new lineup of electric vehicles during 2021 that would cost less and make and generate profit for the No. 1 automaker in the U.S., said CEO Mary Barra on Wednesday.
Barra’s plan is a direct challenge to Tesla Inc. the specialist in electric vehicles that continues to lose money, and is struggling with getting it vehicles more affordable, launching its high-volume new Model 3 and recently posted its quarterly loss that was its biggest to date.
Barra added that GM was committed to an electric vehicle portfolio in the future that is profitable.
Electric as well as autonomous vehicles, which in the industry are known as EVs and AVs, continue to be widely seen as the main players in future transport, but Ford Motor, Tesla and other makers are working on how they will make money selling them.
GM looks to break that pattern through developing a platform completely new for electric vehicles that would accommodate different sizes and segments, that different GM brands would sell in the U.S. as well as China, which adds new information to the aggressive electrification strategy.
Last month, GM announced that it planned to launch by 2023, 20 new electric vehicles, but no specifics were released.
In comparison, Ford has plans that would introduce 13 new electrified vehicles, with most being hybrid gas-electric models that would be available in 2022.
Shares of GM were 0.4% lower in Wednesday trading, while Ford and Tesla shares were down as well.
Barra said that GM has a goal of selling 1 million of its electric vehicles per year before the end of 2026, of which many would be in China. The Beijing government enacted strict quotas for production of the vehicles.
On Monday, the chief of GM in China said that the automaker and its partners in joint ventures would meet the 2019 electric car requirements there without purchasing credits from other businesses.
The efforts in cost reduction by GM on its electric vehicles are centered on its new battery system which will be over 30% less expensive than another one currently powering it Chevrolet Bolt.
The company is aiming to lower cost from $145 per kilowatt/hour to less than $100, by 2021. That would bring the overall cost of electric vehicles far closer to comparable models powered by gasoline or diesel engines.