General Motors to build Ultium vehicles in China
General Motors apparently wants to produce the Ultium platform for its electric vehicles in China in the future through its joint venture with SAIC. According to local media reports, SAIC-GM recently entered into a strategic partnership with the Wuhan municipal government.
According to this agreement, the Ultium platform will be manufactured in the capital of Hubei province. However, no timeline for the alleged start of production or manufacturing capacity is mentioned in the reports. There is no comment from the joint venture or General Motors in the United States on the report.
The first Ultium vehicle launched in China is the Cadillac Lyriq SUV in early 2022, followed by Buick and Chevrolet electric cars. It is possible that these were originally imported vehicles if only now that an agreement has been signed with the authorities responsible for manufacturing. The Lyriq will be manufactured in the United States at GM’s plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
The report goes on to say that SAIC-GM plans to invest more than 50 billion yuan (about 6.4 billion euros) in electrification, among other things, by 2025 and to introduce more than ten electric models. based on Ultium made in China. Possible models – including those of the aforementioned Buick and Chevrolet brands – are yet to be named.
According to the Wuhan media report, a local supply chain must be established for manufacturing, with more than 95% of Ultium vehicle parts sourced from local production. Thus, the introduction of the platform is expected to help Wuhan’s auto industry accelerate its transformation.
For General Motors, such a high local manufacturing rate would mean a huge transition. Battery cells, which are important for electric cars, are not purchased from a cell supplier for Ultium models, but are produced in a joint venture with LG Energy Solution at two of its own battery factories in the United States. . It is not known whether GM and LGES intend to build such a plant near Wuhan or whether GM will use cells from another supplier.
SAIC-GM has been active in Wuhan since 2015 and already builds three New Energy Vehicles there, more specifically the BEV versions of the Chevrolet Menlo and Buick Velite 6 as well as the PHEV version of the Buick model.