TECHNOLOGY

General Motors challenges Tesla with electric cars, boats, planes and trucks


General Motors is getting into the electric boat business. In fact, as the American auto giant Pay President Joe Biden’s exhilarating and ambitious plan to accelerate the introduction of electric cars, GM is also somewhat quietly working on the quest to build electric vehicles. PlanesAnd trains, And delivery trucks All powered by its own battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

Among the plethora of GM electric vehicles, you might actually get a chance to drive or ride in one of the new electric boats. The company recently announced that it Bought a 25 percent stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based startup that manufactures outboard motors for battery-powered boats. As part of the agreement, GM will supply Pure Watercraft with components at the same discounted price to its in-house divisions and help Pure Watercraft build its manufacturing network. After a GM investment, totaling $150 million in cash and an in-kind investment, Pure Watercraft was valued at $600 million.

The two companies haven’t shared the specific products they’ll be working on together, but the team that developed GM’s Forward Marine First, an electric pontoon boat, was the company first. For the first time at the Miami International Boat Show In 2019, you will join the cooperation.

“Boats have historically benefited from advances in automotive technologies,” Andy Ripley, CEO of Pure Watercraft, told Recode. “They’ve been using car engines and car technology in boats for many years, and this is the embodiment of what’s happening in the age of electric cars.”

GM’s dive into the electric boat industry is a sign that the company is serious about “All-electric future. This commitment includes investment At least 35 billion dollars To launch 30 electric vehicle models around the world by 2025 20 of those vehicles It will be available in the United States. GM took another step forward this year and announced it It will phase out all its gas and diesel vehicles by 2035 and making its operations carbon-neutral by 2040. Now the company is racing to build the tools and plants it needs to achieve that goal.

Key to GM’s electric dreams is Ultium’s lithium-ion cell battery technology, which will be incorporated into a wide range of vehicles. in a Partnership with LG, the company Billions are spent to build two manufacturing industries the plants for batteries in Ohio And Tennesseewhich will be completed in 2022 and 2023 respectively. More battery factories can follow in the next years. GM also entered into a strategic supplier agreement with semiconductor maker Wolfspeed earlier this fall to secure custom-designed computer chips. Designed for electric cars. And just last week, General Motors hosted President Biden at its grand opening Newly Renovated $2.2 Billion Electric Vehicle Assembly Plant Factory Zero. GMC Hummer electric trucks and Chevy Silverado trucks will be among the first vehicles manufactured there.

“The reason electric cars always cost more than an equivalent internal combustion engine car is the battery,” Karl Brauer, executive analyst at automotive search engine website iSeeCars.com, told Recode. “Controlling everything related to batteries – production and cost – is probably the most efficient thing a car company can do in a world moving toward electric cars.”

As the company has doubled its manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicles, it has also designed components so that they can be modified to suit other forms of transportation. In particular, General Motors has invested heavily in Hydrotec Hydrogen fuel cell technologythat use hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce electricity. (Unlike batteries, which store electricity directly, these fuel cells store hydrogen which is then converted into electricity.) The company has already found many customers for this technology, including Navistar Truck CompanyAviation Equipment Manufacturer Liebherr Aerospace, and the Manufacturer of freight trains Wabtec, which uses Hydrotec fuel cells in addition to General Motors’ Ultium batteries.

General Motors’ path to an all-electric future will not be easy. General Motors is competing with basically every old automaker in the world for its share of the electric vehicle market, and there have already been some pitfalls. Earlier this year, the company recalled everything 141,000 Chevy Bolt electric cars Produced since 2017 due to fire hazards related to the battery. Meanwhile, recent start-ups in the field of electric vehicles are attracting a lot of interest and investment. It owns Rivian electric truck maker and Lucid luxury electric car company Compete or even top stock price valuations From Ford, GM and Stellantis, which owns Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. Nor is Tesla showing any sign of slowing down. company Planning to complete a new Gigafactory, an electric car manufacturing plant, in Texas this year, and recently became trillion dollar company.

Lots of other companies are working to carve out their own niche in the electric car industry. In addition to Pure Watercraft, the electric boat segment also includes a startup called Arc, which builds a $300,000 24-foot boat with Top speed 40 mph. Many companies are creating electric semi-trucks, including Chinese car manufacturers Globalism And jelly Beside Tesla. There are also start-ups developing electric air taxis, some of which will also be independent. Palo Alto-based Kitty Hawk plans to launch its first flight inside next few months With its CEO Sebastian Thrun as its first passenger. Some companies are even developing electric tractors.

But GM may be at an advantage. Biden has repeatedly expressed support for union-backed auto companies, and also credits General Motors CEO Mary Barra with stirring up “the entire auto industry.” The White House also does not have the best relationship with Tesla, which He doesn’t have a guild And not invited To the White House Summit in August about electric cars. At the same time, Biden’s Rebuilding Better spending package will provide, among other goals, additional tax credits on US-made electric vehicles made by unionists — a Exactly what GM is trying to do.

Then there’s the fact that General Motors is a century-old automaker that’s built More than half a billion vehicles over its institutional life. This experience could prove crucial as General Motors races not just its cars, but many different modes of transportation, into its electric future.

This story was first published in the Recode newsletter. Register here So you don’t miss the next!



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