General Motors (GM -0.40%) will spend $20 billion by 2025 to launch a range of battery-electric vehicles powered by new low-cost batteries, CEO Mary Barra said in a presentation to investors and media on Wednesday.
Barra's presentation was one of a series intended to show investors and media that GM will be a major player in the emerging world of electric and automated vehicles.
The key element of GM's strategy is a new lithium-ion battery, called Ultium, that GM said will give it engineering flexibility while reducing battery cell costs to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour.
Batteries are the most expensive components in electric vehicles. GM has said for several years that the $100-per-kilowatt-hour level is the point at which electric vehicles will become cost-competitive with internal-combustion models.
The Ultium batteries are a key component of GM's new vehicle strategy, in which it will build a wide range of vehicles for all of its brands using a highly flexible, common architecture. Barra said that GM expects the Ultium batteries and new architectures to be profitable early in their lifecycle.
Those batteries will power new electric vehicles for all four of its U.S. brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM said that the new electric models will include a revamped Chevrolet Bolt and a related SUV, a new electric Hummer SUV for GMC, new crossovers for Buick, and several Cadillacs, including a hand-built luxury flagship.
The first of the new electrics, a Cadillac SUV called the Lyriq, will be shown next month, GM said. Now that GM has shown its hand on its bold, new electric vehicle strategy, it's time to execute.