Joint EV development and cost-sharing will be an advantage for both companies as the industry aims to slash the cost of EVs and batteries, said Paul Waatti, manager of industry analysis for AutoPacific.
“To have both automakers shouldering some of the costs enables quicker development and technology breakthroughs,” he said. “For mainstream adoption to take hold, it’s got to be affordable, and it has to be in segments that customers are interested in, which is compact crossovers.”
Compact crossovers accounted for nearly 1 in 6 light vehicles sold in the first quarter, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.
Today, there are few range-competitive mainstream EVs on the market. GM launched the GMC Hummer EV pickup this year starting at nearly $113,000, and next year it will add the Chevrolet Silverado EV, which will debut with a consumer-oriented version priced at more than $106,000.
Starting with high-end EVs helps automakers recoup costs faster, Brinley said. But those kinds of offerings are too expensive to encourage mass adoption.
“If in 2035 or 2040 or 2050, the U.S. market is going to be 100 percent EV, it’s going to include the lower entry-size vehicle,” Brinley said. “One way or another, they need to fill that part of their lineup.”
Five years from now, when the EVs GM and Honda will collaborate on are slated to launch, the automakers are unlikely to be alone in the affordable EV space.
“The holy grail is affordable EVs with decent range,” Waatti said. “Right now, the costs are too much for automakers to offer that.”