It has been quite a week for American automakers when it comes to electric vehicles. First the world was finally treated to Ford’s Mustang Mach-E in all of its controversial glory. Then Elon Musk broke the internet (and some windows) with the Tesla Cybertruck. Perhaps not wanting to be left out of this electric vehicle news cycle, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has confirmed that its fleet of electric pickup trucks will be coming from the General in late 2021. That’s the same time that the Tesla truck is scheduled to launch – should it not experience any delays.
The information comes by way of Reuters, citing comments made by GM’s top executive at an investor meeting in New York on Thursday. This story follows a report made by the publication last month, which stated that GM plans to build a new line of electric pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning in late 2021. It is believed that this BT1 truck program, aka “Project O” is on an accelerated timeline, and will also spell the return of the Hummer brand.
This should not come as a surprise to anyone, as electric vehicles from every segment are seemingly in the works from every major manufacturer at this point, as well as a few upstart companies like Bollinger. Considering that Elon announced that his Tesla Cybertruck is slated to enter production two years from now, and that there are rumors of an electric Ford F-150 coming at that time as well, we might soon have an electric pickup battle on our hands.
The GM BT1 platform is expected to borrow heavily from T1 architecture that underpins the company’s current line of full size trucks as well as upcoming SUV products. The BT1 platform is expected to utilize a skateboard-style battery pack instead of the more traditional frame rail setup. This has benefits, such as a lower center of gravity that improves handling. But there are also tradeoffs, as electric trucks may be limited in their configurations, their robustness and their added cost, which will translate to higher prices for the consumer.