Cadillac began production on Monday of its first-ever electric vehicle, the $60,000 Lyriq crossover.
General Motors’ luxury brand has high hopes for the SUV as the first model in the battery-electric portfolio it plans to roll out by 2030. Demand for the car, which goes on sale in May, prompted Cadillac to boost production to 25,000 units this year, up from the 3,200 units previously projected, and launch nine months early.
That’s an encouraging sign for GM, which said it will spend $35 billion toward launching 30 new EVs globally over the next three years. The automaker spent $2 billion readying its Spring Hill, Tennessee, manufacturing complex – the automaker’s largest in North America – to build the Lyriq and other EVs.
The investment is part of GM’s overall strategy to compete with behemoths including Tesla and Volkswagen, which is spending $100 billion toward electrifying its portfolio. A supply chain crunch for semiconductors and batteries has hampered EV production globally.
GM’s forthcoming models will be based on the Ultium battery platform that underpins the Lyriq and its other EVs. Its modular architecture, which can produce 19 different battery and drive configurations, will help GM scale its battery-electric operations and reduce costs.
In addition to the Lyriq, the Spring Hill plant makes gas-engine SUVs including the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 and GMC Acadia. GM President Mark Reuss said in a briefing call with media on Monday that the factory will add more EVs to its assembly lines but declined to comment on when or whether the plant will produce EVs only.
“We have the flexibility to go both ways,” Reuss said. “We’re in the perfect spot. We can build internal combustion engines, we can build EVs, and we can follow the market.”