General Motors and Honda announced an extension of their two-year partnership to include “a line of affordable electric vehicles” built on GM’s flexible EV platform with upgraded Ultium-branded battery packs. The companies say they will begin production of “millions” of these affordable EVs, including crossover SUVs, by 2027.
The automakers first announced two years ago that they would be collaborating to develop two Honda-branded electric vehicles that would be built on top of GM’s flexible Ultium powertrain. The Japanese company would design the exterior and interior of the new EVs, while the platform will be designed to support Honda’s specifications. And they will be manufactured at GM’s North American plants, with sales expected to begin in the 2024 model year.
“GM and Honda will share our best technology, design and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, including our key markets in North America, South America and China,” said Mary Barra, GM president and CEO, in a statement.
GM and Honda have a pre-existing relationship when it comes to EVs. The Japanese automaker is an investor in Cruise, GM’s largest autonomous vehicle subsidiary ($2 billion over 12 years). As part of the deal, Cruise and Honda are collaborating on a purpose-built electric autonomous vehicle, of which a pre-production version, the Cruise Origin, was first unveiled late last year. GM is also spending $2.2 billion to convert its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to produce autonomous and electric vehicles, where the new Honda EVs are likely to be built.
GM and Honda aren’t the only automakers to socialize. Ford and VW are building a range of EVs and AVs together. Auto companies large and small are racing to build on Tesla’s success by mass-producing battery-powered SUVs, pickup trucks and sedans. At the same time, many of the same companies are also testing self-driving cars, as taxis to transport passengers around cities or as delivery robots that transport groceries and other goods.