At GM’s recent “EV Day” in Warren, Michigan, the common feeling among attending journalists and writers after the 2-hour event was one of information overload. A fellow writer who was on my return flight said he was so wiped out he was going to “sleep the entire flight home.”
Part of what made the event so intense was the combination of so much information and visuals and not being able to take any photos or capture notes using smartphones, tablets, or computers. I personally scribbled 28 pages of notes as fast as I could. Additionally, there was simply the sensory overload of seeing 10 different new electric vehicles (some without model names); having three 20 minute sessions on battery design, EV charging infrastructure, and vehicle design; and having both private and public Q&A sessions.
Information on the 10 New GM EV Models: Known + Pure Speculation
Ultimately, making sense of the day and what we saw was made a bit gray because few specific details were provided, especially about the vehicles themselves. (There was, however, quite a bit of detail provided on GM’s batteries and EV charging plans.) So, to try to make sense of it all, I created the table below with information on the 10 GM EVs that were revealed during EV Day.
To be clear, MOST of the information in my table below is complete speculation on my part. The information in green was shared or confirmed by GM, but all else in italics is based on my own gut instinct and estimates. We do know that all the EVs are expected to be available by 2025 and that battery packs across the models will range from 50 kWh to 200 kWh.
The other specs we know from GM’s press release include:
- Estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge.
- Most GM EV car models will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200 kW fast-charging capability.
- Vehicles built on GM’s truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability.
- 0 to 60 mph acceleration as low as 3 seconds.
- Designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging.
- Motors designed in-house will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive applications.
Other Potential New GM EVs
Beyond the electric vehicles on display in the Design Dome, GM teased a few other future EVs in two different videos shown during and released after the event. Below are screenshots from the video:
Chevrolet EV Pickup: Chevrolet pickups and big SUVs are obviously key to GM profits, but the only Chevrolet EVs showcased were the two Bolts and the new CUV built on a shared platform with two Buick models. However, in the video shown at the Hummer truck display area, GM showed a modern, muscular, and attractive-looking concept Chevrolet EV pickup.
In a video released to the media after the event, you see a silhouette of a pickup which I’m going to assume was the Chevrolet (and/or a GMC) pickup shown in the Hummer video. I also assume that future Chevrolet and GMC EV trucks will be built on the same platform as the Hummer trucks. During the Q&A with executives, I believe it was president Mark Reuss who did say an all-electric Chevrolet pickup was coming, but he would not share a date. Based on the late 2021 date for the Hummer trucks, I’m going to peg a Chevy EV truck being available no later than 2024.
Chevrolet Camaro EV: One of the silhouettes in the video is of sporty-shaped sedan that to many observers looks a lot like a Camaro. Unlike the Chevrolet pickup, no mention of a Camaro was mentioned at any time during the day, or at least that I heard. And while GM apparently plans to to discontinue the current gas-powered Camaro in 2023, with Ford launching the Mustang Mach-E BEV late in 2020, it would make sense to continue the Detroit muscle car wars with an all-electric Camaro. An attractive, lightning fast, and relatively affordable electric Camaro could put some spark into the Chevy brand and be a fun purchase for the midlife crisis crowd.
GM’s EV Brand & Model Strategy
One of the things you’ll notice from the list above of GM’s EVs — and what was really apparent if you were in person in the Design Dome — is that except for the two Bolt models, the majority of electric vehicle models are large to monstrous (a few are midsized) and are also mostly higher-end brands (Cadillac, Hummer, and Buick) and models.
CEO Mary Barra was asked about these “elephants in the room” (pun intentional) several times and she always turned and pointed to the two Chevy bolt models as an example of GM having smaller, more affordable models available.
And while it would be easy to attack GM for focusing on luxury and huge vehicles, it is in fact the right strategy based on the current and near-term state of the EV market, combined with the key competitive EV brands and models that will be available on the US market.
In particular, I think GM nailed its EV strategy with a focus on the three high-end Cadillac models as well as the two Hummer trucks.
Cadillac: I had a chance to have a private conversation with Cadillac president Steve Carlisle and we discussed the plight and opportunity of the Cadillac brand. I shared my view of Cadillac being a bit like Harley-Davidson, in that it is a tired brand with an aging customer base and market.
Steve smiled, nodded, and agreed that as a more than 100-year-old brand, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use electrification to reinvent the brand and reinvigorate both employees and buyers alike. GM has discovered with the much lower price point Chevrolet Bolt EV that 75% of its buyers have never owned a Chevrolet previously. Carlisle believes a similar opportunity exists with Cadillac.
In a small-group conversation Barra shared that sales of GM brands are weakest on the coasts of the US, where in fact EV sales are the highest. GM’s EV focus on luxury brands and performance-oriented electric powertrains will enable Cadillac to attract buyers who otherwise might consider vehicles from Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, Lincoln, and even the German luxury brands.
Hummer by GMC: Last year when I first heard rumors of a Hummer BEV I thought it was a brilliant idea. I personally despised the original Hummers and referred to them as “urban assault vehicles,” stemming from their military vehicle origins. But despite the polarizing attitudes toward the Hummer brand, there is no denying its status as a macho and powerful vehicle.
In a way, a Hummer BEV could do for electric trucks what the Tesla Model S did for electric performance sedans. While I don’t expect Hummer EVs to sell in large volumes, they will provide a platform for GM to build upon and sell a lot of electric GMC and Chevrolet pickups in the future.
Buick: Buick sold 206,929 vehicles in the US in 2019, roughly 10% of the 1,958,925 unit sales for Chevrolet, according to Automobile magazine. But Buick is an important brand for GM in China, so creating a global Buick model platform is important for GM. Electric CUV Buick models could breathe a little life into a brand that has little luster in the minds of US customers.
Forecast of Electric Vehicle Sales By Model
Beyond providing very little detail on most of the 10 new EVs, GM was completely mum on future production volume. The only guidance given was the target of selling 1 million electric vehicles globally by 2025. With that target in mind, I got out my crystal ball and took a stab at what global sales of 1 million EVs might look like at the end of 2025 when spread across the 10 new EVs, existing EVs, China-only models, and a few more models that may reach market by the end of 2025.
Stay tuned for more developments from GM.