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Home Car Culture GM unveils plans for ‘putting everyone in an EV’

GM unveils plans for ‘putting everyone in an EV’

Even ‘low-slung performance vehicles’ can be electric powered

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General Motors sees roadways of the future with “zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion,” and sees the electrification of the vehicle fleet as the way to get there.

“The global electric vehicle penetration is around 3 percent, but is going to change,” GM chairman Mary Barra said in a presentation January 12 to an audience watching CES, the Consumer Electronics Show being conducted virtually this year because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. 

GM is being repositioned, she said, “to meet this moment.” GM’s goal, she said, is “putting everyone in an EV.”

It’s not a car, but a GM personal aviation drone

Oh, and those new GM EV’s may include more than ground-bound vehicles. During the nearly hour-long presentation, GM showed a concept for a vertical takeoff and landing drone that would provide personal air travel, such as going from a meeting in one building to an ensuing appointment on the other end of a downtown business district.

GM design director Michael Simcoe said the company will introduce 30 new EVs within the next five model years and showed images not only of the passenger-carrying drone but of a Cadillac-branded van. 

All such vehicles will be based on GM’s new Ultium battery systems and chassis architectures. 

Cadillac concept car | GM photo

“Any vehicle can be an EV,” noted engineer Aaron Pfau, who showcased the new Hummer electric pickup truck, which he said has off-pavement capabilities “beyond what could be delivered by gas- or diesel-powered vehicles.” 

Not only can a pickup truck be electric powered, but so can “low-slung performance vehicles,” said Mei Cai, a GM engineer specializing in battery chemistry. Simcoe noted that one of the concept cars being developed for Cadillac is a luxury 2-seater. And if Cadillac can have such a car, it makes sense that Chevrolet can as well. Corvette EV?

Cai noted that the Ultima batteries, being developed with LG Chem, provide more power in a smaller package using less rare-earth elements. GM also has developed a new vehicle electric architecture that reduces the use of wiring.

GM EV600 is an electric-powered delivery vehicle from the company’s new BrightDrop division | GM photo
BrightDrop electric-powered pallets | GM photo

Other developments revealed by GM in its CES presentation included:

  • The announcement of OnStar-branded vehicle insurance.
  • Word of a new Cadillac Celestiq model EV.
  • Hands-free “Super Cruise” driving available this year on a compact Chevrolet electric vehicle.
  • The launch of BrightDrop, including new EV600 GM electric-powered delivery vans and new GM-designed and built electric-powered pallets for use both in the warehouse and in those vans, with FedEx Express already signed on as the first Brightdrop customer.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Part of the greening of America. These are solutions in search of a problem, without infrastructure or practicality to support them. Insufficient charging speed, range, safety, electrical power from the grid, battery disposal, and at a high price in dollars and freedom.

  2. My opinion: Electric cars have a place in the U.S. along with IC, Fuel Cell, etc. I wish I could go on and enter meaning discussion on the subject but opinions other than GM’s are not valued. Instead I will make my point by never considering the pirchase of another GM product.

  3. Next thing you know if you drive a gas vehicle they will send you to the re-education camps. Like they are saying they plan on doing to the Stand for America folks. I agree with Mr. Peros let us decide!

    • That’s coming brother, first your guns and soon your gas vehicles and then the rest of your dignity and drive ….. Of course unless your on the left/communist side of conversion …..🤬

  4. Agree with Concerned. I am boycotting GM, along with all others who would assault our freedoms. You know of which social media networks, search engines, entertainments, communications networks, banks, insurers, retailers, credit, and tech companies I speak.

    EVs still have limited range, long charging times, high cost, safety concerns, mining and disposal concerns.

  5. Do we have a voice on anything we choose or not choose to purchase, view, listen to, read or even drive anymore. GM choosing what is best for me is not a path I wish to take, no thank you GM.

  6. It is the states of California and others that are driving this with their no-fossil fuel mandates. When governments dictate solutions instead of reasonable goals for innovators to achieve, unintended consequences will happen. Emissions goals are the only reasonable standard and absolute zero is not reasonable. No axe to grind with EV, but I also agree the consumer should decide on which tech they are willing to pay for to achieve the goal.

  7. Good-bye GM (and Ford), enjoy drinking the big government Kool-aid. As with others on this comments section, I will as a consumer determine what I drive, not GM, not the government, and I’ll not de driven by socialist policies. I will never purchase a new soul-less EV vehicle; I will drive a resto car for the “resto” of my life. Classic Cars needs to learn who their customers are (simple marketing 101); I don’t believe they are selling any EVs on your website or purchasing them either. I will drive, controlling my own safety, speed, and take the routes I prefer. I like the smell of burning gas, oil and rubber, and the feel of the power that I alone control. I will drive conquering time and distance with my own brain and hands. as man has always been destined to do. All this recent talk about enhanced “safety” with EVs is just self-justification by auto makers, but it only serves to further diminish the enjoyment of being alive, EVs are for people that hate cars and hate living over the fear dying; they are not auto enthusiasts. Learn who your customers are !

    • EV ENHANCED SAFETY? How are they going to do that?
      My friend owns a repair shop and to work on an EV car he has to cordon it off and borrowed my 25kv gloves to do some of the work. That doesn’t sound very safe.
      Before to long when there are more of them we will be hearing about people being electrocuted or burned to death following an accident. I sure first responders don’t want to have anything to do with the EV’s either. How do you disconnect the power source if the thing is a mangles wreck?

  8. Is GM going to build the power plants to charge them or are they going to have a bunch of those diesel powered charging stations everywhere?

  9. I thought it was a toaster. Socialists can stick this were the moon don’t shine. Besides there is no place to hang the shotgun rack.

  10. if GM builds a 600hp sports sedan that’s electric and build the infrastructure for me to drive coast to coast they maybe i would consider one but if GM thinks I’m driving some 100 hp electric car they are playing with themselves

    • Too bad you won’t be driving. It won’t have a steering wheel or pedals, nor will you choose the route or your speed. You won’t need 600 hp, they will tell you what you need. Be careful what you wish (ask) for, the consumer will have no say.

  11. Sounds like coal production will increase in the next few years. Gonna take alot of coal to make the electricity for all those EV cars.

  12. I Need a drop In electric motor for my old 50 desoto gas car , I could pull out the 232 .
    If we can go to Mars, someone could come up with a bolt up electric replacement . I could hook up a weed whacker to an alternator and keep it in the trunk as a back up .
    Plenty of room in the engine bay .
    Actually since global warming is raising the sea levels and will have plenty of water around , how about a plutonium pellet powered steam generating Carburator I could bolt on ? One barrel is fine ,no come to think of it , that would make car wrecks problematic ,and the water would rust my new exhaust pipe …
    Well a nice solar panel on the roof could heat the water I don’t drive at night much ,and that sensible family 4 door sedan has a big roof line .
    A big magnifying glass like we had on the 7”tv to make it 8” would hot it up
    Faster
    We’ve made lots of polymer progress in the last 100 years , I wonder how far the rubber band concept has come ? Remember the “rails” at the sat night drag races ? Now one of those could take an AWSOmE rubber band

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