Autos

In EV News: GM Adds $5 Billion to Cruise, Volvo to Build Polestar EV in US, and More

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) paid $1 billion in 2016 to acquire autonomous driving company Cruise. In January, the company announced a further investment by Microsoft and others of more than $2 billion in the company, raising Cruise’s post-money valuation to $30 billion.

On Tuesday, Cruise tweeted that it had secured a $5 billion line of credit with GM Financial to purchase “thousands of Cruise Origin vehicles.” According to a report at Electrek, pre-production of the Cruise Origin has begun already at GM’s Factory ZERO in Michigan.

In a blog post, Cruise CEO Dan Amman said the new line of credit boosts the company’s total “war chest” to more than $10 billion as it begins the expensive process of commercializing the EV. He also confirmed that the first pre-production run of nearly 100 Origins is underway and that the machinery is being installed at Factory ZERO “to build the Origin by the tens of thousands.”

GM made more news in EVs Wednesday morning, announcing that it will increase its planned investment in EV and autonomous vehicles by 75% from around $20 billion to $35 billion between 2020 and 2025. In the announcement, CEO Mary Barra said:

GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio.

GM sold about 6.8 million vehicles worldwide, including more than 2.5 million in the United States, in 2020. In the announcement, GM added that it now expects first-half 2021 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to rise from a prior estimate of around $5.5 billion to a new range of $8.5 billion to $9.5 billion. The company’s stock has added about 1.5% in early trading Wednesday morning.

Polestar, the EV maker backed by Volvo and China’s Geely Holding (which owns Volvo), announced Wednesday morning that the Polestar 3 all-electric SUV will be manufactured in the company’s Ridgeville, South Carolina, plant. The company also plans to build the vehicle in China. Building the car in the United States means that Polestar 3 “will no longer be relegated to export market status when it comes to Polestar.”

Global production of the Polestar 3 is expected to begin next year, and the company said it expects to open 25 retail locations throughout the United States this year. Since Geely’s 2010 acquisition of Volvo, Polestar has launched two vehicles, the hybrid Polestar 1 and the all-electric Polestar 2 sedan. Headquarters for both Volvo and Polestar remain in Sweden.