back to article GM: Seeing as all y'all like our electric cars, we'll double output next year

General Motors has had such a good third quarter, CEO Mary Barra told shareholders Tuesday, that the automaker is planning to nearly double the number of Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUVs it makes next year, from 44,000 to 70,000. That's electric vehicles and electric utility vehicles. Affirming GM's earnings guidance for the rest …

  1. Snowy Silver badge
    Coat

    Not very many

    GM sold about 2.2 millions cars in 2021, going from 44,000 to 70,000 is still a tiny part of their business.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Not very many

      They aren't going to move into electric cars any faster than the public is ready to buy them, and infrastructure exists to utilize them. If you use California's EV mandate in 2035 as a guidepost, they still wouldn't want to be 100% EV by then because most states will not have such a mandate, and no doubt this will be turned into a political wedge issue somewhere along the way (if it isn't already) with a large chunk of the US feeling it is their duty to country and political party to buy gasoline powered cars.

      And who knows what will be happening in the rest of the world. In some countries owning an EV may not be any more practical in 2035 than it is today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not very many

      I think what will be more interesting is to see how many people buy an EV again. Many people have taken them on 3-year PCP deals, perhaps to get business tax benefits, but at the end of that 3 year experiment, will they go back to ICE?

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Not very many

        I know six people with an electric car, they all love the "electric" part of it and I'm 99% sure will buy another electric car. The main complaint (from the four who have Teslas) is the poor build quality two of them are loudly unhappy about so they might choose another brand. The other two worship Musk though I saw the one of them the weekend it was shipped and I could see where the complaints about build quality come from, but when I pointed stuff out he was like "all cars are like that" lol! They did fix all the visible stuff after a few dealer visits but it still feels a bit shakier on the road than a car costing $70K ought to IMHO.

        One friend just got an F150 Lightning last week - saw the pictures on Facebook looked pretty sweet. Hopefully I will see him sometime in the next couple months and get a chance to take it for a spin. He's a contractor so he can write it off, and it being able to power stuff will come in handy for him since he won't need to lug around a generator for work on sites that don't have electric yet. I'm not really a truck guy but I'm interested in seeing more non-Tesla alternatives.

        FWIW, all but one are multi car households so only one is truly "all in" on electric cars.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Not very many

          "FWIW, all but one are multi car households so only one is truly "all in" on electric cars."

          Yeah, I think in the US, there's probably a very large market potential for multi-car city dwelling families by switching one of them to EV since most city dwellers don't leave the city that often and would only very very rarely need both cars at the same time on a longer road trip.

          Actually, the same probably applies to many developed countries, but the US in particular for the geography and the "road trip" culture that's still very present. Less so in many other developed countries, particularly Europe where countries are smaller and more densely populated and you can barely drive 10-20 miles before coming across another city, town or village likely to have charging facilities.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not very many

            I have a EV and a diesel. I kept the diesel just in case but have found the EV has been used 100% of the time as almost all my journeys are within 300 mile round trip. I had a lot of range anxiety before I bought one but to be honest, if most of your journeys mean you can charge at home I would go for it. Driving a Mazda diesel feels like driving a tractor compared to the Ipace.

            No I'm pretty sure I will never go back to an ICE. The pure linear acceleration of a EV is so addictive!

            However if I was doing daily long distance journeys with hotel stays I probably would not go for a EV unless you could guarantee every hotel had at least 7KW chargers. Hanging around waiting for an EV to charge during the day is no fun, so as long as it's charging while you sleep is the best way to own an EV.

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    Of course, the US is rather bigger than this place. Thus there are a heck of a lot more people for whom driving a couple of hundred miles each way on a regular basis is perfectly normal behaviour. EVs can't do that in anything like a practical manner.

    At the end of the day, mass EV takeup requires two more things: Fast recharge, As in "fill the tank in under ten minutes" fast and 450-odd mile range between charges without filling the vehicle with batteries.

    Both look quite possible in the near future, with the slight snag that all the charging infrastructure put in place to date will be made obsolete overnight(!!)

    1. DJO Silver badge

      The vast majority of drivers do not need 100+ miles every day and for most users just plugging it in to a standard domestic power outlet overnight will provide sufficient charge.

      Fast charging is best avoided, it's not good for the batteries and it costs far more than every other way of charging a car. Only to be used when there is no alternative.

      If you concentrate on edge cases like regular 450 mile trips nothing will be done. Best to get it working for the majority of users first.

      The biggest problem is that not everybody has off-road parking where a private charger can be sited. Not sure about the US but over here well under 50% of dwellings have a private parking space where a charger could be located.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Best to get it working for the majority of users first.

        That assumes that the majority of users only ever make short journeys. It's a fallacious argument, based on the idea that if 90% of journeys are under 30 miles, then 90% of cars need only be able to travel 30-50 miles.

        In my case 90+% of my journeys are indeed 30 miles or less, but every month I make at least 2 journeys of > 50 miles, and one of > 200. Once or twice a year I may make 1000+ mile journeys. Having a car that meets 90% of my needs is of no use to me, I need one that meets 100% of them.

        As for charging infrastructure, it also needs to be more logical and more convenient. When approaching a standard petrol station, there's a large sign outside identifying the supplier and the price of each fuel on offer. Once at the pump you can pay with any credit card or cash. There's no need to have a Shell app, an Esso app, a Texaco app, etc. each pre-loaded with enough for a fill-up. I recenly took my (plug-in hybrid) into a car park which, according to the internet, had 2 chargers. When I arrived there were 10 charging bays, no indication of cost or of supplier. After parking I found the supplier from small print on the chargers, and navigated to their web site. That refused to give me a price for a charge, insisting that I downloaded their app. After downloading it wouldn't give me a price until I had entered credit card details, at which point it showed a price that worked out more expensive per mile than just using petrol.

        Needless to say, I deleted my card details from the app, and didn't charge. None of the bays was in use, unsurprisingly.

        If EV charging is to work there needs to be a clear sign outside with supplier brand & cost of slow/fast charge, so you can decide before entering and parking. Once in, the chargers need to accept simple card payments.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Having a car that meets 90% of my needs is of no use to me, I need one that meets 100% of them.

          Completely untrue. If you only need exceptional distance once or twice a year then a normal range car will be more than adequate for more than 99% of the time, the other under 1% you can hire a vehicle with longer legs or get a train or plane. That would probably work out cheaper if you consider the extra cost of purchase and higher running costs for the long distance vehicle which is underused over 99% of the time.

          Commercial chargers can be an issue but the market should sort that out in time - crappy expensive charging networks will go bust soon enough if they refuse to cater to the customer but it's far better to charge at home if you have a suitable parking space.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            a normal range car will be more than adequate for more than 99% of the time

            Nope, I worked that out before I bought my current car.

            you can hire a vehicle with longer legs

            Where from? Most of those longer journeys will be Bank and/or School Holidays, demand will be very high then and quiet at other times. That's unlikely to be a viable business model for rental companies, who rely on their fleets being in constant use to keep costs down. They can't afford to keep large fleets that lie idle much of the time, nor is that likely to work for whatever fuelling network they need.

            get a train or plane

            Certainly an option if the long journey is a simple point-to-point one, where a short-range vehicle can be hired at the end, and exactly what I'll be doing next week. Doesn't work if it's a journey with multiple stops, taking or bringing back stuff.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              People will come up with any reason to be negative about it if they are dead set against it.

              I’m waiting for my delivery of my second EV, it’s been no problem at all. No way I would willingly go back to old fashioned cars.

              Soon the choice will be an ever dwindling supply of used cars and a diminishing refuelling infrastructure as forecourts close. Getting petrol in the future will be like getting LPG today.

          2. Marty McFly Silver badge
            Flame

            The real issue

            @DJO highlights the fundamental problem with EV adoption. It is not batteries, cost, or infrastructure.

            The fundamental problem is EV advocates FORCING their ideals on others. 'You need to make a long trip? Well you should take a train or plane instead'.

            Quit telling us how we should live our lives!! Recognize and support diversity, and not everyone travels the way you do. If an EV works for us, trust me, we will buy one.

            1. DJO Silver badge

              Re: The real issue

              Not "Forcing" just suggesting the most economic way. Owing a massive car that is ridiculously underused over 99% of the time is a dumb waste of money.

              Once the infrastructure (and generating capacity) is in place and "petrolheads" finally realise the speed and acceleration you can get from (some) EVs totally pisses over (most) ICE powered cars attitudes will change.

              I think they just miss the noise a V8 makes.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: The real issue

                "Owing a massive car that is ridiculously underused over 99% of the time is a dumb waste of money."

                Whilst I agree with the general principle of your argument, I not only agree with those seeing "EV enthusiasts" pushing their view forcefully and that specific argument quoted above is now and likely to be for at least the next 5 years, generally wrong for many people. EV equivalents cost significantly more than EVs at the moment and with existing charging rates, not all that much cheaper to run than an ICE car, especially for those longer journeys where commercial charging is being used, possibly the highly expensive "fast" charging. As others have mentioned already, something like half of UK car owners have no off-street parking, so charging from home at the cheaper consumer rates with the lowest VAT rating isn't an option for many.

                EVs great for many people, but not always a financially viable option for everyone, no matter how green and environmentally friendly they want to be.

                1. DJO Silver badge

                  Re: The real issue

                  I'm not by any means an "EV enthusiast", never even driven one and it was me who noted the lack of off street parking in the UK, I'm in the same position.

                  But while not an "EV enthusiast" I am pragmatic enough to realize moving away from ICE is inevitable so we might as well smooth the progress towards that goal and not condemn EVs because they are not 100% suitable for 100% of use cases. It's still early days and there are other types of non-ICE possibilities such as FCEVs (Fuel Cell EV) using hydrogen or methanol which may eliminate the slow "refuelling" problems.

      2. NeilPost Silver badge

        The *biggest problem* with EV’s is they are too f***ing expensive !!!!

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Related to that is the limited life expectancy of the battery packs make second hand BEVs a very risky purchase.

          1. NeilPost Silver badge

            I guess you’d ensure any Used Vehicle Warranty /Extended Warranty covering ‘major component failure’ included the battery pack…. or you keep walking.

            The risk is costed in and insured off.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Looks like Nissan offer 6 years/100,000 miles for most EV batteries, as low as 4 years, 60,000 miles for the lowest capacity batteries but it's not a "fault" unless the max capacity drops below 75%, That's quite a significant range drop you may have to put up with before they will do a warranty repair on the battery management kit or replace the battery.

              Sadly, that's not much use to me since I will expire that warranty in two years of driving, hence why I can't justify switching to EV yet. Not to mention I can't afford an EV with sort of range I need on a daily basis. Leasing isn't an option either, the annual mileage limits don't go high enough online so you have to phone them and ask how much it will cost. They are too scared to publish leasing costs for high mileage drivers and they probably know very few will be interested anyway.

      3. Clara92

        Yeah I agree with you

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      with the slight snag that all the charging infrastructure put in place to date will be made obsolete overnight(!!)

      As long as there is electricity flowing to the charging point, replacing one type of charger with another may be only as difficult as replacing the nozzle on the gas pump, as was done to prevent overfilling when self-serve became the norm in the USA.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As long as there is enough electricity flowing to the charging point.

        FTFY

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Self-serve gas the norm … well excluding NJ :-)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          That's only one State out of 50, so yes, "the norm", with a couple of outliers :-)

  3. Securitymoose
    Flame

    You might not even get 50 miles on a freezing day. Would there be any sales in Canada?

    We all know that a cold battery has less power output. During a Canadian winter and you're stuck in a snowdrift with the battery dying 20 miles from a warm and cosy, I think you'll wish you'd stayed with hydrocarbons. Go and buy something that doesn't need the Duracell Bunny to keep it running.

    Here's an idea...

    https://sage-advices.com/how-many-miles-does-a-hydrogen-fuel-cell-last/

    1. Marty McFly Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You might not even get 50 miles on a freezing day. Would there be any sales in Canada?

      No kidding. Rural electric power service can be spotty during annual winter storms. We are all techies here and understand a single point of failure. If the power lines are down and an EV cannot be charged, now transportation capability is lost as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You might not even get 50 miles on a freezing day. Would there be any sales in Canada?

        If the power lines are down, the gas pumps don't work.

        SAME POINT OF FAILURE.

        It's not the point you think it is, and it's idiotic to even bring it up.

  4. Marty McFly Silver badge

    New vehicle totaled two weeks ago...

    Teenager with no license ran a stop sign at 35mph. Destroyed our V8 powered 2020 model year vehicle. Manufacturer only makes EVs now for that same model. No thanks, it doesn't make sense with our situation. Found a used ICE vehicle instead, with the big motor.

    I predict the EV market will hit a wall at some point and it will be very difficult to sell past that point once everyone who wants one has one. And used ICE vehicles will command a premium price. The only way past that point will be forcing people by eliminating their options. And people hate being forced.

  5. Luiz Abdala
    WTF?

    It feels to me that GM hates electric cars.

    They made the EV1, gave it up for 20 years until Elon Musk came around and made EVs look cool and forced their hand. Tesla was sweating their balls off to launch the Model 3, get a production line going, has wrong panel gaps all over the place, then GM just raises a leg to fart and out comes the Bolt, but with glaring battery issues.

    WTF is wrong with them? A bit of effort by GM, and Tesla would be buried alive, just by making a superior product. The Bolt powertrain is a bit of a mechanical gem if you believe in a dude with 20 years of mechanical expertise on youtube, but the batteries were recalled.

    They could have made a full-size EV sedan (Cadillac, maybe?) and cornered the market of the Model S, but they chose not to. It is as if they built the car just for tax breaks or something. (HA!)

    Why don't they care? Or NOW they do, and are trying to catch up?

    https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/12/gm_battery_car_storage/?td=readmore

  6. Surreal Estate

    I have a GM Bolt, bought it the first year available and have to say it is the best car I've owned. My only real complaint is the seats could be more comfortable. I primarily use it as my in-town commuter car and it serves that purpose perfectly. I installed a Level 2 charger at home (myself) and have rarely needed commercial charging stations.

    The Bolt was never going to compete with Teslas, rather the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3... It is an entry-level EV, not a luxury car. As for the battery issue, GM gets credit for committing to replacing all of the batteries in the early Bolts (mine is already replaced and my son has had his replaced as well). To be fair, a very small number of batteries have outright failed, but GM didn't abandon the early Bolt owners. It's not like GM (and LG - the battery manufacturer) deliberately made defective batteries, but they owned the problem and are in the process of fully replacing them.

    Will I buy another EV? No question. Consider a purely ICE vehicle again? No. Thought I would never own another GM car after the crappy Chevy Nova I had years ago. The Bolt changed my opinion of GM.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, at Landrover ..

    .. they are massively reducing choice on all models because they're focusing production on the newly released Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

    Why?

    1 - they're popular

    2 - current time from order to delivery is in some countries well over a year, to the point that they're not even quoting an estimated date anymore.

    The cause is still a shortage of electronics, and those are "just" PHEVs, I can't see them come out with their promised full electric version in 2023 if you stack battery problems on top (although the industry thankfully keeps getting better at it, which is encouraging). Or they may announce it, but not in a manner that you could actually order one for delivery this decade..

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