Following the signing of an MoU in September 2020, General Motors and Honda have now finalised their cooperation, announcing plans co-develop a series of affordable electric vehicles (EVs) based on a new global architecture using next-generation Ultium battery technology.

The carmakers are working together to enable global production of millions of EVs starting in 2027, leveraging the two companies’ technology, design and sourcing strategies. Both will also work toward standardising equipment and processes to achieve “world-class quality, higher throughput and greater affordability”.

As for the type of cars they will make, GM and Honda are “targeting the world’s most popular vehicle segments,” with only one bodystyle explicitly mentioned. The compact crossover segment is the largest in the world, with annual volumes of more than 13 million vehicles.

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GM and Honda also will discuss future EV battery technology collaboration opportunities, to further drive down the cost of electrification, improve performance and drive sustainability for future vehicles.

The Detroit carmaker, now with a new logo for the electric era, is already working to accelerate new technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be used to improve and update battery cell manufacturing processes.

Meanwhile, Honda is making progress on its all-solid-state battery tech, which the company sees as the core element of future EVs. Honda has established a demonstration line in Japan for all-solid-state batteries and is making progress toward mass-production.

“GM and Honda will share our best technology, design and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, including our key markets in North America, South America and China. This is a key step to deliver on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in our global products and operations by 2040 and eliminate tailpipe emissions from light duty vehicles in the US by 2035. By working together, we’ll put people all over the world into EVs faster than either company could achieve on its own,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO.

“Honda is committed to reaching our goal of carbon neutrality on a global basis by 2050, which requires driving down the cost of electric vehicles to make EV ownership possible for the greatest number of customers. Honda and GM will build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve a dramatic expansion in the sales of electric vehicles,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda president and CEO.

Compared to other EV plans, this one touches on affordability a lot. “Our collaboration with Honda and the continuing development of Ultium are the foundation of this project, utilising our global scale to enable a lower cost foundation for this new series of EVs for millions of customers,” said Doug Parks, GM executive VP for global product development, purchasing and supply chain.

GM’s plans include a new all-electric product for North America positioned at a price point lower than the upcoming Chevrolet Equinox EV, building on the two million units of EV capacity the company plans to install by the end of 2025.

This collaboration didn’t come out of the blue, as GM and Honda have developed a close working relationship over many years, including several projects in recent years focused on electric and autonomous vehicle technologies.

In 2013, the two companies began working together on the co-development of a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. In 2018, Honda joined GM’s EV battery module development efforts. In 2020, GM and Honda announced plans to codevelop two EVs, including the Honda Prologue, to be launched in early 2024, soon followed by Acura’s first electric SUV.

The companies also have an ongoing relationship with Cruise and are working together on the development of the Cruise Origin, one of the first purpose-built fully autonomous vehicles designed for driverless ride-hailing and delivery.