Although the production of General Motor's GMC Hummer battery electric vehicle has already risen significantly, the company is unlikely to be able to keep up with demand in the short term. According to the latest capacity and sales data, all new GMC Hummer EVs are already booked in 2023 and 2024.
GMC Hummer EVs are selling like hot cakes for 2 reasons: First, pickups are a very popular vehicle in America. Second, EVs are one of the fastest growing market segments in the world.
After GM launched its all-electric GMC Hummer EVs in 2021, the company began to quickly ramp up its mass production capacity. Its latest monthly capacity already rose to 750 cars in September 2022. At such a pace, GM would manufacture nearly 10,000 all-electric GMC Hummer EVs per year. However, pre-orders already exceeded 90,000 cars.
From December 2021 to November 2022, GM made roughly 2,570 GMC Hummer EV pickups. If the 90,000 reservations were divided in 2 years for delivery, 45,000 cars would need to be manufactured each year. This would be a very difficult mission to accomplish for GM. According to Duncan Aldred, Global Vice President of GMC, the electric Hummers are "sold out for two years or more." Even if the capacity is continuously ramped up, the wait time will still be quite long.
General Motors' 5 models of all-electric EVs, including its 3 hot-selling models (GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, and Chevrolet Silverado EV) and the 2 models that will soon enter mass production (Chevrolet Equinox EV and Chevrolet Blazer EV), all use the company's Ultium batteries. More than 100,000 orders of the 5 models rely on the joint venture battery factory in Ohio between GM and LG Energy Solution.
In 2024, this battery factory is predicted to eventually make 40 GWh of lithium-ion battery packs per year, which is equal to 40 million kWh. One GMC Hummer EV uses a 200 kWh battery. Will GM EVs escape their production hell by 2024? Whether this battery plant will be able to catch up with the planned schedule will be the key.
In the past, when estimating traditional auto giants' ability to make electric vehicles, car analysts tend to assume that they are superior to EV startups in costs, capacities, and state-of-the-art auto making technologies. However, this assumption is surprisingly proven to be wrong after 3 years of observing established car makers give an all-out effort in making EVs. From Ford, GM, to Toyota, these establishments have all learnt their lesson about EVs the hard way after they assumed that an EV's structure is relatively simple compared to traditional vehicles.
The powerful market demand for EVs is readily available for automakers to take advantage of. Now it's up to the traditional car makers to figure out how to overcome their production issues. Will the established car makers be able to do that as early as possible? Will they be able to do it before the gap between their EV market shares and Tesla's widens even further? All of this remains to be seen.
(Photo credit: GM)