GM CEO confirms plans to build Chevy or GMC electric pickup truck

2019 GMC Sierra

General Motors CEO Mary Barra confirmed Tuesday in a call with investors what rumors had long predicted: The automaker will build an electric pickup. Barra didn’t specify when the pickup would appear, or whether it would be branded as a GMC or Chevrolet.

Rumors swirled earlier this year that GM may invest in EV startup Rivian, but that never materialized. Instead, Amazon invested up to $700 million in Rivian earlier this year. Then, last week Ford announced that it will invest $500 million in Rivian, which could preclude a deal with GM.

Barra’s announcement Tuesday makes it clear that GM is committed to building an electric pickup, even without Rivian.

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In January, Duncan Aldred, vice president of General Motors’ GMC brand, told attendees at a conference following the Detroit auto show that the brand was considering an electric truck, but didn’t offer any details.

Barra has said repeatedly in blogs and public appearances that the automaker is working toward an all-electric future, which includes pickups.

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In March, GM announced it will invest $300 million in its Orion Township, Michigan factory to build a second electric model based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which Barra also confirmed  Tuesday. The second car is expected to be an electric SUV, possibly called the Bolt EUV.

Beyond that, GM announced at the Detroit auto show that Cadillac will become its lead brand for electric vehicles, starting with an electric SUV in 2022.

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With Cadillac taking the lead to sell GM electric cars—for higher prices and profit margins—it makes sense that the premium GMC brand could be the automakers’ primary outlet for electric pickups.

Electric pickups have gained in mind-share in recent months after Rivian revealed its long-range electric pickup at the LA auto show in November. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said this year that the company will reveal more details about its pickup in the summer, which is expected to follow the Model Y and the Semi, though an actual production timeline is still unclear. 

Ford also announced that it will built an all-electric F-150 and a Mustang-inspired crossover.

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