General Motors Says No To Electric Pickup Truck

NOV 12 2018 BY MARK KANE 170

GM: No electric and no autonomous pickups.

We can sense the teary eyes in all of you already.

While the electric car market takes off and people are waiting for the next big thing – literally – a pickup from Tesla, Rivian or even Ford, we hear that General Motors is going to sadly stick with gasoline-powered cars and trucks for… decades. That’s not a wise decision, but it seems it’s already been made.

Mike Ableson, General Motors Vice President Global Strategy, said at the GM Global Headquarters in Detroit that we shouldn’t count on an electric pickup from GM:

“The core business is going to be the core business for a couple of decades to come. There will not be any AV/EV pickups.”

This is kind of depressing, as GM could at least start with a plug-in hybrid version. We believe that many EV enthusiasts will feel that legacy carmaker needs to be forced to do EVs, otherwise, they will not. By forcing, we mean some small competitor like Tesla will have to introduce an electric pickup truck to trigger a change in strategy among the big players like GM.

Luckily, that’s precisely what Tesla intends to do.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Categories: Chevrolet

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170 Comments on "General Motors Says No To Electric Pickup Truck"

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William

I’m gunna go Cry Me A River now, thanks again for nuthin’ Mary!

Viking79

This is why they need to spin off an EV brand that focuses on making great EVs (better than gas models) with entirely new management. Yes, it will lose a lot of money for a while, but then you can still make investors happy focusing on ICE pickups while directing a new branch towards future models. Like a high performance EV pickup.

As it is, I think Tesla and Rivian stand to be future American auto companies. Heck, they could even invest heavily in Rivian, would be easier.

=j

Saturn for EVs. Seriously.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I’d say revive the Pontiac brand. Saturn got a rather bad reputation.

Brian

Agreed. Saturn got a reputation as cheap/poorly made plastic cars. Pontiac was the sportier side to Chevy. Bring back Pontiac, and show how sporty EVs can be!

TM3x2 Chris

That’s disappointing but not unexpected – GM is not willing to cut into their profit margins on trucks.

scott

If they don’t produce an electric truck in ten years they will be bankrupt. Maybe Tesla will purchase GM at that point, just for the brand. Frankly there won’t be anything else of value if GM doesn’t get with the program.

Taylor Marks

The GM brand itself is worthless. Maybe Chevy has some value.

TM21

Agreed. That brand is tainted in my opinion.

REXisKing

Chevy just showed off / teased a high performance electric Camaro.
So, is this comment really indicating the direction GM will go?

super390

It shows that trucks have become the center of the Detroit universe; the cars are increasingly novelty items.

Clarity

They only care about their bonuses today and could not care less about the company’s future.

Phatbus

Like most businesses today the execs care little about the employees that need their job for the next 30 years and more about share holder return now. They can parachute out at any time.

REXisKing

Exactly. In 10 years, there will be significant marketshare cut out for EV Trucks. This will leave Tesla in Great Shape, and GM in bad shape.

But, let’s roll this back. Is this guy an actual GM product decision maker?
If not, there’s no reason to debate.
If so, you might as well continue to accumulate Tesla shares and dump GM.

Paul Smith

“GM is not willing to cut into their profit margins on trucks.” But Tesla is.

ModernMarvelFan

Because GM investors won’t allow that, but Tesla investors are okay with that.

Chris Stork

Um, I think Paul Smith meant Tesla is willing to cut into /GM’s/ profit margins on trucks.

Dav8or

I think the dumbest thing about this announcement is the announcement itself. Why broadcast to the world and your competitors your future product planning? Unless Mike Ableson is bluffing, let him go and put people with visioning there Mary. Get rid of the “It can’t be done.” people and put in the “So how can we do this?” people.

mevp

My first thought is that this is a bluff. I’m being too optimistic, I know. Sure seems like a scaled-up Voltec platform would be ideal for SUVs and pickups. Should be able to tow fairly well with all that torque, and makes AWD quite efficient in terms of both space and consumption.

Me personally, paying for more than 50 miles of batteries is a waste of resources, but I want to be able to go over the mountains in a snowstorm a few times a year.

That said, this is a culture issue, not a technology issue. A true country boy wouldn’t be caught dead in an EV. Yet.

Lawrence

Mary doesn’t care what happens in 10 years because she would have her cashiers in her bonus checks. Options and golden parachute long before then.

theflew

Last time I check GM has the only truck platform capable of supporting ICE, PHEV and EV drivetrains. It was designed with those use cases in mind. Also the original article wasn’t really about EV trucks, so I couldn’t imagine that being the forum for GM to announce any EV truck plans. And regardless when they do it would not be their bread and butter sales item for many reason and that could take awhile.

Andy

Don’t let fact get in the way of a good lynching…

scott

When you go bankrupt GM we will not bail you out again.

Vexar

Get that in writing from your congressman. Please.

Doggydogworld

It was a UAW bailout. Everyone else in GM lost big time.

Cypress

No. UAW lost too, the only ones that didn’t were GM executives.

esto_perpetua

GM stockholders, bond holders and many dealers lost big. UAW not only did not lose, but were gifted over half the company. And more than that of Chrysler.

skierpage

You’re misleading. “The VEBA [the UAW-aligned healthcare trust] will receive 17.5 percent of the common stock in a restructured automaker. The remaining GM stock will be allocated between other creditors of the company and the U.S. government.” But at the same time UAW retirees had to accept immediate cuts in medical benefits. All the legacy automakers are struggling under pension and medical benefits they *freely agreed to* in collective bargaining, and have been slowly rolling back in successive agreements. I think it’s fine that the workers and former workers were in front of stockholders and bond holders, I’m sorry you hate unions so much.

Fool Cells

should have never bailed them out. NO company is too big to fail. Failure is what the market needs to work correctly.

Lou Grinzo

Nope. Some companies are too big to fail because of the shock waves they’d send through the economy by crashing and taking out a bunch of suppliers. At the time of the Great Recession I saw an analysis of what would have happened had the gov’t let GM collapse, and it was horrific.

I didn’t like the bailout, either, but it was preferable to the alternative.

wavelet

There were bigger companies, only they had less bought congresscritters in their pocket.
The bailout made a complete mockery of the rule of law. Without it, the US would have reduced its dependency on cars by now with more e-bikes & public transit (much of it electric). Adam Smith is still rolling in his grave.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

GM is not the only car company in the universe. Without GM, there will be more other brand cars, including Teslas. Case in point, Spark was called Matiz which was made by now defunct company called DaeWoo. That didn’t stop SparkEV, the best subcompact ever, from being sold.

skierpage

That’s garbage. The bigger companies were the financial companies that caused the recession, and they didn’t even receive a slap on the wrist. That’s the real mockery of the law. Bailing out GM and Chrysler was a no-brainer.

Fool Cells

wrong. Companies fail because they are not meeting market demands. Failure is a natural thing and should be celebrated. Bankruptcy would have allowed GM to shed all its fat and reorganize into a more competitive car maker.

No, it was not preferable.

super390

But the suppliers that would also have gone bankrupt in a chain reaction had done nothing wrong. And the other car companies that in turn were also dependent on those suppliers would have been next in the chain reaction, even though they had done nothing wrong. That’s why even Toyota and other foreign companies supported the bailout.

We’ve forgotten the meaning of the word “interdependent”. Like it or not, modern capitalism was allowed to mutate into overly-complex systems on which our survival now depends. What was needed was a rational analysis of how to unwind this complexity, in finance, industry, energy and international trade. None of that was done.

Rightofthepeople

Who says a GM bankruptcy would have completely stopped operations? Far from it, likely most operations would have continued under a reorganized GM or perhaps a stronger company would have purchased GM and reorganized it in a different way. Most if not all of the suppliers would have been fine, even if they had to tighten their belts. Some suppliers might have been purchased by other OEMs like Toyota and VW. The government bailout simply kept the market from working and kept all of those companies from having to make the really difficult decisions. So the bailout was easy for them, including Toyota and others, that is why they supported it. Executives will almost always take the easy way out if they are allowed, they are human after all. But easy rarely equals optimum. In the case of the GM bailout we’ll never know what would have happened because our government interfered with the natural order of things.

arne-nl

“But the suppliers that would also have gone bankrupt in a chain reaction had done nothing wrong”

Yes, they did something wrong: they were too dependent on one company. One with a shaky foundation. As a business you have to make sure that you don’t go down if one of your customers walks away. You shouldn’t be allowed to lead your daily life in ignorance, expecting the government to bail you out when the sh*t hits the fan.

Cypress

Ummm,…they did go bankrupt and reorganize.

wavelet

Some reorganization… I don’t see any attempt to seriously be at the forefront of vehicle development. As a result, the US is <37% of GM's global unit sales, but it's not among market leaders outside the US.
While the Volt & Bolt are very well engineered by all accounts, there was no attempt to translate those cars (first in their segments of affordable compact good-range PHEV and long-range BEV) into decent sales by making larger versions, particularly no larger Volt-drivetrain PHEV.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/304367/vehicle-sales-of-general-motors-by-country/

Taylor Marks

How exactly do we ensure our representatives don’t bail them out?

I think the army is particularly interested in keeping at least two of Ford, GM, and Chrysler around… I don’t think Tesla is going to be competing for military vehicle contracts for at least a few years.

Pushmi-Pullyu

The mistake wasn’t in baling GM out of bankruptcy. There were and still are good sound economic reasons for not letting that big a part of our economy fail, even if it’s only a failure for a few years until new companies arise to serve the same market.

No, the mistake was in not saying “If you’re too big to fail, then you need to be broken into smaller pieces”, just like the huge financial institutions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should have been broken up into pieces. We’d be better off in the next economic downturn if Chevrolet and Buick and Cadillac and GMC Trucks were all separate companies competing with each other, so one could fail without bringing down the entire auto industry.

TM3x2 Chris

Agree completely, breaking up GM into smaller pieces would have helped revitalize the American auto industry. These new potential smaller companies would have gone in different directions to create a competitive automotive market.

zzzzzzzzzz

Small automakers have no chance to compete with bigger multinational companies that can do everything at bigger scale.

It is time of conglomeration in auto industry if you didn’t noticed. You may as well say close the door of an automaker instead of splitting it. It is not some bank that can survive small.

Fool Cells

Tesla seems to be doing fine.

David Cary

My thoughts exactly but Tesla isn’t exactly Chevy.

super390

Maybe it will turn out, once the smoke (and the global warming) settles, that the bigger multinational companies with their inflexibility, dogmatism and political lobbies led our species over a cliff. That we’ve been counting and rewarding the wrong metrics for our survival.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I see what you’re saying, but I submit Chevrolet and Buick and Cadillac, operating independently, would still not be “small” automakers. Surely any one of them is as big or bigger than Chrysler.

Not so sure about GMC Trucks, but since it has a narrower market focus, likely it has less competition.

Fool Cells

who would break them up? Some clueless government idiot? no thanks. Let the markets work and keep the stupid idiots in government out of it.

super390

Well, Standard Oil and Bell Telephone were broken up back when democracy was still more important than capital. It’s not like America declined after either of those, nor the industries they led.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

You have it backward. Standard oil and Bell were the most democratic of all, because they got that way by many people voluntarily using them (aka, voting with their wallet). No one was forced to buy their service. Breaking them up was forcing people to use something that people never used (voted).

Same is happening with calls to regulate google (youtube), facebook and other social media. They got big via democracy like Standard oil and Bell, and now some are calling for corrupt politicians to regulate them.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“No one was forced to buy their service.”

I guess you don’t know the definition of “monopoly”.
In most areas of the country, anyone who wanted to drive a car or to have telephone service most certainly was forced to buy (or rent) their products and their service.

Facebook certainly does need to be regulated, but not primarily because it’s a monopoly. The need for regulation is primarily because of its business model, which is to psychologically manipulate people into giving the service an astonishing amount of personal info, and then selling that info to third parties while claiming not to. Also, because Facebook is far too easy for bad actors to hack and get massive quantities of that personal info.

Facebook presents itself as benign or even helpful, but the truth is it’s insidious, and it is strongly contributing to the breakdown of civil society. The world would definitely be better off if Facebook and its rivals disappeared overnight.

David Cary

Breaking them up is the only reasonable partial fix to bailing them out. Truly – they should have failed. But since that mistake was made, the solution now is breaking them up.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Hmmm… seems to me that you’re the one here who is clueless about the role the U.S. Government played in keeping GM from going bankrupt, or (depending on how you look at it) propping up the company during a fairly painless bankruptcy.

When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, their leaders went to the White House, hat in hand, to beg the government to bail them out. I think Barack Obama was a good president, but in this rare case I think his administration fumbled the ball badly. They should have said to FM and FM: “Okay, we’ll bail you out, but here is the price: Your corporations will be broken up into pieces small enough that if this happens again, no one of them will be large enough to pull down the entire economic structure of the country if it collapses.

The same deal should have been made with GM.

As it is, this was a missed opportunity; we’re almost certainly going to see a repeat of the very same financial crisis in both the U.S. banking and automotive industries.

Cypress

Yeah, and f they were all separate companies, they would each qualify for the 200,000 EV federal tax rebate. That would be epic.

Pushmi-Pullyu

That would be wonderful! 🙂

wowlfie

No more Government Motors !!

Andrew

Goodbye GM. We’ve already said goodbye in the U.K. Hope you’ve paid off all the U.S taxpayers before you go.

PG

Bye bye, GM. You produced some good stuff (and a heap of rubbish) over the last century, and we will remember EV1, Volt and Bolt. GM will become another footnote in EVomotive history.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Understand that GM has a massive problem with activist investors who just want to milk them and run. So ignore anything about what they say they’re not doing and focus on what they are doing. If you want an electric pick-up, first you need them to make a AWD EV. No sign yet, although they have said they’ll be doing a bunch more EVs for China-time.

Doggydogworld

There are markets where BEV pickups could do well, e.g. fleets that drive a lot every day but never tow long distance. Extreme 4WD is another niche.

The mainstream pickup market occasionally tows long distance, or at least thinks they will.

PHEV is also difficult – if you downsize the ICE you lose the ability to tow up long highway grades. If you don’t downsize the ICE you just add cost and weight. You can get a portion of the cost back in fuel savings, but the weight is always there.

Fool Cells

the vast majority of pick ups never tow anything and never go off-roading.

Brian

But they can. And that’s what sells them.

scott

The ICE should act as a range extender only. The drivetrain should be purely electric, which means loads of torque.

I need an F250 PHEV. Unlike many truck owners, I use nearly every pound of available payload. I just need like 50 miles of pure electric range. I spend a great deal of time on sketchy forest roads hauling a 2700 lb truck camper.

wavelet

Why aren’t you using a tent?

scott

I do. I also use a truck camper. Would be nice to have a 50 kWh battery for boondocking.

Doggydogworld

Your F-250 engine is maxed out towing up freeway grades. No way to downsize without losing that.

If not for grades Volt would have ~20 kW ICE instead of 50.

mevp

It’s not maxed out. No way, not hauling 2700 lbs. These things can tow 14k, and do it fairly fast. In the mid 90’s our beater diesel farm truck, a 1-ton Ford, had a ~180 hp diesel engine, and it was fine pulling a 10k lb hay trailer over a 3k’ pass. No you couldn’t keep it at 80, but the point is it’s possible.

Modern trucks are so over-powered it’s not even funny. You could easily put a simple 4 cylinder in as a range extender and get a tow rating of 8k. Cooling the batteries and systems is probably the bigger challenge, always has been, even with ICE haulers. Probably need a 40kwh battery just to get 50 miles out of it, but that thing has enough juice to really pull.

Brian

Diesel electric trains pull with the electric motors. ICE is dead, pick up owners just dont realize it.

Doggydogworld

Electric motor is definitely not the problem. The battery is the problem.

Brian

That statement would have worked 8 years ago. No longer.

Andy

Batteries are still heavy, and heavy batteries eat into relatively scarce payload. That’s the issue.

Pushmi-Pullyu

No, he’s right. EV battery packs still store a very limited amount of energy, and that energy is insufficient for pickups to haul or tow heavy loads long distances at highway speed.

If that was not so, then mass produced BEV pickups would already be on the market.

paul k

Quite frankly I don’t understand the pick up truck craze. Sure if you’re a farmer or tradesperson you need a truck. Most of these pickups are beings used to commute to work, pick up groceries and take the kids to soccer. If and when the craze passes the big 3 will go down hard and fast.

Things being what they are, the first out the gate with a viable electric pickup will probably face a massive back log of orders.

TM21

Agreed

wavelet

I hope the truck craze and SUV craze all die completely. None of them are justified as personal vehicles.
CUVs are just SUV wannabe style statements, but for the most part simply sacrifice some passenger/cargo space without using AWD or a truck platform so are ridiculous without costing too much.
Anyone driving an SUV or truck should be required to have a full commercial license.

yo

CUV/SUVs are simply jacked up station wagons for people to cool to own an actual station wagon…

clearcut acres

There are quite a few people who actually use pickup trucks: farmers, loggers, tradespeople, rural dwellers. I have one and use it lots for firewood, building materials, sand, manure, fruit and produce. I know that there are many pickups in suburbia where a compact car or an e-bike would do, but don’t forget people who live in the country, driving on gravel or snow roads. I would love to have an electric pickup with all wheel drive and range of 200 km.

wavelet

For sure. Given what you use your truck for, that’s commercial use — my comment doesn’t apply. However, something from 65% to 90% (depending on survey) of pickups in the US are used only for personal transport — and they’re clearly not the best vehicle for that.
Even for a lot of professional uses, vans are preferable; the payload is out of the weather, expensive tools can be locked inside and aren’t visible. Ditto for transporting workers to job sites. In Europe or here, most commercial users actually do have vans, and only the few who mostly transport very large or bulk items (like lumber or manure) use pickups. Most bulk item transport is done with heavy- or medium-duty trucks.

Andy

Vans are useful for commercial fleets, where they’re left in a yard at the end of the day, but they have their drawbacks. Max of 3 seats means people usually drive independently to the worksite and no usage outside of work. The latter is one of the reasons more european tradespeople are/have moved to double cab pickups – especially small business owners/independent traders.

With a van they have to own two vehicles – one for work, one for personal use, meaning twice the space requirements (space being a premium in most residential streets), twice to upkeep, insurance etc. With a double cab pickup with cap you get the benefits of a van, but the practicality of an every day 5 seat vehicle. My father had a small building company with my uncle. They both used to have vans, then switched to pickups for this very reason.

There’s no one size fits all vehicle, and there are lots of nuances as to why people pick what they pick. It’s not as simple as you make out.

That said, thats not to say there aren’t lots of people that literally only use their pickups for commuting.

Andy
You drive a small 3 door hatchback right? And why are we so supportive of Tesla with their frankly massive cars that generally have a larger footprint (and are heavier) than most CUV’s? Modern CUV’s are basically normal cars that have lost length for height (so similar load space), have more ground clearance and AWD (and frankly a lot of sedans now have AWD anyway). Useful for those with less drive space and those in locations where it snows and/or the roads are bad. Trucks and larger SUV’s are bought a lot by those that either need the payload to move things (even occasionally) or tow large things (even occasionally). They’re a practical vehicle that can be used for day to day family duties, while still being able to do the tough stuff. It’s one of the reasons double cab pickups became so popular. You can use one vehicle for your trailer towing/dirty material transportation AND taking the kids to the sports clubs and do the shopping. Conversely sedans are basically compromised vehicles, whose only benefit is efficiency and performance. Performance is basically worthless on the road if you’re driving safely and so all you get is efficiency, which is… Read more »
Bolt driver
It’s all about only owning one vehicle. If I had to only own one vehicle, it wouldn’t be an ev. They simply won’t do what is needed. I do haul motorcycles and no current ev including a tmX can tow a trailer 300 miles round trip. Currently there are no fast charge stations either tesla or dcfc on the routes I use. I also have a boat which gets towed to the coast. Current ev’s won’t do that in a reasonable amount of time if at all. I also live on a dirt road that often gets limited winter maintenance. A 4×4 pickup easily accomplishes all those requirements. The down side is you pay a lot in fuel for the times when you don’t need the extra capability it provides. Most people can’t afford 2 or 3 vehicles. So it’s easier to have one vehicle that’s overkill most of the time. Besides you can’t just go rent a 3/4 ton pickup set up for towing. I happen to have been able to do so and have one vehicle for hauling and towing and an ev for daily driving. There are also a few days where I can’t leave the house… Read more »
super390

The industrial users will demand hybrids because of driving costs and because they want that generator built-in.
The consumers who fetishize the “toughness” and “manliness” of those industrial users are so irrational that I can’t guess how they will react if at all.

Lou Grinzo

Several times in the last decade I’ve had the following scenario play out: A friend who knows I’m a “car guy” asks for advice on buying a new family vehicle. I recommend something fuel efficient or an EV (always a car, often a small wagon/hatch), lay out all the expected TCO-based arguments, etc. Then the person buys a totally unnecessary full size pickup truck and complains endlessly to me for years about how much it costs to pour gasoline into the bloody thing. (And note that the “totally unnecessary” comment is justified; these are people I know personally, and I’m familiar with their circumstances, how they’ll use their next vehicle, etc.)

The pickup truck fetish is nothing more or less than a fad. There are many people in the US, overwhelmingly male, who simply can’t turn away from the blue collar/tough guy image they think they’ll acquire by buying a commercial vehicle for commuting to their office job, going to the grocery store, or driving their kids to after school activities. You can be smart and buy an EV or you can give in to the dark side and buy a pickup truck.

mevp

It’s a culture thing. Cowboy hats and gun racks. Emotions are how vehicles, sell, not logic.

menorman

So basically, GM is ready to cede market share? Color me shocked.

Chris O

Oh no, what to do if I want a vehicle like that that’s basically useless except for farmers and construction workers but I want anyway as a lifestyle accessory and I want it to have electric drive? Why I go to Tesla of course. Elon Musk is completely in tune with the absurdity of the pick up truck paradigm and is promising a completely absurd pick up truck that will fit that market perfectly.

ModernMarvelFan

I don’t think that is unexpected.

Making a BEV version of the Pickup trucks are just not practical at this point, especially with current infrastructure and battery cost.

As we saw with the Model X towing, the efficiency easily drops to 1miles/kWh which is absolutely useless in long distance of towing. Many of the pickup buyers do tow trailers across the state or country. In those cases, those buyers won’t touch those BEV pickup trucks.

However, for many of the so called “pretender” pickup buyers who drives their Silverado and F-150 to commute to work everyday, they can easily swap those out with BEV pickups. The questions is that how many of those buyers will switch to Tesla. I imagine that there will be enough of them to give Tesla a big boost, but I am not sure if there is enough for multiple companies.

scott

That’s why PHEV’s make sense in the interim until battery costs come down. However, GM isn’t just saying no to BEV trucks now, they are saying no to BEVs and PHEVS for the next few decades. That’s just insane.

ModernMarvelFan

PHEV sounds good on paper, but the cost of engine isn’t reduced because long haul towing over major mountains such as Sierra and Rockies will require a big engine. Battery will also need to be big enough to give decent AER which will cost to the trucks that people will less likely to pay for. GM no longer can count on $7500 tax incentives anymore.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Making a BEV version of the Pickup trucks are just not practical at this point, especially with current infrastructure and battery cost.”

Yes, but saying that will remain true for the next 20 years is astoundingly myopic. I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see competitive models of BEV pickups, at least in the compact and the high-end pickup market segments, within 10 years from now… and not just from Tesla, either.

ModernMarvelFan

We will see how much battery improves. Recently the articles pegged cost of Panasonic cells around $65/kWh, just for the materials cost. That pretty much puts a floor for a cost of packs around $80/kWh. That will mean that 200kWh would still be very expensive for a BEV trucks.

We will see how the Tesla pickup turns out. Tesla has proven many people wrong before. I would like to see Tesla prove me wrong on this one.

Happosai

From latest Tesla financials, looking at the average price/profit of M3, we can deduce battery costs are nowhere near there.

But Tesla probably wouldn’t use their Model 3 Cell chemistry for pickup and semi – since they are so big, you can afford batteries that don’t have the highest energy density. As the cost of lithium drops while cobalt goes us, building a 120KWh battery pack for a pickup with LiFePo may turn out cheaper than the NCA/NMC batteries in smaller cars.

Andy

120kWh is going to get you nowhere in a pickup truck. The back is inherently inefficient so you’re probably looking at about half the efficiency of a Model X, especially if you want any kind of practicality (roof racks or open back with things sticking up).

That’s not to say they couldn’t have their niche. For many fleets a 200 mile truck (which is probably not far off the range of said truck with 120kWh with a roof rack) would be fine, but for $80k+? That’s an ask even for those fleets.

tim

That whole pack would cost less than 100k miles of fuel

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Recently the articles pegged cost of Panasonic cells around $65/kWh, just for the materials cost. That pretty much puts a floor for a cost of packs around $80/kWh.”

Even if that’s true, even in the very unlikely event that we never see any revolutionary improvements (such as solid state batteries) in how cells are made, that’s still not much of a barrier. At $80/kWh, a 200 kWh battery pack would only cost $1600. Eliminate all the things that a gasmobile pickup has but a BEV doesn’t need, things like the transmission and exhaust system, oil pump, fuel pump, air filter, etc. etc., and you probably will save $1600 or more right there.

As Tesla has proven with Gigafactory 1 and the Model 3, the main thing keeping batteries too expensive for mass production of long-range BEVs is that batteries — and BEVs — are not being made in large enough quantities to substantially reduce costs. But that is beginning to changing rapidly, with all the new battery factories now being built.

Bolt driver

Missing a 0 on the battery cost. Also electric usage will be in the 1-2m/kw range. That is not trivial depending on the electric market. Fuel costs would run $.15-$.30 per mile for ice and $.$.06-.$12 at average an ev pickup. At 12k per year that is at best a $2100 fuel savings per year.

DS

Ssangyoung are saying EV utes are coming for NZ/Aus in the 2020s.

David Cary

That isn’t rational. The vast majority of pickups are “pretender” buyers. The F-150 is the number one selling vehicle in the US. If that isn’t enough, I am not sure what is.
I am thinking that the trade-offs for driving a pickup will gradually reduce their market share. I mean they are terrible in the handling/acceleration/ride/cost tradeoffs right now. But compared to an EV, they are absolutely insane. Won’t rational thought eventually win out? Nah….

Doggydogworld

Almost no car purchase above $25k is rational.

Pretenders don’t buy pretender trucks. That would be counter-productive.

Andy

Pickups have a 0-60 of around 5.5-7 seconds. They’re some of the fastest accelerating vehicles on the roads right now. Ride is debatable, I much prefer the smoother ride over a hard ride of a more performance oriented sedan, especially on bumpy asphalt or gravel, others prefer different. Handling is again debatable, their cornering ability is around the same as the average car, and if you’re buying a pickup you’re probably not planning on ragging it around corners.

The only real part of that list is the cost tradeoff, but again that’s a very personal choice. The lifetime cost tradeoff of something like a Model S is going to be higher than most pickup cost tradeoffs, just because of the initial price of the vehicle.

Basically, people have different opinions and preferences. Bitching about something because it’s not for you doesn’t really get anyone anywhere.

ffbj

GM still have a few years before the evs show up so they can milk the Silverado cash cow until she runs dry a year or so after the ev pick-ups start showing up. 2022 or so, not decades or even a decade.
R.I.P. Stan “The Man” Lee.

Cypress

Good thing they designed the Silverado for all drivetrains including EV and PHEV:
https://insideevs.com/chevy-silverado-chief-designer-powertrains-ev-phev/

Franco

Good Luck with that.

Harold T

for now….

SemoTech

Sounds like Verizon saying NO to the 1st iPhone

Richard

Ahahahhahhahhahahahahhahhahhhaaaa!!!!

Silly fools as they march proudly over the cliff.
(note: hardly surprising as GM/Ford are joined at the hip with big oil)

Pushmi-Pullyu

Seriously, GM plans to put off making a plug-in EV pickup for a couple of decades?!?!

In “a couple of decades”, any first-world auto maker that isn’t selling at least 90% BEVs is either gonna be out of business, or else will be serving only a small niche market!

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Cypress

The US is the big pickup market. And ass backwards. It’s totally conceivable GM will be selling EVs in the millions all over the world in a couple decades, and still selling ICE pickups to cowboy wannabes in the US.

super390

It’s conceivable because the US and global versions of GM will no longer have anything to do with each other. And if the trade wars become the norm the way they did in the early 20th century, national markets might become increasingly isolated from each other despite the absurdity of such in an age of instantaneous global communications.

Lou Grinzo

“Totally conceivable”? Heck, I’d say it’s about as close to a sure thing as one could imagine.

Andy

While they may sell ICE Pickups still (there will probably still be usage cases that make sense, especially in more remote areas) in a couple of decades most Pickups are likely to be either full BEV or at least long range PHEV. Weight and cost of batteries should have reduced enough to solve the issue for most uses by that time, and I’m pretty confident GM will have an EV truck by that point, especially if Ford’s PHEV version sells well (which is should, depending on cost uplift).

rune

in mathmatics a dead planet earth is still 100%

Cypress

And yet, they designed the new Silverado for all future drivetrains. 🤷‍♂️

Maybe these guys forgot to talk to each other.

“New Chevy Silverado Chief Designer Says All Powertrains Fit (EV, PHEV)”
https://insideevs.com/chevy-silverado-chief-designer-powertrains-ev-phev/

DONALD Boettcher

Great article by Mark Kane for letting ia peer into the leadership vacuum ar GM. TESLA is going after the 3/4 ton 1 ton market. ELON is going straight for their jugular. IF this is truly the strategy for GM at this present time, GM will be out of business in 10 years. After Elon skims the top on the truck segment, what will GM and Ford have left?

ModernMarvelFan

3/4 and 1 ton market is the smaller segment of the Pickup Truck segment. 1/2 Ton is the majority.

theflew

It’s to bad they only used one quote of a pretty informative article. GM also sees the use of flying cars becoming a thing as well. The actually story has very little to do with EV trucks.

Cypress

It’s understandable. The mainstream truck culture loves their diesels, and think EVs are for snowflake environmentalists. I’ve talked to a bunch of them. GM knows their customer base. They have prepared their trucks for all future drivetrains “just in case” but they are not expecting a shift anytime soon.

Even Elon isn’t planning to make a Pickup truck for the masses. It’s going to be some weird mobile niche truck with cyberpunk blade runner styling. I wouldn’t expect an F150 fighter from Tesla for at least a decade either.

Baird Edmonds

With all due respect to Elon’s genius I think his pickup ie cyberpunk blade runner is a big mistake if he really wants to make a difference in mainstream pickup market. Ihmo it needs to be an F 150 kind of thing but much more aerodynamic w/o the typical anti low drag monstrosities with grills the size of bedsprings.

Cypress

Yeah, I don’t get the strategy, unless they’ve done their homework and can’t make a case for it, right now. So instead, build a niche truck that will be uber expensive but blow other pickups away in terms of performance, towing, and off-roading. Even though you may only sell a couple thousand a year to EV enthusiasts and early adopters. Then work down market, like they did with their car line.

tim

Why are there any “halo” cars? If $200k+ sports cars make any sense, a crazy high end pickup should make just as much sense. Tesla has pretty well proven that low volume, high price, and high margin is the right place to start.

theflew

But would it look like a truck or some weirdo mobil? You can’t lower it to much, you still need a bed and tires that doesn’t make it look like a model X with a bed.

Doggydogworld

Musk could weld a pickup bed onto a Pontiac Aztek body and 50,000 of the faithful would pay $100k each. It won’t convert any of the current pickup market, though.

scott

Their minds will change quickly when they experience the torque of an electric truck.

theflew

Yes lots of torque just no distance in towing.

arne-nl

That depends on the size of the battery Tesla is able to cram in there. By the time the truck starts production, they’ll have improved their batteries both in energy density and price. It will likely have a 200 kWh battery à la Roadster 2.0 and be able to use something in between a supercharger and a megacharger.

theflew

But at what cost? You would need a 200kwh battery for a truck to have a chance. But that many cells take up space and weight. Adding $15k-$20k in battery cost just for an electric truck would limit its appeal.

Andy

The big diesels have almost 1000 ftlb of torque at around 1600RPM. From a torque practicality perspective it’s unlikely to be much different. Drag strip wise, maybe, but that’s not really why people buy big diesels.

You need to consider any additional benefit from torque with the negatives of the extra weight of batteries.

vr

At least have a goal, even if it doesn’t come through in initial time frame, this is not good, US domestic sedan maker surrender to Asian auto company, go ahead give Tesla a head start in Pick Up EV and cry later.

Cypress

P.S. Mary Barra should fire this guy.

Bill Howland

Well, at least he was honest.

wowlfie

Just say NO to GM and have a say in their imminent bankruptcy.

wowlfie

This little piggy (GM) went wee wee all the way to the bank–and was turned down for a bailout!

Dan

What are the technical reasons for not doing a plug-in pickup? The frames, suspensions, axles, brakes, etc. can take the weight. The DOE-funded Ram 1500 PHEV truck was pretty sweet. Why aren’t they doing this again?

theflew

Cost/Capability…

Image an ICE and EV truck sitting on a showroom floor looking similar. They both can tow 5k lbs., but one cost $15k more and has to be recharged every 150 miles. Yes EV’s have tons of benefits, but that’s a hard sell.

Solid state batteries will help on the cost as well as the size and weight of the pack. Maybe being able to add capacity when needed make since for trucks.

Doggydogworld

Solid state batteries will not help on cost for many years. There’s a reason the Roadster costs $250k.

Cypress

Roadster is not likely to be solid state, so not sure why you bring it up.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I’m really puzzled by this bizarre belief that the Gen II Roadster has some sort of revolutionary batteries in it, solid-state or otherwise. Look, there is already a prototype Gen II Roadster driving around, giving test rides, and so far as I know, it’s pretty close to the production vehicle. Obviously that was built with currently existing batteries, so why this unsupported belief that somehow the production car will have a radically new type of battery in it?

theflew

What we don’t know about the Roadster II prototype is if it has a full 200kwh battery pack in it.

Spider-Dan

I don’t understand why GM is being singled out for not making a BEV pickup.
Here is a (not-exhaustive) list of all the other automakers who are not making BEV pickups:

BMW
Daimler Benz
Fiat Chrysler
Ford
Honda
Hyundai Kia
Jaguar Land Rover
Mazda
Mitsubishi
Nissan
Subaru
Tesla
Toyota
Volkswagen
Volvo

To my knowledge, none of the above companies have announced anything remotely resembling a timetable for release of a production BEV pickup. So why are we only bashing GM?

Pickup trucks are simply not a good form factor for BEVs with the current state of the technology.

David Cary

But none of them have said they won’t do one. All of them have said they are going to do more EV models in the future. Obviously, the pickup manufacturers that matter are GM, Ford, and FCA. Does BMW even have a pickup truck – certainly not in the US? We know that FCA is not going to survive. So GM making an announcement like this is a pretty big deal.
Tesla has at least remotely resembled one.

Doggydogworld

The others certainly haven’t said no EV pickups for 20 years.

That said, GM didn’t announce this. One exec stated his opinion.

Andy

And Toyota, Mitsubishi and Mazda, who dominate the markets outside of North America. Toyota sell more Hiluxes than Silverado 1500’s for example.

Spider-Dan

I don’t know that there’s a meaningful difference between “we have no plans to build one” and “we might build one at some undefined point in the future, maybe.”

I think people are putting a whole lot of faith in one person’s statement about GM’s 2038 vehicle lineup.

ModernMarvelFan

“So why are we only bashing GM?”

Because it is fashionable to do so among the EV community.

offib

I wouldn’t be surprised if this will compromise Mike’s position in the near future. Tick-tock

Eric

Anyone want to bet that GM, within two years, says they are bringing out an electric pickup truck!

I’m fielding offers.

theflew

Agreed. There is no reason for GM to show their hand right now. It’s not like there are any other competitors out their with EV trucks. We know their new truck platform supports ICE, PHEV and EV so it’s not like they can’t to it.

Cypress

Are you including PHEV?

theflew

I think we have to be honest. It will take awhile before EV’s are the lions share of the market. And trucks are the hardest market for EV’s to penatrate. Trucks by their vary design are not efficient – high ground clearance, large open wheel wells, truck bed. And that’s not even mentioning the expected utility of a truck. Regardless of people seeing someone only driving the truck to work they often have hitches which means they could be used for a lot more.

That said I could see a plug in hybrid truck coming a lot sooner. GM didn’t say they wouldn’t do that – just not an EV truck. That would give you the benefits of an EV around town but keep the real utility of an ICE.

Just imagine if you took a 100 kWh battery and put it on a truck today. You would get something with at best a 200 mile range. And towing anything real would cut that range in half.

Brian

I think we should be honest. With GM’S track record on corporate responsibility for safety and the environment, people that care about the future should boycott this company. They won’t change, they are tied at the hip to big oil and it’s time enough so don’t give them your money. A token Bolt or two is mearly green washing.

Lou Grinzo

Agree on all points.

We have to recognize that there are two categories of pickup trucks, even though they’re both served by largely the same set of products. We have the “work trucks”, which haul and tow and get beat to heck on construction sites, etc. in addition to performing less demanding duties. Then we have the “show trucks” that do nothing but commuting, errands, and occasionally carrying something home from Home Depot that won’t fit in an Accord.

Show trucks can easily be electrified, but work trucks are a much tougher challenge.

As long as GM and Ford are trying to build one vehicle that serves both markets, there’s virtually zero chance we’ll see BEV full size pickups within, say, a decade. If companies split their product lines we could see at least some BEV models, perhaps built on a mid-size platform within a year or two.

JP

In 5 years, it’s going to be the state of emergency for GM R&D and it’s going to cost a fortune in catching up … good job Mary

Cypress

Not really. They already designed the Silverado to accept hybrid, plugin-hybrid, and BEV powertrains.

They just have no current plans to build one. Doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t change their minds.

https://insideevs.com/chevy-silverado-chief-designer-powertrains-ev-phev/

Lou Grinzo

This is a good example of the thing I keep mentioning on this site — how ready are companies to leap into BEVs? I would guess/hope that behind the scenes, Honda has/is doing the engineering for a much longer range Clarity EV, Toyota has a Prius EV, etc.

Judging what any company will do in 2 or 5 or 10 years based solely on what they’re selling now or promising to deliver would be a serious mistake.

Craig

General Motors is the dumbest company on the planet.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I’d argue that would be Ford, with Toyota a close second. At least GM is dipping a toe into the BEV market with the Bolt EV.

theflew

At least GM’s truck architecture supports PHEV and EV. The same can’t be said for Fiat-Chyrsler, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, So dumbest label might be misplaced.

Andy

Ford are 4/6th of the way through their current trucks life cycle. I.e. it’s had it’s mid life refresh last year and only has a year or two before they bring out a new one (2021 model year), so mid 2020. They’ve already said there’s going to be an PHEV option for that. No point in modifying a vehicle that’s close to major refresh time anyway.

G2

GM doubles down on dumb.

Windbourne

bankrupt in 2-3 years.

ModernMarvelFan

If it doesn’t, would you promise to stop posting comments that make you look stupid?

trackdaze

GM trucks will be stuck in gas station lines for their rations in 5-10 years time then.

The Electric Israeli

GM will be extinct, sooner or later

ModernMarvelFan

All people and company will extinct eventually, it is always a matter of time.

Marty

Well , Mike, heres a great Global Strategy for you. just make a couple of half hearted ev efforts to satisfy some clean air officials worldwide, (just do the absolute minimum.. but window dress it in the press a bit ok) , and bask in the glory of business as usual . .
Meanwhile , Tesla and others can eat your lunch, and your successor can rue the time you spent as “Vice President Global Strategy” Great job. /s

Bloggin
The biggest flaw with a PHEV pick-up is that it exaggerates the drawbacks of early plug-in technology. Having to engineer, pay for and maintain both an ICE drivetrain along with the EV drivetrain, along with too low battery capacity, which requires plugging in multiple times a day is just unacceptable by 2020. By 2020 the vehicle needs to be 200+ miles of pure electric or remain old school ICE. The days of getting halfway there were back in 2015. And just because an automaker is late to the game like Ford, does not mean showing up late makes it relevant. GM has no battery capacity for a more powerful EV pick-up so they are not going to help push their consumer base to a brand that can offer the better truck. Ford will try the PHEV, but they will do the same. Tesla offering a full EV pick-up will be the big winner, offering the EV truck buyer/commercial truck buyer the best in power and economy, with the capacity to produce that the competition can’t/won’t provide. If Tesla offered a 300 – 600-mile range of battery with a more traditional pickup design, they better be ready to mass produce here… Read more »
Keith Primeau

This will be looked back on in future years like the Reed Hastings(Netflix) Blockbuster video deal. Blockbuster execs laughed him out of the building when he suggested Streaming video would be the future. Now look at Blockbuster

Jim Whitehead

“Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon paraphrase. Notice how noisy Musk fell silent about GM?

francky

TESLA PICK UP
GM IS DEAD IN 10 YEARS

francky

IN 3 YEARS TESLA WILL HAVE 3 MILLIONS COMMANDS FOR PICK-UP
IN 10/15 YEARS TESLA WILL SELL 12 MILLIONS TESLA’S CARS AND TRUCKS