What’s taking GM so long with fun electric cars?
General Motors (GM) was actually a pioneer in electric cars, with the creation of the Bob Lutz-sponsored Chevy Volt, followed by the Bolt. While it was critiqued by many for not being a Tesla, the Bolt did have two major advantages over the Model 3: it was well made, without the rather insane defects of the Tesla Model 3, and it sold for the claimed price. Even today, there is no $30,000 Tesla car (in case you forgot, that’s what the Model 3 was supposed to start at). Indeed, Tesla’s web site suggests the price is just $33,315, when it is actually $39,490 (with a $1,875 tax credit).
By now, one might think that GM would have a whole series of electric vehicles, or at least as many as BMW does. In reality, it’s still the Bolt or nothing. Battery-electric pickups are coming, in two years. A plug-in hybrid version of the 2017 CT6 was shown, but 2020 CT6 engines are a 3.6 liter V6 and a 4.2 liter twin-turbo V8. Not only don’t you get a PHEV, there’s not even a conventional hybrid. Today, GM does not offer a single PHEV, though it has the all-battery Bolt; and the company announced it would not sell any PHEVs, only battery-electrics.
It’s true that GM is not along; Ford has their Fusion PHEV, and Chrysler has the Pacifica PHEV, but otherwise the American field is bare. In battery vehicles, it’s again one to a customer, except for Tesla and, soon, Rivian and Bollinger.
The main culprit is likely gasoline prices, which have remained stubbornly low. There’s no incentive to make battery-powered cars when your customers really don’t want them, for the most part. But customers do want Teslas, and it can’t be for the reliability; and hopefully it’s not just for Elon Musk’s odd reality distortion field, which covers a hopelessly flawed individual who loves taking credit for others’ inventions. So why doesn’t GM, the behemoth of American industry, take on Tesla with its own electric? Ford has plans in that line; and there are rumors of electric cars based on the Camaro or Corvette, as well. But nothing is here—and GM has had the time and technology to get ahead of the curve. Why not a Cadillac BEV using a modified Corvette chassis? Or, since everyone seems to want crossovers, using one of the current Caddy CUVs?
The future may be electric, but for the moment, it seems that only high-performance electric cars have been popular in North America. Why not go with the flow and build one, General?
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.