This is huge.
Back in March, General Motors announced some seriously ambitious plans for a new range of electric vehicles, including the GMC Hummer EV which would be based around a cost-effective new battery pack architecture called "Ultium". This modular battery design drew the attention of Honda Motor Company, and the two decided to enter into an agreement to jointly develop a pair of battery-electric vehicles using GM's Ultium tech.
Now comes the news that Honda and GM have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding toward establishing a strategic alliance in North America, which is a dramatic escalation of their previous agreement. The two will be exploring the possibility of sharing vehicle platforms and propulsion systems, as well as sharing innovative technologies and research.
This alliance builds on an already successful relationship between the two motoring giants and seeks to combine forces on everything from cooperative purchasing to research, development and connected services.
Under the proposed alliance, Honda and GM could work together on a wide variety of projects and will share both electrified and internal combustion propulsion systems. Things are moving fast, and there are already plans for engineering work to begin in early 2021. This announcement follows up on an agreement signed in April to build two new all-electric vehicles powered by GM's Ultium battery technology. The relationship between the two stretches back two decades and includes advancements in fuel cell batteries and autonomous driving.
"This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realize significant synergies in the development of today's vehicle portfolio," said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors.
Not only will this alliance drive new technologies, but it will also "generate substantial cost efficiencies from shared vehicle platforms and propulsion systems." This cost-saving will focus on joint sourcing of materials, logistics, and localization strategies and will allow the two brands to further invest in technologies of the future. The combined R&D efforts of both companies will see a massive expansion in capability, and for now, the two will be focusing efforts on electrical architecture, advanced driver-assist systems, infotainment, connectivity, and vehicle-to-everything communication.
GM's OnStar safety system is already being planned to integrate with Honda's HondaLink system, and further integration is planned. All facets of the alliance will be governed by a joint committee composed of senior executives from both companies.
We expect the first cars in this union to go on sale in 2024.