First Tesla, then Ford, and now General Motors. The U.S. automaker confirmed during an investor call on Tuesday it definitely has plans to build an electric pickup truck.
The news came directly from CEO Mary Barra and follows small hints the automaker had an electric pickup truck in the pipeline. Most importantly, it follows years of Tesla teasing a future electric pickup truck and Ford’s confirmation this past January that it has an electric F-150 on the way.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive, Wyoming, August 2018
Barra’s confirmation also follows failed investment talks with Rivian, an electric-car startup focused on trucks and SUVs. Weeks after talks between GM and Rivian reportedly soured, Ford announced last week it would invest $500 million in the startup company and build a new electric vehicle on Rivian’s skateboard platform.
The most concrete hints about an electric pickup from GM came from GMC vice president Duncan Aldred in January. The GMC boss said an electric truck was on the brand’s radar, as was the potential for an electric SUV. The luxury truck and SUV brand sells its vehicles at a higher premium than Chevrolet, which could give it more wiggle room to absorb the costs of an electric powertrain.
2019 GMC Sierra
However, Tim Herrick, the Chevrolet Silverado’s executive chief engineer, said at the pickup’s debut in 2018 that the latest-generation trucks are future-proof. Although the powertrain lineup does not consist of any electrified options, both the Silverado and Sierra were designed with alternative power in mind. Anything from a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to battery-electric powertrains and even hydrogen fuel cells will fit nicely in the light-duty trucks.
Although Barra confirmed the future electric truck, she didn’t elaborate on a launch timeframe or any other details. It’s likely an electric Silverado or Sierra is still a few years out as GM readies Cadillac to be the automaker’s lead electric-car division. Cadillac’s first battery-electric vehicle, an unnamed SUV, is slated to launch in or around 2021.