GMC Could Take GM on the Path of Electric Trucks and SUVs
Looks like it will still play sidekick to the electric Chevy Silverado when it arrivesby Sidd Dhimaan, on
General Motors is prepping itself well for the rEVolution. Recently, it announced that Cadillac will be converted into an electric luxury brand, and now, it looks like GMC will be taking the same route. CNBC reports that GMC may be considering an all-electric line up of SUVs and pickup trucks. Do Tesla and Rivian have anything to worry about?
GM is Electrifying Out Of Necessity; Not Choice
When asked about adding an electric version of the Sierra pickup truck, GMC’s Vice President, Duncan Aldred, said, "Certainly, it's something we're considering."
Basically, Rivian has stirred up the electric pickup market with its R1T pickup truck in such a way that every mainstream truck manufacturer is getting a cold sweat. Not to forget, Tesla and Ford will be throwing their hats into this hot-and-happening segment as well. So, GM didn’t really have a choice here other than electrifying the GMC lineup. Even though the Chevy Silverado is essentially the same as the GMC Sierra and has the goodwill to announce a stronger arrival to the EV scene, it makes more sense to push the Sierra as the electric representative from Team GM.
Kill Two Birds With One Stone
Since the Silverado and Sierra share the same platform, the Sierra can be used to test the waters initially, and if successful, Chevrolet can roll out the electric Silverado as well.
This way, the company gets two competent products at the research and developmental cost of one. If you look at it this way, the Sierra is again playing the scapegoat here. It is paving the way for the future electric Silverado to arrive and give stiff competition to the dominant players on the market.
No Wonder Electric Hatchbacks Are Not Cheap
The company did not exactly confirm if such a truck is already under development, but David Cole, director emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, raised some interesting points. He said, "It’s always a mistake to introduce a new technology on a lower-priced product. You have a better opportunity to cover costs if it’s on a high-end vehicle." Aldred resonated with the same and said GM has no option but to accept lower profit margins in order to sell a mainstream product in the electrified form.
Survival Of The Richest
The primary reason for EVs to be expensive is the battery-electric technology.
When the Bowtie Bolt EV was launched in 2016, Chevrolet said the cost of battery cells was around $145 per Kilowatt-hour. Cole spent some time at the GM battery lab recently and said that the automaker wants to be at the forefront of battery-electric technology. This is exactly where automakers take a hit. The Mantra is simple – if you can develop your own batteries or purchase them in bulk, you will be able to sustain for long and provide a fairly inexpensive car to the customers. No wonder a cash-rich Volkswagen invested $48 billion in battery-cell contracts to launch a full-scale attack on the competition!
Why Is Japan Lagging Behind?
Although Ford and Tesla have announced their participation in this battle, Nissan, and Toyota, the other two big truck manufacturers are conspicuous by their absence.
This is rather surprising since pickups carry some of the highest profit margins in the auto industry. For instance, if you’re looking for a full-fledged pickup truck with all creature comforts and amenities today, we are talking six-digit price figures here. And, to not (yet) think about electrifying the revenue-generating trucks is quite an astonishing move from Nissan and Toyota.
GMC Needs To Pull Off Something Sensational Here
Rivian’s truck is expected to start at $61,500, and we can expect Tesla to price its own offering in the same price bandwidth as well.
For starters, the Rivian R1T comes with not one or two electric motors, but four of them! This allows the pickup truck to develop a combined power output of 788 horses. The R1T can also zoom from 0-60 mph in three seconds flat and can drive for 400 miles on a single charge. The Rivian R1T has a payload capacity of 1,760 pounds and a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. But for GMC to build a truck, match these specs, and price its product at 60,000 odd bucks will be next to impossible initially.
Do you think GMC will be a successful electric brand in the future? Or will GM use it as a stepping stone to cement Chevrolet on the electric market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Sierra.
Read our full review on the 2020 Rivian R1T Pickup.
Read our full review on the 2020 Atlis XT Electric Truck.