As GM grapples with battery module assembly issues, production and sales of EVs fall short of expectations.
GM made some lofty promises about its Ultium battery technology that was meant to help it sell more EVs than Tesla. But things aren't quite going to plan. Paul Jacobson, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of GM, has openly acknowledged the company's challenges in scaling up the production of its electric vehicles (EVs) equipped with Ultium technology, according to Reuters.
Speaking at an investor conference, Jacobson highlighted that the company's electric vehicle lineup, encompassing models such as the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV has been affected by difficulties in assembling battery modules.
CEO Mary Barra initially highlighted this predicament during last month's second-quarter earnings call, where she also announced the development of the new Chevrolet Bolt.
The situation was substantial enough to prompt GM to temporarily shut down its CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, for two weeks in July due to reported battery shortages.
The slow progression in Ultium battery manufacturing has not only impacted the availability of current vehicle models but also raised concerns about potential delays in the rollout of GM's entire planned EV lineup. This includes already-revealed models like the Chevrolet Blazer EV, Equinox EV, and the recently launched Cadillac Escalade IQ.
The difficulties in Ultium battery production have significantly hindered the sales of GM's EVs utilizing this in-house battery technology. Sales figures for the first half of 2023 reveal that only 2,316 units of the Cadillac Lyriq crossover were sold and a mere 65 units of the GMC Hummer EV found new homes.
Sales of the Cadillac Lyriq have actually regressed compared to 2022, during which 8,195 units were sold, though still falling short of the projected 25,000 units.
Jacobson did highlight a positive aspect: GM's majority-owned Cruise automated vehicle operation is entering a phase of substantial operational expansion despite initial reports of delays, with over 400 vehicles already deployed. He indicated that Cruise has largely overcome its technological challenges and aims to achieve $1 billion in revenue by 2025 while improving margins through cost-reduction efforts.
GM's plans for Ultium technology cover various products, including powering EVs and even a home electrical system.