The two auto giants intend to build on their existing partnership projects to produce a new range of compact crossover EVs, with future battery technology collaboration
General Motors and Honda are teaming up to produce “millions” of electric vehicles globally, based on a new joint platform that will be powered by GM’s proprietary Ultium battery technology.
The goal of the collaboration, say both companies, is to build the capacity to bring, initially, compact crossover cars to the North American market in 2027. Together the automakers want to work to standardize equipment, improve quality and increase the production and affordability of the vehicles.
“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,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO in a press statement.
Both GM and Honda say they plan to collaborate on future battery technology opportunities that lower the cost of electrification while improving battery performance and building greater sustainability for future cars.
Canada’s manufacturing potential
Neither GM nor Honda have revealed the location of where the new EVs will be built, but in a written reply to Electric Autonomy Canada, a GM spokesperson said that the company will “share details about its manufacturing strategy down the road” and that “both GM and Honda will target the North American market with their respective models. However, we don’t have any news to share today about Canada specifically.”
A spokesperson from Honda simply added the company is “eager to share as things continue to develop.”
Currently, both brands have a strong presence in manufacturing vehicles in Canada. In March, Honda announced it will be retooling its Alliston, Ont., plant for $1.38 billion to begin production of its new CR-V hybrid vehicles.
GM pledged to invest $1.3 billion into its Oshawa auto plant in 2020 (a move that so far has not resulted in EV production, but has made the factory operational again) and an additional $1 billion into its CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont. in 2021 to manufacture BrightDrop electric delivery vans, which are equipped with GM’s Ultium battery technology.
Earlier this week, Ontario and the federal government announced they will be providing $518 million in funding to support GM’s investments, while in March, GM chose Bécancour Industrial Park in Quebec as its new site to produce cathode active materials which will be used for its Ultium batteries.
Carbon neutrality goals
GM already has said it is hoping to speed up the development of new technologies such as lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries. The global brand is also looking into new production methods that can be used to quickly upgrade and update battery cell manufacturing processes.
Honda, meanwhile, is focusing much of its R&D energies on all-solid-state battery technology, which the Japanese company sees as a key component of future EVs. Honda says it is making progress toward mass-production of battery technology in Japan.
“This is a key step to deliver on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in our global products and operations by 2040,” added Barra. “By working together, we’ll put people all over the world into EVs faster than either company could achieve on its own.”
Honda’s president and CEO Toshihiro Mibe echoed Barra’s statement, saying his company’s wishes to fulfil commitments to achieve carbon neutrality, with a global target set for 2050.
“Honda is committed to reaching our goal of carbon neutrality…which requires driving down the cost of electric vehicles to make EV ownership possible for the greatest number of customers,” said Mibe.
“Our collaboration with Honda and the continuing development of Ultium are the foundation of this project, utilizing our global scale to enable a lower cost foundation for this new series of EVs for millions of customers,” said Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain.
Parks added that GM plans to set the pricing of the new EVs below the price tag of the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox electric SUV, which will cost Canadians around $35,000. The company also wants to build at least one million EVs by 2025.
Years of collaboration
This latest announcement is the most recent in a string of projects focused on EVs and autonomous vehicles that both GM and Honda have been working on together over the years.
The automakers have previously worked to codevelop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies in 2013; joined together to develop EV battery modules in 2018; announced in 2020 plans to build two EVs, the Acura electric SUV and the Honda Prologue, which is expected to be launched in 2024; and are working together to develop the Cruise Origin, a purpose-built fully autonomous vehicles for ride-hail and delivery purposes.
“The progress we have made with GM since we announced the EV battery development collaboration in 2018, followed by co-development of electric vehicles including the Honda Prologue, has demonstrated the win-win relationship that can create new value for our customers,” said Shinji Aoyama, Honda senior managing executive officer.
“This new series of affordable EVs will build on this relationship by leveraging our strength in the development and production of high quality, compact class vehicles.”