GM confirms electric pickup arrival by late 2021

The company apparently does not want to fall behind Tesla and Ford in entering the electric pickup market.

General Motors has finally confirmed a launch target for its all-electric pickup, aiming for a fall-2021 arrival that coincides with rival models from Tesla and Ford.

"General Motors understands truck buyers, and we also understand people who are new coming into the truck market ... that view it as a lifestyle vehicle," GM chief Mary Barra said at Barclays' automotive conference on Thursday ahead of Tesla's pickup debut. "It will be a very capable truck. I'm pretty excited about it."

Humorously, Barra said the company has learned from the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt that buyers want a "beautiful vehicle" with 300 miles of range. It is unclear if the lessons were learned the hard way via poor sales of both models. The executive also reaffirmed GM's view that hybrids are an "interim solution" and "customers generally aren't interested in hybrids" as demonstrated by sales data, however the company still believes there will be profitability in the hydrogen fuel-cell market.

"We believe moving to electric vehicles is the right thing to do for the environment," she added. "Solving the customer pain points to drive EV adoption, as opposed to being regulatory-driven, is what we're moving full-steam-ahead on."

The view echoes Ford's decision-making that led to the Mustang Mach-E, which had started as a "compliance vehicle" until Jim Hackett took over as CEO and directed the team to start over from scratch. The company apparently believes the market has shifted beyond the green-car ethos that influenced development of the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

Both GM and Ford may have breathed a sigh of relief after seeing Tesla's Cybertruck, which features a controversial styling that may be off-putting to core F-150 and Silverado buyers. Detroit's automakers are now under pressure to launch electric pickups that are not overshadowed by the Cybertruck in terms of performance, however, as Tesla's model will be available with up to 500 miles of range and a 14,000-pound towing capacity that is unmatched in the standard-duty pickup segment.

GM promises to shed more light on its EV strategy, including the electric pickup, sometime next year. Rumors suggest the company may revive the Hummer brand for one or more all-electric trucks or SUVs.

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