Update: Tesla has denied any such partnership with GM in response to an email from CleanTechnica.
Update #2: GM declined to comment.
For years, electric vehicle enthusiasts in the US have been begging for a solid electric pickup truck for consumers. I’ve long reported on monthly electric car sales and I put them in the context of broader US car sales, but looking at the number of gas-thirsty pickup trucks sold each month is a whole other level and is quite disturbing.
Elon Musk announced a while back that Tesla was working on a wicked electric pickup like nothing else we’ve seen. Just last month, Ford finally announced plans for an electric version of the F-150, which is the king of the US auto market — by far — with nearly a million sales a year. But what about GM, which currently has the #2 vehicle on the US auto market, the Chevy Silverado?
Remember, Chevrolet raced the Bolt to market in order to be the first US automaker offering a long-range, semi-affordable electric car. It cares about going electric, maybe.
A source somewhat close to the heart of a big new development at GM has informed CleanTechnica that GM is indeed working on an electric pickup truck, and it is based around a Tesla powertrain. As in, the majority of the guts of the truck will be made by Tesla.
I know, I know — it seems unlike GM to swallow its pride and tap Tesla for this job. However, I’d briefly note a few things.
- LG reportedly designed and built much of the Chevy Bolt’s powertrain.
- GM doesn’t have to announce or acknowledge a Tesla partnership if it doesn’t want to look less than capable.
- If GM does announce or acknowledge a Tesla partnership, it is likely to get big props from consumers for being brave and using the world’s electric vehicle leader to make an awesome electric pickup. Tesla is cool. Being friends with Tesla is cool.
- If GM wants to make sure to compete well with an electric F-150, there’s a good chance this is its best avenue, and the company knows that.
- Batteries — batteries, batteries, batteries. Aside from Tesla’s skill at designing and producing high-performance electric motors, it has a giant source of batteries. If other automakers want to offer mass-market EVs in the coming years, they need a good source of batteries, and Tesla may be as good as it gets for the time being.
- GM is good at building trucks, at putting them together. It has massive, awesome truck brands. Even if Tesla develops an amazing electric pickup truck of its own, many buyers will want to stick with the brands they know and love, and a truck design they’re familiar with. They may not want a giant Tesla touchscreen, minimalist interior, and smooth, futuristic exterior. A Tesla–GM partnership is a win–win that would bring a lot more people into the electric fold.
Yes, I get it, you’d like to see proof of this partnership before getting too excited. So don’t get too excited. Take it as a rumor and stay tuned for more info in the coming months. I don’t currently have hard proof of this truck (no definitive picture or document), but I received enough information to feel confident the tip is correct and to thus run this article. The core source of this information wants/needs to remain anonymous and doesn’t even want any hints of identity tossed around, so I’m not going to say more about that. But let yourself dream a little bit tonight and accept that GM might be making a brilliant move in its approach to electric trucking.
If this plan rolls as smoothly as an electric powertrain, we may well have a Tesla semi, Tesla pickup, and Tesla-powered pickup from GM (Sierra Electric?) getting close to the starting line before the end of 2019. It could be another exciting year for the electric revolution. (Well, how could it not be?)
Note: No, the source is not Elon Musk.
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