GM struggles to accelerate EV production in 2023

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General Motors ended 2023 with disappointing EV delivery figures.

The automaker reported Wednesday that it delivered 75,883 EVs in 2023, but 62,045 of those were Bolt EV and Bolt EUV models that GM discontinued at the end of the year. That leaves just 13,341 of the Ultium EVs that are supposed to set the tone for the future of the automaker’s electrification efforts, along with 164 BrightDrop Zevo commercial vans that share the Ultium component set.

Bolt EV and EUV sales have surged since GM revamped those models for more value. The two variants saw a 62.8% sales increase in their final year of production. But GM still discontinued the Bolt EV and more SUV-like EUV, with replacements not due until 2025.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Looking at the Ultium models currently in production, GM reported 3,244 GMC Hummer EV deliveries, 9,154 Cadillac Lyriq deliveries, 482 Chevrolet Blazer EV deliveries, and 461 Chevy Silverado EV deliveries for the year.

GM reported total deliveries of 2.595 million vehicles in 2023. That means Ultium EVs were just 0.5% of GM deliveries in 2023. With the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, all-electric models represented 2.9% of 2023 GM vehicle deliveries. GM’s Ultium EV targets now look just as out of sight as they did after the third quarter of 2023, at which point hitting those targets already appeared impossible.

2024 Cadillac Lyriq

2024 Cadillac Lyriq

In early 2022 it announced a goal to produce a cumulative 400,000 EVs in North America from 2022 through the first half of 2024—a goal it’s fallen well short of. Including Canadian sales, the total from both years remains under 150,000.

To be clear, this is an issue with production, not demand. GM has claimed nearly 200,000 hand-raisers for the Chevy Equinox EV, which was originally scheduled to launch in spring 2024 and start at around $30,000, but has now been delayed. So there appears to be demand for Ultium EVs—particularly less-expensive ones like the Equinox EV—but GM is having trouble meeting it.

What’s been largely missing so far is an explanation for the slow acceleration of Ultium EV production. GM now has two big Ultium LLC battery factories in production, addressing a previous battery-supply issue, so it’s unclear what’s delaying the ramp of these vehicles.

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