In August 2020, General Motors announced an ambitious plan to roll out its latest electrification technologies in China, the world’s largest automotive market. This includes the adoption of the BEV3 electrical architecture and the innovative Ultium battery system, which will support 40 percent of the company’s product launches by 2025. Now, GM is taking an important step to manufacture the new Ultium EV platform in the Asian country.
SAIC-GM, General Motors’ main joint venture in China, recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the municipal government to build the Ultium platform at the automaker’s facility in Wuhan. This agreement will start the investment plan for the Wuhan complex to host the production of future electric vehicles for the Chinese market.
In addition to being one of GM’s newest vehicle manufacturing centers in China, the Wuhan industrial complex is primarily responsible for the production of the company’s new electrified products and powertrains sold in that market. The plant currently builds the Buick Velite 6 PHEV, the Buick Velite 6 Plus and the Chevrolet Menlo EV, which are all exclusive vehicles for that country.
The heart of GM’s upcoming all-electric vehicle portfolio, the Ultium platform integrates the company’s 26-plus years of electrification expertise and its forward-thinking technology advantages. Local Chinese media report that SAIC-GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) participated in the design process of the Ultium platform’s underlying architecture.
According to sources familiar with the matter, SAIC-GM expects 95 percent of parts used in the fully electric vehicles based on the Ultium platform to be locally sourced in China. With this, the arrival of the next-generation EV architecture will help Wuhan’s automotive industry accelerate the transition to electrification envisioned by GM, especially for models destined for the Buick and Chevrolet brands.
GM is expected to make an official announcement shortly on the agreement reached with Wuhan authorities and reveal more details of the investment plan to manufacture the upcoming Ultium-based vehicles in China. The all-new Cadillac Lyriq, which will launch early next year in the Chinese market, is the first of more than 10 locally made vehicles with the new EV platform that GM will release in China.