After months of delays, GM has finally begun manufacturing the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, according to The Detroit News. After announcing a recall of over 141,000 Bolts in August owing to a battery fire risk, the carmaker suspended production at its Orion assembly facility in Michigan. GM and its battery supplier, LG Chem, have verified 18 Bolt fires throughout the world, which they blame on two production flaws: a ripped anobe tab and a folded separator. LG accepted responsibility for the $2 billion costs of the recalls as a mea culpa.
The plant’s reopening has been continually pushed back due to supply chain concerns over the previous seven months, much beyond GM’s initial goal to restart in September. GM began shipping replacement battery modules to dealers in October, allowing owners of recalled Chevy Bolts to change out old modules for new ones, something the firm is still doing to alleviate the supply shortage until cars are completed. While the Chevy Bolt is GM’s most popular electric vehicle, the firm said in July that it will invest $35 billion in the development of electric vehicles and autonomous technology until 2025.
It’s investing heavily in its Ultium platform, which includes the Hummer EV, Chevrolet Silverado, Buick crossovers, and the Cadillac Celestiq and Lyriq, as well as the underlying EV architecture and batteries for its next-generation EVs (GM just began production on the Lyriqs last month). In addition, GM said on Tuesday that it will collaborate with Honda to produce millions of inexpensive electric vehicles based on the Ultium platform.
The $60,000 Lyriq crossover, Cadillac’s first-ever electric vehicle, went into production on Monday. The SUV is expected to be the first vehicle in General Motors’ battery-electric lineup, which will be available by 2030. Demand for the automobile, which goes on sale in May, caused Cadillac to increase manufacturing to 25,000 units this year, up from the prior projection of 3,200 units, and to debut nine months early.
That’s good news for GM, which just announced a $35 billion investment to introduce 30 new electric vehicles internationally over the next three years. The carmaker spent $2 billion preparing its Spring Hill, Tennessee, production facility, which is the company’s largest in North America, to construct the Lyriq and other electric vehicles.
The investment is part of GM’s wider goal to compete with behemoths like Tesla and Volkswagen, which are investing $100 billion in electrification. Globally, EV manufacturing has been impeded by a supply chain crisis for semiconductors and batteries. The Ultium battery technology that supports the Lyriq and other GM EVs will be used in future models. Its modular architecture, which can manufacture 19 alternative battery and motor combinations, will aid GM’s battery-electric operations in scaling and cost reduction.