Mark Reuss Confirms GM Electric Pickup Truck In Development9
GM really wants to produce an electric pickup truck, as confirmed by General Motors President Mark Reuss, who recently spoke about future GM product plans at the UBS Global Industrials and Transportation Conference.
“We will have a complete electric lineup, including a pickup truck that’s in development,” Reuss said during the conference. The confirmation echoes similar statements made by GM CEO Mary Barra last April during an earnings call with investors.
“We intend to build on our truck leadership,” Barra said during the call, adding, “We intend to create an all-electric future that includes a complete range of EVs, including full-size pickups.”
Barra’s statements were offered as clarification following news coverage of GM’s failed tie-up with EV producer Rivian. Earlier this year, GM sought to purchase a stake in the Michigan-based startup, but eventually backed out, prompting a $500 million investment from Ford. Rivian already has its own electric pickup truck ready for launch next year that claims to offer 410 miles of range and is priced around $70,000.
The concept of an electric pickup truck is a relatively new one, at least from a commercially viable, mass-production standpoint. However, with recent developments in EV technology, including battery tech, the electric pickup concept is starting to gain traction.
During his talk at the UBS Conference, Reuss acknowledged GM’s upcoming third-gen global EV platform as integral to the company’s aspirations to produce an electric pickup truck. The architecture will offer huge flexibility, and can support up to 10 different body styles, multiple battery configurations, and a variety of pricing points.
“This architecture is the canvas on which we will paint a profitable EV program,” Reuss said. “We can build everything on this (platform) from just three drive units: front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive or e-all-wheel-drive.”
However, as Reuss admits, battery costs are a significant hurdle to profitably making an electric pickup. That said, EV tech costs are falling, while internal-combustion engine (ICE) configurations are under pressure from increasing regulation.
“We’re going to reach parity a lot sooner than people think,” Reuss said. “(ICE) compliance will become expensive. All these things and more will lead to greater consumer acceptance of EVs, plus they are going to be great cars.”
“That’s why we’re maximizing our effort and resources to make the future electric,” Reuss added.
While GM seems excited to offer a new electric pickup and a wide array of other EVs, customers are less enthusiastic, and it’s likely many buyers will be hesitant to make the switch, especially if those customers depend on their truck for work.
Indeed, there are many concerns associated with this emerging segment. Price is one of them, and even though EV development and production costs are falling, the ICE alternatives are still quite a bit cheaper. Charging solutions and range are also potential pitfalls, although GM will partly address this through a new partnership with Bechtel to build charge stations across the country.
An electric pickup would come with its own unique benefits as well. Beyond the obvious fuel savings and zero local emissions, all-electric powertrains also provide loads of low-end torque, which is great for hauling and towing, not to mention off-roading. What’s more, an electric pickup could also provide electricity at a worksite or campsite, essentially working as a mobile generator.
But critics aren’t entirely wrong when they classify GM’s electric pickup development as “forcing” an unwanted segment into reality, especially when the gas-and diesel-powered pickup offerings continue to sell so well. But with GM’s primary rival, Ford, developing an all-electric F-150, plus Tesla working on a truck of its own, GM’s efforts could fall into the category of “better safe than sorry.”
Subscribe to GM Authority for more electric car news and around-the-clock GM news coverage.
Source: Wards Auto
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
I think I would rather have a electric truck then a electric car. I like my cars to be performance cars and speed is one thing but the sound, feel, and vibration of a v8 engine cant be duplicated with batteries.
New vehicles, especially pickups, are ridiculously overpriced as is. Manufacturers get away with large profit margins on ICE pickups because of demand. Is the demand going to immediately be there for electric pickups that will inevitably be even more pricy? That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case with electric cars and pickup buyers may be even more resistant to such a major change. I’m thinking manufacturers won’t be overly enthusiastic about reduced profit margins and consumer resistance will grow considerably as prices approach 100 grand. Time will tell.
exactly Tim! The Bolt cost the same as a pickup truck, yet GM looses 7 grand for each bolt sold and makes 16 grand for each Silverado sold! and we are talking about with the tax credit and a car the size of the Chevy sonic! if the price of EV’s is cut in half, then the bolt wouldn’t still be the same price as the sonic. GM would loose 60 grand per electric pickup if sold competitively.
Also the inside of the Bolt is ugly cheap! and everyone said the new Silverado had a cheap interior! the bolt takes it to a new level to offset cost! what kind of interior is needed to make the electric trucks break even!?!?!
As long as they keep making cash hand over fist with actual profitable ICE trucks, they can afford to make cash burning novelty token BEVs all day long, as the take rate will remain low.
That’s a possibility I suppose but I see a few problems. First off, the new GM pickups haven’t been selling very well. Chevrolet is now lagging behind Ram. Not good. Secondly, GM dropped the Cruze like a hot potato and it wasn’t losing money, merely not making enough for them to bother with. How will an electric pickup be any different?
GM has stated that they are willing to sell fewer vehicles at higher profit margins but a CheVOLTlet pickup doesn’t really meet that goal. Apparently the Volt didn’t either since it was dropped as well. I realize they don’t want to be left behind if BEV sales suddenly take off but will they ever do so without government intervention forcing it? Seems unlikely.
Just my 2 cents, but wouldn’t a PHEV truck, particularly a simple serial hybrid PHEV make more sense than a pure battery electric? The 60 kwh battery in the Bolt weighs almost a thousand pounds. This is good for 238 miles of range. The same capacity battery in the Workhorse W-15 pickup is rated for only 80 miles. The reason is truck users need to know how far they can go when the truck is fully loaded. In this case the W-15 range was calculated with the maximum 2000 pound payload.
Workhorse says they can offer the W-15 as a pure electric with a range of 200 miles. I suspect to accomplish this they have to add a second 60 kwh battery and dump the ICE powered range extender. Assuming the 3 cylinder range extender weighs 500 pounds, replacing it with a 1000 pound battery means the 200 mile range can be had only by reducing the payload to 1500 pounds.
So what would a GM battery electric pickup with a 400 mile range look like? I suspect with a 2000 pound payload it would require more battery, and additional battery weight (remember each 60 kwh increment adds about a 1000 pounds) than feasible with today’s technology.
The reason a PHEV pickup makes more sense is instead of adding more batteries along with their high cost and wright, you can add range with a range extender and a tank of gas. Where each 2 gallons of gas will provide about as much range as a lot heavier and costly 60 kwh battery.
So, if you’re a business owner with a need to transport a fully loaded truck less than 80 miles, you can charge overnight at the shop and operate on electricity. Additionally, if you need to go further than that, a PHEV powertrain would allow the truck to operate on gas with range and payload similar to a conventional truck. I think this makes more sense than a BEV truck.
I think a serial hybrid is a good solution because it is simple, just an ICE turning a generator which in turn makes electricity to power the traction motors and to charge the battery with any excess power. This eliminates the transmission from the powertrain. The down side of a serial hybrid is it is less efficient than the more complex parallel hybrid (think Prius) approach, about 12-15% less efficient. But on the other hand if the range extender is used only 10-20 % of the time the elimination of the transmission would offset this issue.
I was wondering if this might be a good idea. Seeing there are a lack of charging stations why not put a small ICE on the truck to just act as a charging station when the truck is not in use, something like a v twin Briggs then have it shut down when the batteries are charged.
Sorry guys but PHEVs are a gateway drug. As a long term Volt driver I get what you’re saying, but in the real world they don’t have a prayer against BEVs. I hate when the gas motor runs and will never buy another, for any reason. Don’t you think that Rivian, Tesla, Workhorse, etc, completely understand what they’re up against and are going to bring it? So go ahead GM, phone it in and hope for another bail out later. Right now Tesla is years ahead of all others in a number of areas and all the legacies are more afraid than they’ll admit.