GM CEO Confirms Electric Pickup, Clams Up on Timeline

Mary Barra wants everyone to know that she — and by extension, her company — has no interest in seeing Ford Motor Company parading around an electric pickup with no competition.

Confirming rumblings that General Motors has an EV truck in the works, the company’s CEO said in an earnings call Tuesday that the automaker will indeed offer such a vehicle. This should make the ongoing truck wars even more interesting, especially if Ram grudgingly gets into the game with an electron-powered Laramie Longhorn. No word on that particular front, however.

Like Ford’s electric F-150, there’s no word on a timeline for GM’s upcoming electro-truck, either.

As reported by Automotive News, Barra said GM is capable of building “industry-leading” trucks and EVs, and “will not cede our leadership on either front.”

Underscoring her statement, Barra said, “We intend to create an all-electric future that includes a complete range of EVs, including full-size pickups.” Details were not forthcoming, with the CEO claiming her company will issue more information “when competitively appropriate.”

It seems there’s now a race to be the first to bring a fully electric full-size pickup to market in the U.S., despite there being no assurances that this segment of the buying public, which clearly doesn’t rank fuel economy as top of mind, will have any interest in buying the product. Of course, buyers who’ve long desired such a vehicle (and who sneer at dino juice-sucking V8s and mediocre-MPG four-bangers) might step up to the plate.

Whenever GM’s EV truck appears, don’t expect to see it offered in an el-cheapo base trim.

In January, GMC brand boss Duncan Aldred hinted that an EV pickup would be a good fit for The General’s upscale truck division. “Certainly, it’s something we’re considering,” he told CNBC. Aldred said that, due to the still-high cost of battery packs, the automaker would likely target higher-end vehicles with meaty margins. GMC’s Denali sub-brand, perhaps?

That said, all versions of the new-for-2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra can apparently handle anything GM throws at it. Ahead of the models’ launch, the company said the new platform was developed with future alternative propulsion sources in mind.

Until Ford and GM reveal their electric offerings, the only choice for buyers hunting a fuel-sipping electrified truck (mild-hybrid Ram 1500 aside) will be the 2020 Ford F-150 hybrid — though upstart Rivian hopes to get its R1T pickup into production for 2021.

Rivian plays a role in Barra’s announcement. After reported talks between Rivian and GM broke down earlier this year, Ford surprised everyone by partnering with the Michigan-based company, investing $500 million and announcing the development of a new vehicle based on Rivian’s “skateboard” EV architecture. Regardless of anticipated demand or profit, Ford’s announcements heaped pressure on Barra to convince investors that GM can stay competitive in an evolving landscape.

Ford has since stated it hasn’t changed its electric F-150 plans, leading many to assume the jointly developed EV will be a large SUV.

first published by TTAC

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