The electric car was once a flight of fancy, a far-off future idea that was too fatally flawed to be a practical proposition. These days, they’re everywhere, and fast becoming a part of daily life for people around the world. General Motors hasn’t shied away from the technology, and has already delivered several electric models, albeit with mixed success in the marketplace. The transition is moving fast, and could shake a lot up, reports Automotive News.
By the middle of the twenties, the General Motors lineup should feature multiple electric pickups, crossovers, and SUVs. These are the primary profit makers for the company, as the market continues a shift away from traditional cars. Thus, it makes sense for GM to prioritize these segments. To this end, GM hopes to bring an electric Chevrolet Silverado to market in 2023, along with its counterpart, the GMC Sierra. The electric Cadillac Escalade should follow in 2024. In each case, however, these will be sold alongside traditional gasoline-powered models for the time being.
GM isn’t messing around when it comes to the electric question, and has dedicated $35 billion to the development of electric and autonomous vehicles through to 2025. The Bolt hatchback and crossover are GM’s only current EV offerings, up against 30 nameplates packing combustion engines. The automaker has plenty of work to do if it’s going to field a compelling electric lineup any time soon. GM hopes to have a lineup of 20 EVs on sale within the next five years, while retaining a similar range of gasoline-powered vehicles over the same time period. Longer-term plans will see 2035 as the deadline for GM electrifying the whole of its light-vehicle lineup.
Analysts have suggested that market share could easily be lost in the short-term if diehard customers aren’t still presented with gasoline options as EVs enter the market. President of global forecasting at LMC Automotive, Jeff Schuster says “It appears at least to some extent that they are willing to sacrifice the near-term [volume] for the long-term gain.” However, GM North America President Steve Carlisle insists that the company isn’t willing to give away market share so easily. Carlisle was quoted in May stating “I want to be in the top one or two positions in the segments that I’m competing in. So what’s that number and at what price and what margin stock? You’ve got to look at all that together.”
The automaker has stated a goal of selling only EVs by 2035, but it’s also made it clear that it’s just that—a goal, and not a commitment. The statement also only applies to the light-duty vehicle market, ignoring heavy-duty trucks, for example. It’s likely that the larger models in the pickup range, particularly those over 6000 lbs, will retain diesel engines for quite some time, for both reasons of practicality and to serve market demand.
Pushing a global auto manufacturer through a fundamental change of technology that effects every car in the lineup isn’t something that happens overnight. GM will likely face many trials over the next decade or two as it fights with competitors new and old to find a footing in the new electric world order. Whether it succeeds will be borne out in due time.
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