GM Ultium EVs ramping slowly, as targets look out of sight

General Motors’ third-quarter financial results show a slow production ramp of Ultium EVs but indicate the automaker is unlikely to meet its near-future electric vehicle delivery targets.

GM reported that it delivered just 4,222 Ultium EVs in Q3, compared to 15,835 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV models. The Bolt EV and EUV, which are based on a different architecture than the Ultium models, are scheduled to end production this year. GM has said they will be replaced by an Ultium-based successor.

The Cadillac Lyriq had the highest delivery total among the current Ultium models, at 3,018 units for the quarter. That brings year-to-date deliveries up to 5,334 vehicles, signaling that Lyriq production may finally be accelerating after a slow start last year.

2024 Cadillac Lyriq

2024 Cadillac Lyriq

The GMC Hummer EV also started production last year, in pickup form. GM reported deliveries of just 1,167 of the off-roaders for Q3, but that was the most it produced in any quarter so far. It was also the second-highest total for an Ultium model by a wide margin.

GM claimed the start of deliveries of the Chevy Blazer EV in July, but results indicate that through September it only delivered 19. GM also reported deliveries of 18 Chevy Silverado EV pickups (likely to fleet customers) and 35 BrightDrop Zevo 600 electric vans.

When GM announced its Ultium strategy in early 2020, it claimed modular battery-pack and vehicle-architecture designs would grant the flexibility to quickly launch a variety of electric models. The automaker set a goal of building 400,000 EVs by the end of 2023, then late last year pushed that back to mid-2024. Now that looks like it’s quickly becoming an impossibility.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV

GM has said at various times that that the EV production ramp is being delayed by battery supply. In October 2022 it pointed to a slow start at the Ultium Cells LLC battery plant in Ohio, the first of four in a joint venture with battery supplier LG, supported by a $2.5 billion DOE loan, that are crucial part of GM’s plan to ramp up EV production.

The automaker was also recently vocal in its pushback against proposed EPA emissions rules seeking sales of 50% EVs by 2030. It may not have as much confidence in its EV future as it preaches to shareholders. 

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