The ripples caused by Tesla’s genius/botched presentation of its Cybertruck continue to make spread outward. The company’s competitors, for example, are being forced to react. Ford had already announced its plans for an electrified F-150, but now General Motors confirms its timeline for producing an electric-powered pickup of its own.
Lo and behold, the plan involves introducing the EV right around the same time as Ford’s… and Tesla’s.
"General Motors understands truck buyers, and we also understand people who are new coming into the truck market ... that view it as a lifestyle vehicle. It will be a very capable truck. I'm pretty excited about it."
- GM CEO Mary Barra
That quote, to be clear, is from a presentation given by the General Motors boss last Thursday… before Tesla’s reveal of the Cybertruck.
Mary Barra also said that the company had learned from its experience with the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt models that what consumers want it is a “beautiful vehicle” that delivers 500 km of range. She also reiterated that hybrid systems represent, in GM’s view, a temporary solution and that the company’s clientele is not particularly interested by them, adding that industry-wide sales figures back that assessment up.
On the other hand, GM continues to believe that hydrogen-based powertrains are potentially profitable.
"We believe moving to electric vehicles is the right thing to do for the environment. Solving the customer pain points to drive EV adoption, as opposed to being regulatory-driven, is what we're moving full-steam-ahead on."
- Mary Barra
Ford seems to have reached largely the same conclusion, as witnessed by the Mach-E just presented. Originally the model was conceived as a “compliance model”, its existence necessitated by government regulations. It has evolved to become a model able to generate emotion – and thus, hopefully, lots of buyers.
While both Ford and General Motors likely breathed sighs of relief on seeing the design of Tesla’s Cybertruck, they’ll want to remember that in the long run, they’ll still have to match the Tesla truck’s capabilities when all the models are on the market, say in 2022.
General Motors has promised to reveal more about its electrification strategy by summer 2020, likely at the next Detroit Auto Show taking place in June. We’ll know then if the rumours regarding the resurrection of the Hummer brand as an all-electric marque are well-founded. In this last case, the continued strength of the name bodes well for the project.