Tech

GM beats Tesla with electric cars, boats, planes and trucks

General Motors begins production of electric boats. In fact, like an American auto giant pushes President Joe Biden’s flamboyant and ambitious plan to accelerate electric vehicle production, GM is also working somewhat quietly on the search for electric vehicles. aircraft, trains, and delivery trucks – all powered by their own battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

From the wide range of electric vehicles that GM is developing, you may actually have the opportunity to ride or ride one of the new electric boats. The company recently announced that bought a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup that makes outboard motors for battery-powered boats. As part of the agreement, GM will provide Pure Watercraft components at the same discount as its internal divisions and help Pure Watercraft build its manufacturing network. After GM’s investment of $ 150 million in cash and in kind, Pure Watercraft is valued at $ 600 million.

The companies did not share what specific products they would be working on together, but the team behind GM Forward Marine First, an electric pontoon boat, was the first. debuted at the Miami International Boat Show. in 2019 we will join the collaboration.

“Shipping has historically benefited from advances in automotive technology,” Andy Rebele, CEO of Pure Watercraft, told Recode. “They’ve been using car engines and automotive technology in boats for many, many years, and this is the epitome of what is happening in the era of electric vehicles.”

GM’s immersion in the electric boat industry is a sign that the company is serious about its “all-electric future… »This commitment includes investing at least 35 billion dollars to release 30 electric vehicle models worldwide by 2025 – 20 of these cars will be available in the US. GM went even further this year and announced it. will phase out all gas and diesel vehicles by 2035. and make our operations carbon neutral by 2040. The company is now rushing to build the tools and factories needed to achieve this goal.

Key to GM’s electric dream is Ultium’s lithium-ion battery technology, which will be used in a wide range of vehicles. V partnership with LG, company spends billions on the construction of two production plants for batteries in Ohio and Tennesseeto be completed in 2022 and 2023, respectively. More battery factories could follow in the coming years. GM also entered into a strategic sourcing agreement with semiconductor maker Wolfspeed earlier this fall to protect computer chips that designed for electric vehicles… And just last week, GM received President Biden at the grand opening of its newly refurbished $ 2.2 billion electric vehicle assembly plant, Factory Zero… The GMC Hummer electric pickup trucks and the Chevy Silverado trucks will be some of the first vehicles produced here.

“The reason EVs always cost more than an equivalent combustion engine is because of the battery,” said Carl Brower, executive analyst for the automotive search website iSeeCars.com, to Recode. “Controlling everything about batteries – production and cost – is probably the most efficient thing a car company can do in a world moving towards electric vehicles.”

As the company has doubled its electric vehicle manufacturing capacity, it has also developed components that can be retrofitted for other modes of transportation. In particular, GM has invested heavily in its Hydrotec. hydrogen fuel cell technologywhich uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to generate electricity. (Unlike batteries, which store electricity directly, these fuel cells store hydrogen, which is then converted to electricity.) The company has already found several clients for this technology, including cargo company Navistar, aerospace equipment manufacturer Liebherr-Aerospace, a freight rail manufacturer Wabtecwhich uses Hydrotec fuel cells as well as GM Ultium batteries.

GM’s road to an all-electric future will not be easy. GM is essentially competing with every legacy automaker in the world to grab its share of the electric vehicle market, and there have already been some mistakes. Earlier this year, the company recalled all 141,000 electric Chevy Bolt electric vehicles it has been in production since 2017 due to the risk of fire associated with the battery. Meanwhile, new EV startups are attracting a lot of attention and investment. Electric truck manufacturer Rivian and luxury electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid have compete with or even surpass the stock valuation Ford, GM and Stellantis, which own Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. Tesla is also showing no signs of slowing growth. Company plans to complete the construction of a new Gigafactory, an electric vehicle plant in Texas this year, and recently became trillion dollar company

Many other companies are carving out their niches in the electric vehicle industry. Aside from Pure Watercraft, the electric boat sector also includes a startup called Arc, which is building a $ 300,000 24-foot boat with top speed 40 mph… Electric semi-trailers are under development at several factories, including Chinese car manufacturers. BYD and Geely and Tesla… There are also startups developing electric air taxis, some of which will also be autonomous. Palo Alto-based Kitty Hawk plans to launch its maiden flight in next few months with CEO Sebastian Trun as the first passenger. Some firms are even developing electric tractors

But GM may have an edge. Biden has frequently expressed support for union-backed auto companies and trusted GM CEO Mary Barra for the electrification of “the entire auto industry.” The White House also does not have the best relationship with Tesla, which has no union and was not invited to the August White House Electric Vehicle Summit. At the same time, Biden’s Build Back Better spending package will, among other things, provide additional tax credits for electric vehicles made in the US and manufactured by union companies. exactly what GM is trying to do

And then there’s the fact that GM is a century old car manufacturer that produces over half a billion cars throughout his corporate life. This experience could be critical as GM seeks to integrate not only its cars, but many different modes of transportation into its electric future.

This story originally appeared in the Recode newsletter. Sign here so don’t miss the next one!


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