Here in 2022, electric vehicle news has been coming early and often. But a common thread to the stories is, to put it simply, a lack of relevance for many average car buyers. General Motors shows off its cool new Ultium battery technology, but the current application of it is in vehicles like the Hummer EV SUT, which starts above $100,000 and — even if you get your reservation in today — may not be in your driveway until 2024.
GM and Honda are working to change that. We already knew that the companies are partnering on two new EVs for Honda, the upcoming Prologue and an Acura equivalent in 2024. But GM and Honda have just announced an even greater partnership that will see them co-developing battery technology and producing a new line of affordable compact crossovers — the type of vehicle most non-truck buyers want — by 2027. And they apparently plan to sell millions of them.
The companies aren't making firm commitments to what that SUV lineup will look like; 2027 is still far enough in the future where technological fantasies are fair game. But the press release notes that both GM and Honda are working on solid-state batteries. Getting solid-state batteries into any car — let alone an affordable one — would be game-changing for EV adoption.
Solid-state batteries would be smaller and lighter than current car batteries, allowing manufacturers to add more range with current packaging or keep the same range with less battery weight. These batteries would also charge more quickly, bringing the 10-80% recharge time commonly cited as a metric for DC fast charging closer to the time it takes to fill up a gasoline engine. Those batteries would also be safer and easier to build than current ones.
Automakers collaborating on EV technology makes sense. R&D costs of shifting from a century-plus of combustion vehicle development are a major contributor to how much EVs cost. Sharing that burden makes it cheaper. And, on paper, pairing GM tech with Honda's know-how for building refined and high-quality affordable cars sounds like a winning combination.