General Motors is officially going to be entering the the pure-electric pickup market. But rather than string some batteries between the frame rails, GM will instead build its forthcoming pure-electric truck on its new EV architecture.
- GM President Mark Reuss once again reiterated that an all-electric pickup is in the works.
- It will be built on the company’s third-gen pure-electric platform, codenamed BEV3.
- That means it won’t have a traditional truck frame. Rather, it will share its underpinnings with crossovers — a potential point of contention for truck buyers.
GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed in April that the American automaker would indeed be jumping into the all-electric truck market. This, after crosstown rival Ford made known that it was first working on an EV variant of the formidable F-150 full-size pickup. Not long later, Ford doubled down by investing $500 million in Michigan pure-electric startup Rivian. In accordance with that deal, Rivian will develop a version of its ‘skateboard’ electric platform for Ford. On which Ford is expected to build both SUVs and pickups.
This week, at the UBS Global Industrials and Transportation Conference for Wall Street analysts, GM’s President Mark Reuss shined a bit more light onto the General’s electric truck plans. He revealed the forthcoming truck would not be a T1-based vehicle, the chassis that currently underpins the brand’s all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. Instead, it will be built on GM’s third-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform codenamed BEV3.
“We will have a complete electric lineup, including a pickup truck that’s in development,” Reuss said, according to a Ward’s Auto report.
This distinguishes GM from Ford, which is seemingly diving into the pure-electric truck market in two distinct ways. First, by modifying the current F-150 chassis in order to make it electric. And, secondly, buying the skateboard platform from Rivian. It’s worth noting that GM initiated investment talks with Rivian first, but eventually backed out. Then Ford stepped in with its deal.
Watchers of the truck market know that it is growing at an incredible rate in the U.S. However, most of its growth has been based upon virtually ancient ladder frame chassis. Unibody trucks, like Honda’s Ridgeline are much more livable from a driving standpoint, but have received scorn from buyers and journalists alike. This despite the Ridgeline being nearly as capable at truck activities as any other vehicle in its class.
Buyers and media balk at unibody trucks because they’re seen as not ‘real’ trucks. Rather, they’re viewed as minivans masquerading as trucks. Technically, they’re not wrong; the Ridgeline shares its chassis with the brand’s Odyssey minivan. Still, it’s virtually as capable as any ladder-frame mid-size truck against which it competes. So, people are clearly just quibbling with the approach and not the results.
Clearly, Ford is going to play both sides. It will have a ladder-frame-based F-150 EV and, eventually, it will have a unibody — albeit likely smaller — EV truck, too. Meanwhile, GM is forging ahead with a singular electric truck strategy. And the Chevy and GMC electric trucks will share a platform with essentially every other GM EV to follow for the next half decade (or longer).
That makes sense from an investment standpoint. But does it make sense from a branding position? Truck buyers have voted with their wallets and they still want ladder frame trucks. If GM expects to draw them over to EV trucks, maybe it should offer one with a stout ladder-frame chassis? I mean, Ford is going to.