GMC expects to have the first all-electric pickup, the Hummer EV, in showrooms by the final quarter of this year — and it will soon get a companion, General Motors’ “premium grade” truck brand today confirming it will add an all-electric version of its Sierra, as well.
That, in turn, will mean parent General Motors will soon have three full-size all-electric trucks coming, with the Chevrolet brand developing a battery-powered version of its Silverado model. And they will all compete in an increasingly crowded segment, with as many as a dozen different battery-electric pickups coming by mid-decade from a mix of traditional automakers, as well as new players like Tesla and Rivian.
There is room for all comers, said Duncan Aldred, the head of the GMC brand, during a Monday afternoon media webinar. “It is, obviously, a huge segment, and a segment that hasn’t had many entrants in it” until now.
A good year for pickups
The GMC brand has long been the fourth player among the domestic automakers who overwhelmingly dominate the full-size pickup market. Ford has traditionally led the industry, normally follow by Chevy and Ram, with GMC bringing up the rear — and Japanese brands Toyota and Nissan battling it out for the little business left.
This has been a particularly good year for pickups, in general, the full-size segment accounting for roughly 15% of overall U.S. new vehicle retail sales. A variety of factors have contributed to that surge, according to Aldred. Today’s pickups are much more flexible, offer more technology — and they have added lots more luxurious details for those willing to spend the money.
As a result, said Aldred, they have “become an everyday vehicle for a lot of customers, including luxury buyers.”
“Premium” or “luxury”?
Officially, GMC bills itself as a “premium” truck brand, but it has been pushing ever higher into the luxury segment, especially with its Denali and AT sub-brands — which now account for nearly 50% of GMC sales. With today’s Sierra model, 21% of the pickup’s sales are priced at more than $50,000, the brand chief noted.
The initial Hummer EV model, the Edition 1, will start at $105,595. That will make it the most expensive factory-built pickup ever.
Set to start production later this summer at General Motors’ new Factory Zero in Detroit, the very first of the Hummer pickups will reach showrooms by “quarter four,” Aldred said during the Monday call. At this point, GMC doesn’t expect to see that delayed due to the ongoing shortage of microchips.
That said, Aldred cautioned there will be “a slower than normal ramp-up (of production) because of the expedited product development cycle.” The Hummer will have gone from concept to production in just two years, about half the gestation time of a typical GM vehicle.
Still more EVs to come
At approximately 9,000 pounds, the Hummer won’t be a typical pickup. The all-electric version of the Sierra will target more conventional truck buyers, much as Chevy is doing — and Ford with the all-electric F-150 Lightning coming to market in late spring or early summer 2022.
Chevrolet hasn’t given a hard date for launching the electric Silverado, though it is widely expected to reach showrooms in late 2023 or early 2024. The GMC Sierra-class BEV is likely to come around the same time, though Aldred would not reveal that or other details.
What’s clear is that GMC will soon have at least three all-electric models — after adding in the Hummer SUT coming in late 2022. And those will have even more company in GMC showrooms to follow.
“GMC will be a big part of GM’s … vision” of an all-electric future, said Aldred, the parent company expecting to eliminate gas and diesel vehicles entirely by 2035.