GM hard at work on Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra PHEV pickups

Autoweek heard from sources at General Motors and Ford about how each automaker is addressing the dip in EV enthusiasm and sales. At General Motors, AW reports, “plug-in hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are headed to market, in a hurry.”

The sources gave no timeline for when the trucks might appear. GM CEO Mary Barra told analysts during GM’s Q4 2023 earnings call, “Let me be clear, GM remains committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from our light-duty vehicles by 2035, but in the interim, deploying plug-in technology in strategic segments will deliver some of the environmental benefits of EVs as the nation continues to build its charging infrastructure.” 

It’s too soon to predict how the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV will fare on the market, the Silverado EV Work Truck still the only one available to customers. It might be better for GM if they’re not too popular at first, the automaker’s cautious EV production ramp-up and recent software setbacks responsible for some still-healthy reservation rolls.

Barra said the company plans to build between 200,000 and 300,000 EVs, this year, which would clear that backlog. Heading into the end of February, with the Chevy Bolt out of the picture and additional EV pickup production pushed to 2025, our Spidey senses feel those are optimistic numbers. The Chevy Bolt was the third-best-selling EV in the U.S. last year, at 62,044 units. GM didn’t have another vehicle in the top ten. Furthermore, the combined sales of every EV in the top ten after the Bolt — seven models from six manufacturers — is only just over 200,000 units. The Blazer EV and Equinox EV could make it happen, but there’s no way Chevy wants to rush those, the Blazer EV still in software purgatory.  

The report speaks of collateral damage, GM said to have canceled an electric pickup sized below the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Automotive News said it saw the truck in January 2023, describing it as a futuristic two-door with a low roof and a 4.5-foot cargo bed. A new full-size van program supposedly got the axe as well, eliminating the plan to put a new Chevy Express and GMC Savana on a Brightdrop EV chassis.

Over at Ford, AW says its sources mentioned another canceled midsizer; Ford’s apparently stopped working on an EV pickup sized a bit below the Nissan Frontier. Also for the collateral damage column, battery-electric versions of the Maverick pickup and Bronco SUV won’t see the light of a dealer’s lobby “until at least the early ’30s.”  

That’s the state of the EV revolution. For non-Chinese manufacturers, the breakthroughs in price, technology, and infrastructure that will make EVs appealing to the average consumer are still down the road a bit. And when the Chinese manufacturers get into Western markets en masse, they’ll force a reckoning, whether they win or lose. If the cars meet the standards of the average buyer at prices that have Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk already giving public warnings, the familiar OEMs will suffer some ugly, if temporary, beatdowns. Should the Chinese cars fail — like, the price is right but the ownership proposition isn’t — the OEMs and naysayers will chirp, “See, there’s more to this than people want to consider.” We have a feeling the ground won’t stop moving for a while, and in fact, we suspect the tremors will only get more pronounced.

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