General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke at a conference hosted by British investment bank Barclays in New York this week, where she addressed a number of pertinent topics, including GM’s forthcoming new fully electric pickup truck and the automaker’s future strategy for electrified vehicles.
GM has already said that it is abandoning hybrids altogether, instead choosing to focus its electrified vehicle efforts entirely on full EVs. Barra elaborated on the topic when speaking in New York this week, though, saying that “customers aren’t interested in hybrids,” based on its findings. GM also sees hybrids as a stop-gap to fully electric vehicles – so instead of investing in the stepping stone, GM wants to puts its money toward the solution.
Not all automakers think this way, though. Electric vehicles are more expensive than hybrids and conventional gas or diesel vehicles, so some companies are hesitant to go all-in on a vehicle type that is bound to have a high price tag, limited demand and limited profit margins. Toyota, for example, isn’t going all-in on EVs and remains confident that cars like the Prius, Prius Prime, Corolla Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid can put up strong sales numbers and deliver decent margins while also helping to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.
GM admits that EVs won’t be making a ton of profit for the company at first. The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Dhivya Suryadevara, also spoke at the Barclays conference this week and told investors in attendance that its early electric vehicles, like the forthcoming electric pickup truck, will be “margin dilutive.” Even when they do make money, they won’t be as profit-heavy as conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, she said.
GM discontinued the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid early this year and currently has no hybrid vehicles in its portfolio. The automaker is making major investments in electric vehicles, however, with plans to launch a fully electric pickup truck by fall 2021. It is also expected to launch the new Chevrolet Bolt EUV crossover sometime next year, which will compete with electric crossovers like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV. It will also enter the luxury electric vehicle marketplace with a new Cadillac EV crossover, which it showed a design sketch of earlier this year.
GM seems to be covering lots of segments with its various upcoming electric vehicles, but it remains to be seen if it will be able to convert buyers of internal combustion vehicles over to electric, or if it will be able to attract those who have already made the switch away from Tesla.