New Next-Gen Electric Cars Said to Cost Less and Go Further

General Motors is telling investors its next generation of electric vehicles will cost the company 30% less than current ones, making them profitable after the new version debuts in 2021.

CEO Mary Barra made the forecast at the Barclay’s Global Automotive Conference in New York on Wednesday. Despite the announcement, GM shares fell with the broader markets, dropping 7 cents to $42.93 in midday trading.

GM plans to reduce electric vehicle manufacturing and development costs by integrating the battery into the vehicle structure and by building multiple vehicles including SUVs and luxury cars off the same electric underpinnings. GM has pledged to roll out 20 new zero-emissions vehicles by 2023, with two new ones coming in 18 months. Currently most automakers lose money on electric vehicles. The company expects to spread costs over more electric vehicles. GM now sells fewer than 50 000 electric vehicles worldwide but predicts that will rise to near 1 million by 2026.  Barra says GM, through its Cruise Automation unit, is moving quickly to develop autonomous unit, is moving quickly to develop autonomous vehicles so the company can capitalize on the “biggest business opportunity since the creation of the internet.”

She says deployment of vehicles without a driver is coming in “quarters not years,” but gave no exact time frame.

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