GM CEO Confirms Electric Pickup, Clams Up on Timeline

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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.

[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC, General Motors]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 30, 2019

    "Barra said GM is capable of building “industry-leading” trucks and EVs, and “will not cede our leadership on either front.”" Note to Barra: You are not building industry-leading EVs, and there is significant doubt about whether you are capable. One measure of 'capable' is whether you can source sufficient battery volume to compete. Where are you going to get the GWh of batteries you need to make a *lot* of electric pickups? Another measure of 'capable' is whether you can sell for a competitive price. If your e-truck is $80k, will anyone care to buy it?

    • See 1 previous
    • Gomez Gomez on Apr 30, 2019

      They’re not exactly building “industry-leading” trucks either.

  • Buickman Buickman on May 01, 2019

    GM is a dead horse.

  • Jkross22 This might just be me, but the times that I've driven an EV, I use the brake regen paddles to quell my inner MT/control freak nature.
  • Randy in rocklin I had a 82 733 at one time. It was an awesome car. Good power and great handling. Smooth shifting and ride.
  • Jkross22 Gavin Newsom may not be aware of the fiscal problems of the state he leads, as his focus is on criticizing other states. It's actually better that he has someone shining a laser light on a map so he can stop making things worse here. Just lace his hair gel with some catnip and have him hit himself trying to get to it. Things in LA are getting so bad that even the leftists and progressives are showing up to LA city council meetings with mirrors to protest, well, everything - gas prices, the homeless pandemic, the house pricing pandemic, the crime pandemic. It shocked the City Council that their subjects dare attempt to ask for accountability. The Council president insisted that people with mirrors be escorted out, lest the council be reminded of their incompetence and hubris. That being said, there is no connection being made between the way LA subjects vote and the results it yields. Never underestimate the stupidity of the typical CA voter. The state is a basketcase but voters keep electing the same retreads every time.
  • ScarecrowRepair Too much for too little, unless you treat it strictly as a toy.
  • DedBull Mk2 Jettas are getting harder to find, especially ones that haven't been modified within an inch of their life. I grew up in an 85 GLI, and would love to have one in as close to stock configuration as I could get. This car isn't that starting point, especially sitting 3-4 years in the NY dirt. It's a parts car at best, but there might still be money in it even at that price, if you are willing to take it down to absolutely nothing left.