Honda and GM announced today that they’ll be working together on electric cars. Neither company currently has competitive offerings on the road. But will this joint venture be what Honda needs to finally break into the EV market?
A close relationship
This isn’t the first time GM and Honda have worked together on EVs. They collaborated on the Cruise Origin, a self-driving car. They also worked together researching fuel cell technology and Honda also joined GM’s battery module development efforts in 2018.
This agreement builds on our proven relationship with Honda, and further validates the technical advancements and capabilities of our Ultium batteries and our all-new EV platform.Doug Parks, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain
Honda is planning to release 2 new EVs powered by GMs Ultium battery platform and build in GM factories in North America. This relationship could greatly help both companies. They’ll be sharing some technologies, and the 2 new EVs coming from Honda will integrate GM’s OnStar seamlessly with HondaLink. They will also have GM’s hands-free advanced driver-assist technology.
GM needs this partnership to be able to take advantage of their battery production capacity. They hope the economies of scale could bring the cost of their batteries down.
This collaboration will put together the strength of both companies, while combined scale and manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customersRick Schostek, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
These cars won’t hit the road until 2024. But with so many traditional auto manufacturers planning to expand into the EV market, will this be enough?
I see this as a move of desperation. Honda has completely ignored the EV market until now. But the writing on the wall says EVs are the future, and Honda needed to find someone to supply their batteries. But GM’s Ultium battery tech isn’t that impressive.
If you want to know the full story of GM’s Ultium batteries you can check out my post featured over on Drive Tesla Canada comparing their performance to Tesla. Essentially, this platform is massively inefficient. Cars powered by Ultium can only go roughly half as far as a Tesla with the same amount of power. The flexibility of using pouch-style cells allows them to build larger battery packs, but that only allows them to match the performance of EVs on the road today.
GM needs to get the cost of these batteries as low as possible. But even if they do there will still be problems. The inefficiency of the Ultium platform won’t be solved by this partnership. If Tesla sits on their hands for the next 4 years these new cars from Honda might be able to achieve a competitive price point. But even if this partnership noticeably drives cell costs down, these new Honda EVs will still take twice as long to charge.
I really can’t get myself excited about any new EV coming from GM. The Ultium platform is just too inefficient to be competitive. But since these new Hondas aren’t coming until 2024 they might be able to work on it. We might even see a new generation of Ultium batteries by then. But with what we know now, things aren’t looking too good.
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