DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co, as part of a $27 billion initiative to match or surpass Tesla Inc in the electric vehicle sector, is working with “all the best startups” on next-generation EV battery technology while planning a big boost in production capacity for its new Ultium battery system, an executive said on Monday.
“We’re partnering with some great companies,” including Honda Motor and LG Chem, on electric vehicles and batteries, said Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development. But “we’re also looking outside the company to startups to get on the front edge of that learning curve.”
Parks, speaking at an investor conference, said GM continues to build its relationship with Honda, with whom the U.S. automaker is jointly developing several future electric vehicles.
“There’s an opportunity for more,” Parks said. “We could extend that relationship to other segments,” including sharing combustion-engine vehicles and platforms with Honda.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said nearly a year ago that the automaker had boosted its spending budget on electric and automated vehicles from $20 billion to $27 billion through 2025.
Parks said much of that $7 billion increase is tied to spending on additional production capacity for the Ultium battery, which is slated to go into production in Ohio next year in a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem.
With all the electric vehicles that GM has planned for North America – some 20 models by 2025 – “we’re going to need more capacity” for batteries, Parks said. “So there’s more investment coming after the initial wave in Ohio.”
Industry leader Tesla last year sold just under 500,000 EVs globally.