CES 2022: GM unveils electric Silverado pickups to rival Ford and Rivian

General Motors’ $35 billion (about Rs 2,60,200 crore) electric-vehicle strategy will face its biggest test in 2023, when it will launch an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup with a six-figure price tag, Motor and Rivian Automotive launched their electric pickups more than a year after it rivaled Ford.

GM chief executive Mary Barra told the annual CES technology conference via video on Wednesday that the electric Silverado will launch in two phases in 2023, starting with the $39,900 (roughly Rs.29.6 lakh) WT Work truck in the second quarter. Will happen. Given to a limited group of commercial fleets. In the fall of 2023, GM plans to begin deliveries of a consumer, outdoor adventure-oriented model, starting at $105,000 (roughly Rs.80 lakh) – more than an electric Mercedes EQS sedan.

By 2035, Barra said, GM plans to offer an electric heavy-duty pickup truck, to replace the currently preferred carbon-intensive diesel engines in trucks used primarily for heavy trailer hauling. will use the battery. He added that Chevrolet is also planning an off-road “Trail Boss” version of the electric pickup.

Chevrolet executives said in a briefing ahead of Barra’s online CES speech that retail customers will see less expensive versions of the electric Silverado roll in 2024 and beyond.

GM shares fell 1.7 percent in afternoon trading following Barra’s presentation.

The introduction of the electric Silverado sparks a fight for sales and customer loyalty in a segment that includes some of the most profitable vehicles sold by Detroit automakers. Startup Rivian Automotive’s electric R1T pickup, first shown in 2018, and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk’s polarizing vision for an all-electric pickup called the Cybertruck prompted the Detroit Three to accelerate development of the electric pickup. inspired.

Cybertruck’s launch date remains uncertain. Stelantis NV’s electric Ram truck is due out in 2024. For now, the first lap of the electric pickup race is a contest between Ford, GM and Rivian, which began shipping the first of its $67,500 (roughly Rs. 50 lakh) R1T models and above. at the end of last year.

The electric Silverado is built on the same architecture as the GMC Hummer EV, and has design and functional features that hark back to the automaker’s avalanche truck, a hybrid of an SUV, and the pickup GM launched in the early 2000s. Like the Avalanche, the electric Silverado has a “mid-gate” that opens the rear of the cab and slanted wings at the rear of the cab.

The electric Silverado will enter the race for both fleet and consumer buyers a year or more after the electric Ford F-150 Lightning. This difference reflects contrasting strategic choices by rivals for a long time.

Barra and GM President Mark Rees are betting that GM will win in the long run by first developing dedicated electric-vehicle architectures and a vertically integrated battery and motor production chain, then high-volume electric-vehicles during its middle and later part. model will be launched. decade. Until then, GM executives expect the company’s proprietary Altium battery technology to cost less than rivals, providing a decisive advantage.

Ford took a different route. The F-150 Lightning current for delivery starting this spring is a modified version of the gasoline F-150 that is part of the best-selling vehicle line in the United States.

Ford’s approach was bullish, and Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley said last month that the company would have to limit the number of reservations it could receive from consumers for the truck to 200,000.

Farley is pushing aggressively to make more and more Lightnings before GM’s Silverado and other rivals hit the market. On Tuesday, Ford said it planned to double the Lightnings’ manufacturing capacity at its Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan, to 150,000 vehicles annually. Ford said last September that it was increasing its electric capacity from 40,000 to 80,000 vehicles.

Ford is starting work with battery partner SK Innovation on a network of $11.4 billion (about Rs 84,780 crore) vehicle assembly and battery manufacturing plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Both Ford and GM are targeting commercial fleet customers with electric pickups that cost less than $40,000 (roughly Rs.30 lakh).

GM said the WT, or work truck, version of the Silverado EV will have a 400-mile (644 km) driving range and will go to a select group of fleet customers under already negotiated deals. GM expects to deliver “tens of thousands” of electric work trucks, said Steve Carlisle, GM’s head of North American operations.

Ford and GM are taking different paths to win over retail customers. For retail customers, the F-150 Lightning has a 300-mile range, 400-liter capacity front trunk that can act as a drink cooler and an option that enables the truck to power the home during blackouts. It can carry 1,800 pounds (816 kg) of luggage. The starting price of the Consumer Lightning was $52,974 (approximately Rs 40 lakh), excluding tax exemptions, before Ford limited the order.

For retail buyers the electric Silverado RST has a range of 400 miles, has a “mid-gate” at the rear of the cab that can accommodate kayaks and surfboards, but carries less cargo and will not have backup generator capacity when launched.

Carlisle said the generator function is “very much on the radar.” A Chevrolet spokesperson said bi-directional charging to power a home will be available within the first year of production.

GM executives said they will emphasize an improved Silverado range in advertising starting this year.

GM’s decision to charge European luxury car prices for the Silverado RST first reflects the Hummer EV’s strategy, which started at over $110,000 (approximately Rs 80 lakh) and is now $99,995 (about Rs 75 lakh). Available for starting prices of Rs. – More than double the average transaction value for a GM vehicle.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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