GM is investing $7.7 billion (£5.9bn) into preparing its US factories for the shift to electrification over the next four years, with the Detroit-Hamtramck facility being upgraded at a cost of $3bn (£2.3bn) to produce electric trucks and vans.
The large EVs will sit atop a new skateboard-style chassis, similar to that of start-up company Rivian, which combines motors and batteries for cheaper production costs. Around 80,000 units per year are expected to be produced.
The first model, currently known as Project O, is expected to be followed by a hardcore performance version in 2022.
Regarding GM’s choice to develop premium EVs before more affordable models, Auto Forecast Solutions’ Sam Fiorani told Reuters: “It makes perfect sense to hit the high end of the market in order to generate some revenue that might actually turn a profit.” Such a move, he noted, has proved lucrative for Tesla, which launched with the low-volume Roadster before going on to rival BMW and Mercedes-Benz with the Model S.
GM recently ended production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, citing a decline in demand for saloon models. Its replacement, the Bolt, is an electric hatchback that’s expected to cost its maker between $8000-$9000 per unit as a result of the augmented cost of EV production compared with that of conventionally powered cars.
Production of the iconic Hummer H2 and smaller H3 ended in 2009, as GM eyed a return to profit following a high-profile bankruptcy announcement.
The new electric pick-up is likely to be priced to compete with the Rivian RS1 and could beat Tesla’s long-awaited truck to market.
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