General Motors announced today that it is developing a next-generation Chevrolet Bolt based on the automaker’s Ultium battery and drivetrain technology to offer “great affordability, range and technology.” They are the next three electric vehicles that Chevrolet is already scheduled to launch this year: the Equinox and Blazer SUVs and the Silverado pickup.
GM CEO Mary Barra said during the company meeting Second Quarter Earnings Call that the new Bolt will be brought to market on “an accelerated timeline” but did not provide specific details on the launch date of the affordable EV after GM announced in April that it would stop manufacturing the original model that was plagued by fires and a costly battery recall.
“Our customers love the Bolt today. It has been generating record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry,” Barra said. “We will maintain momentum by delivering a new Bolt…and we will execute faster compared to an all-new program with significantly lower engineering and capital investment expenditures by upgrading the vehicle with Ultium and Ultifi technologies.”
Ongoing supply issues are reportedly hampering GM’s production of Ultium batteries.
The missing release date is yet another reminder of ongoing supply issues that are reportedly slowing down production of GM’s Ultium batteries. According a report published by The New York Times as of Tuesday, most of the 50,000 electric vehicles produced by GM in the first half of this year still use old third-party batteries, and GM has sold fewer than 2,800 vehicles in the US using its new Ultium battery packs.
Earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported that battery production was hampered by extensive problems with its supply chain. GM North America president Rory Harvey said the only supply chain issue impacting production was related to battery module capacity, saying he anticipates “many more electric vehicles will be built in the second half of this year.”
Ultium batteries are currently used in only a handful of GM vehicles, including the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, the $90,000 GMC Hummer and delivery vans under the automaker’s BrightDrop subsidiary brand.
During a conference call with reporters on Monday, GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said “it’s been a bit challenging” but says the company still aims to make 100,000 electric vehicles in the second half of 2023 as production ramps up. In February 2022, Barra announced the automaker’s plan to deliver 400,000 EVs in North America through 2023, with an ambitious goal of producing 1 million EVs in the region by 2025. That initial deadline of 400,000 units has expired. delayed until 2024 in October last year due to problems with battery production.
The opening of additional battery production facilities in Tennessee and Michigan is expected to ease sluggish production.
GM has spent a lot of money developing electric vehicles. The company announced plans to invest tens of billions of dollars to develop its Ultium batteries when it first introduced its modular EV platform in 2020. Some of that money was invested in building Ultium battery cell plants in the US.
Delays in rolling out new battery technology don’t appear to have a significant impact on GM’s cash inflow.
According to the company Q2 2023 Earnings According to this morning’s report, GM made a profit of $2.6 billion between April and June, up from $1.7 billion in the same period last year. Second-quarter overall revenue also rose nearly 20 percent, from $35.8 billion last year to $44.7 billion. bar said in a letter to shareholders that despite hitting its production targets of 50,000 EV units for the first half of the year, GM is “taking steps to reduce our capital spending,” with the goal of cutting operating costs by an additional $1 billion by the end of 2024.