Electric cars are a convenient way to reduce individual carbon emissions. They’re also pricey upfront.
But GM and Honda say they’re ready to make EVs accessible to everyone. The automaking duo announced an expanded partnership to co-develop “a series of affordable electric vehicles" on Tuesday. The vehicles will use GM’s new modular platform and “Ultium” battery pack, combined with Honda’s interior and exterior design.
The new EVs will be available in North America by 2027 and include an array of cars and crossovers. According to the press release, the two companies will also “discuss future EV battery technology collaboration opportunities, to further drive down the cost of electrification, improve performance and drive sustainability for future vehicles.”
When the companies first announced their partnership in 2020, GM said vehicles would be made at GM’s North American plants and would go on sale in 2024. Things may have changed in terms of manufacturing, and now it's unclear whether the new EVs will be made in North America. GM spokesperson James Cain told Protocol that "we overwhelmingly build where we sell," including markets in North America, South America and China. "We're just not ready to announce our manufacturing strategy yet," he said.
But by pooling resources, it appears GM and Honda also believe they can make production more efficient, hopefully reducing EV prices. Neither company, however, has named a target sticker price for the to-be-manufactured vehicles. Instead, they said the partnership will leverage “the two companies’ technology, design and sourcing strategies,” while they “work toward standardizing equipment and processes to achieve world-class quality, higher throughput and greater affordability."
The partnership is similar to Volkswagen’s with Ford, which was announced in 2019 and expanded earlier this year. Ford plans to build 1.2 million vehicles using VW’s modular electric drive matrix over the course of six years starting in 2023.
The need to bring down the cost of EVs is vital for ensuring we end the use of the internal combustion engine as our main means to get around. According to Kelley Blue Book, EVs currently cost $10,000 more up-front than vehicles in the U.S. overall. They're cheaper to drive, though, and people have been turning to them in greater numbers.
The first quarter of this year saw a huge spike in EV sales, particularly for Tesla, which continues to outsell the EV competition. But traditional automakers are trying to catch up, from partnerships to Ford's historic restructuring earlier this year. If those efforts can help drive down EV costs, it could help them chase down Tesla. (It'd also be good for the climate, too, if that's your type of thing.)
Honda did not respond to a request for comment.