Or will Ford, Tesla, and Rivian have all the fun?
General Motors has already announced that Cadillac will morph into an electric luxury brand and teased a new electric crossover at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. While Cadillac will be the focal point in GM's EV assault, it isn't the only brand working on an electric model. Buick is also rumored to be working on an EV of its own and now CNBC reports that GMC may be considering all-electric SUVs and pickup trucks.
Rivian turned a lot of heads at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show with its R1T pickup truck, even prompting Ford to confirm that an electric pickup truck is in the works. With Tesla also set to enter the electric pickup truck segment, GM may not have much of a choice here.
"Certainly, it's something we're considering," Duncan Aldred, vice president of the GMC brand said when asked about adding an electric version of the Sierra pickup truck. If GMC did build an electric version of the Sierra, the Chevy Silverado (which shares the same platform) would almost certainly gain an electric version as well. Duncan would not say if such a truck is already under development but did express concern about the costs of developing the necessary battery technology.
"It's always a mistake to introduce a new technology on a lower-priced product," said David Cole, director emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. "You have a better opportunity to cover costs if it's on a high-end vehicle." Aldred mirrored this opinion, telling CNBC that battery technology still carries a hefty premium and that GM would have to be willing to accept lower profit margins in order to sell a mainstream product.
Rivian's truck is expected to start at $61,500 and we doubt Tesla's truck will be much cheaper. Clearly, we have a long time to wait before electric trucks become as affordable as conventional models but at least we know automakers are taking their first steps towards building them.