In a major challenge to electric car leader Tesla, General Motors announced it has created a new electric vehicle battery that offers up to 400 miles of range and will be cheaper to produce than today’s batteries.
The new battery cells will hold enough energy to potentially power a car for 400 miles or more on a single charge, the company announced Wednesday. That’s slightly more driving range than any car Tesla offers. Tesla claims a range of 390 miles for the latest version of its Model S Long Range sedan.
GM’s new battery cells will be used in several of its new fully electric models, including a recently unveiled self-driving electric car, the Cruise Origin, and a future Cadillac luxury SUV. GM also hopes to license its battery technology to other companies.
The announcement was part of a broader presentation on the company’s aggressive plans for electric vehicles.
“GM is building toward an all-electric future because we believe climate change is real,” GM CEO Mary Barra said during a presentation for media and investors.
She said the company would be investing more than $3 billion annually in electric vehicle research and development between 2020 and 2025.
“We want to put everyone in an EV, and we have what it takes to do it,” Barra said.
While GM did not specifically name any competitors, the comparisons to Tesla are clear. Tesla is the leading electric vehicle maker in the world. It built an enormous new battery factory in Nevada, a new car factory in China and is building another new factory in Germany. Tesla also currently builds its cars at its factory in Fremont, California, where GM and Toyota cars were once made.
For its part, Tesla is planning a Battery and Powertrain Investor Day for some time next month at which the company could announce significant advancements of its own.
Less than 250,000 electric vehicles were sold in the US last year and 90% of those were Teslas, according to data from Cox Automotive.
GM cited “third party forecasters” as saying electric vehicle sales in the United States could rise to about 3 million units by 2030. GM’s own analysis predicts the figure could be “materially higher” as more electric vehicles are launched in popular markets and public charging networks grow, the company said.
In addition, GM engineers are already working on next-generation battery cells that could enable driving ranges of up to 600 miles, GM engineer Andy Oury said in a recorded presentation.