Utilizing the Ultium battery platform, a recently announced GM and Honda EV collaboration promises millions of electric vehicles priced under $30,000.
Seemingly daily, the electric vehicle (EV) landscape is changing, with the latest news being an incoming series of GM and Honda EVs that the competitors will develop together. It will blend GM’s Ultium battery platform and both companies’ engineering know-how to enable global production in the “millions” by 2027. Initially, this project will target the red-hot compact crossover segment with an entry price under $30,000.
That price point is a big deal. Currently, the most efficient EVs are also the most expensive. REALLY expensive, as evidenced by our list of longest-range EV options that is topped with the $139,000 Lucid Air. Across the board, automakers are making bold statements about getting out of the internal combustion game. GM plans to eliminate tailpipe emissions from their light-duty lineup by 2035 and be globally carbon neutral five years later, the details of which you can read here. Honda is not far behind with similar EV priorities.
To accomplish these lofty goals, there needs to be mass adoption of electric vehicles. And for that to happen, prices need to come way down. GM has already shown their Ultium tech to be impressive and Honda is renowned for high quality automotive engineering, so it’s plausible that these two legacy carmakers have what it takes to deliver EVs on a massive scale.
As GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra puts it, “GM and Honda will share our best technology, design and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, including our key markets in North America, South America and China.” In fact, they have already been working together for years to get to this point.
Almost 10 years ago, the two companies codeveloped hydrogen fuel-cell systems. Honda previously committed a $2.75 billion investment in GM’s majority-owned Cruise autonomous vehicle unit. More recently, the automakers announced the first Honda EV in the form of the Prologue SUV. Set to arrive in 2024, it will be designed by Honda with the Ultium platform underneath and be built in General Motors’ North American plants. A more luxurious Acura version will follow.
In order to meet the expectations of all this exciting collaboration, both GM and Honda noted they will also be discussing next-gen battery technology. Honda has been focused solely on solid-state battery tech, while GM has been working on lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state. Solid-state batteries promise something of a revolution in weight and energy density, versus today’s lithium-ion packs, and could make all this talk of mass EV adoption far easier.
This should prove to be an interesting tie-up between a pair of industry heavyweights. Honda has been building efficient hybrids for years; you can read a review of their 2022 Insight here and a comparison of the Accord versus Toyota Camry hybrids here. General Motors has been quietly building their Bolt compact EV for the past five years, and made splashy headlines with the paradoxical Hummer EV (previewed here), and is scheduled to launch an electric Silverado next year.
When you combine all that knowledge, on paper, it seems like a sub-$30K GM and Honda EV collaboration is a home run. However, there is a TON of work required behind the scenes to standardize equipment and processes – on a global scale – to make this dream a reality.
GM has already shelled out 4 ½ billion bucks to build a battery factory in collaboration with LG Chem and retrofit their Detroit-Hamtramck factory for EV assembly, so it’s clear they are not kidding around. I for one am excited to see what they come up with next.