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GM and Honda announce plans to build 'affordable' EVs arriving in 2027

They'll build vehicles in the compact crossover and other segments.

General Motors reveals its all-new modular platform and battery system, Ultium, Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at the Design Dome on the GM Tech Center campus in Warren, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors) (Steve Fecht for General Motors)

GM and Honda will co-develop a series of affordable EVs using a global architecture and GM's Ultium battery technology, the companies announced. They promised to build vehicles in multiple product segments, including the compact crossover category, calling it a "new chapter" in their partnership. That significantly expands on previous news that Honda would create two EVs using GM's battery technology.

"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,” said GM CEO and chair Mary Barra.

The companies promised to share technology, design and sourcing strategies, while working toward "standardizing equipment and processes to achieve world-class quality, higher throughput and greater affordability," GM's press release states. The companies will also discuss EV battery collaboration in an effort to drive down costs and improve performance and sustainability.

GM and Honda's new co-developed EVs will arrive in 2027
The Honda E (Engadget)

The word "affordable" comes up a lot in the press release, as both companies emphasized the idea of building cheaper EVs than are currently available. "Honda and GM will build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve a dramatic expansion in the sales of electric vehicles," said Honda president & CEO Toshihiro Mibe.

The tie-up makes a lot of sense, particularly for Honda, which has lagged way behind rivals in terms of EV development. By joining forces with GM, it can share development costs and contribute its considerable BEV and hybrid expertise. The two automakers previously announced a collaboration in 2018 to produce autonomous vehicles, with Honda taking a stake in GM's Cruise self-driving division. The companies also joined force on hydrogen fuel cells.

Honda recently showed that it can build EVs with the Honda E, a cute and technologically advanced vehicle with limited battery range, designed mostly for urban use. More recently, it unveiled a pair of vehicles it's developing with GM including the Prologue, to be launched in early 2024, followed by Acura's first EV SUV.

GM, meanwhile, continues to develop its Ultium battery tech that uses pouch- and prismatic-style cells rather than cylindrical cells like Tesla. The aim to use it in up to 30-plus vehicles over the coming years, with the first models arriving in 2023. GM affirmed that it would release "a new all-electric product for North America positioned at a price point lower than the upcoming Chevrolet Equinox EV, building on the 2 million units of EV capacity the company plans to install by the end of 2025."