GM CEO Barra Promises $30K EV SUV by Fall 2023; Automated Driving by Mid-Decade
Scaling its new battery and EV platforms, GM intends to offer its 2024 Equinox EV compact SUV at a mainstream price point.
In a January 5 keynote presentation at CES 2022, General Motors CEO Mary Barra did more than unveil an electric version of one of the company’s profit powerhouses, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. She also pledged GM will build an EV variant of Chevy’s Equinox compact SUV that will be in showrooms by fall 2023 for a base MSRP of “around $30,000.”
That price point that would make the 2024 Equinox EV only marginally more expensive than today’s conventionally powered model, which starts at $26,995. “As our most popular vehicle brand,” Barra said, “Chevy will be front and center in our mission to provide EVs for everyone. We’re at the tipping point of electrification and we expect this to be a massive year for Chevrolet’s EV future.”
The 2024 Equinox EV’s projected starting price suggests GM projects considerable cost-efficiency from scaling its Ultium lithium-ion battery architecture, as well as vehicle platforms optimized to use the new battery technology. The company currently has large Ultium manufacturing sites under construction in Ohio and Tennessee, in collaboration with partner LG Chem. Barra also confirmed GM will build an EV variant of the Blazer SUV which will precede the Equinox EV by coming to market in Spring 2023. The company has pledged to have 30 EV models available globally by 2025 and transform its entire light-duty vehicle lineup to EVs by 2035.
She also detailed the Cadillac luxury unit’s ambitions to offer a range of premium, expressive EVs that include the “hand-built and hand-crafted” Celestiq – and presumably an eventual EV variant of the brand’s signature Escalade fullsize SUV. “No other automaker today matches the depth and range of GM’s EV portfolio,” Barra asserted, adding about the company’s ambitious strategy: “Make no mistake – this is a movement.”
Barra didn’t stop with electrification. Speaking of GM’s ongoing and varied initiatives to develop high-level (SAE Level 3-4) driving automation. “We are looking further down the road at opportunities to extend fully-autonomous vehicle technology to personal transportation with the safety and quality our consumers expect.” She said GM and Cruise – the company’s unit developing high-level driving automation for rideshare or “robo-taxi” applications – “are gaining significant technological expertise and experience. We are working to be fastest to market with a retail personal autonomous vehicle. In fact, we aim to deliver our first personal autonomous vehicles as soon as the middle of this decade.”
Barra said today’s efforts and the subsequent automated models targeted for both commercial and personal use will help create economies of scale to help lower the cost and increase the quality of rideshare experiences and bring the advance of driving automation “to a much larger audience.” Teams from GM and Cruise, she added, will continue to work together to create a range of personal autonomous vehicles.