GM isn’t particularly interested in dividing up its internal combustion and pure-electric vehicle businesses, having no plans to follow in the footsteps of its crosstown rival, Ford. Ford CEO Jim Farley earlier in the month announced that the company would essentially split into three distinct business units: Ford Blue, focusing on internal combustion; Ford Model e, focusing on electric vehicles and connectivity; and its existing commercial vehicles division.
But for GM, the benefits of keeping the family together, under one roof, outweigh the benefits of splitting off.
“We’re not feeling any disadvantage to keeping [the divisions] common,” GM’s Director of Electrification Strategy, Tim Grewe, said on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press. In fact, Grewe says, GM sees it as advantageous to keep the electric and combustion businesses together, as it will better allow programs to share innovations, regardless of propulsion technology.
Grewe says that this is largely thanks to the Ultifi software platform/data farm that GM has invested so much in. If the team responsible for the GMC Hummer EV innovates something new, for instance, it lands in the Ultifi data farm, and it can then be plucked and carried over to vehicles in the internal combustion fleet.
It Depends On How You Define ‘Separate’
It’s not clear why the above example wouldn’t apply were GM to go through with splitting up its electric and internal combustion divisions. The automaker already operates a breadth of different badges that all share technologies, after all. Why wouldn’t separating the EV business off from the combustion one look largely the same?
Another, equally sensible reason why GM might be apprehensive to split off its electric vehicle business is because keeping gas and electric under one roof might make it easier to move talent around between programs. Back in August, 2020, the automaker decided to shuffle members from the Chevrolet Corvette team into its electric and autonomous vehicles crew. GM said at the time that the move was all about injecting some fresh, exciting ideas into its EVs and AVs, although it simultaneously supports the notion that the next-generation Corvette will in fact be a pure-electric sports car.