Six years after General Motors unveiled the first mass-market electric vehicle to CES audiences in 2015, the automaker returned to the conference to redouble its green ambitions and promises to bring 30 electric models to market by 2025.
That timeline has accelerated since the brand announced its electric mandate in 2017 (previous target was 20 electric vehicles by 2023), and General Motors Chairman and President Mary Barra gave a glimpse into during a keynote presentation at CES the company’s plans to get there in 2021 this morning.
Among the announcements was that GM will create a logistics company, BrightDrop, with manufacturing technologies like an electric pallet and a new electric van. The EV600 will have a range of up to 250 miles when fully charged and will be on the road by the end of 2021. FedEx is BrightDrop’s first customer.
“BrightDrop provides an ecosystem of smart connected products, including electric vehicles and software-enabled services, and provides commercial delivery companies with a platform for sustainable growth,” said Barra. “Our vision for the future is a world without crashes, without emissions and without traffic jams. The key to unlocking this vision is electrification. “
Ahead of Friday’s conference, the brand unveiled a revamped logo – only the fifth change in the brand’s 113-year history – and a campaign to advance the electrical effort titled “Everybody In”.
Electric vehicles account for only about 3% of global traffic today, but the growing sector is gaining ground faster than investors expected – in 2018, electric vehicle sales in the US rose 80%, largely thanks to Tesla. General Motors hopes its size and proven portfolio of brands will help it take the lead.
Wahl openly pointed Tesla to a direct competitor, a brand that is known to claim not to spend a dime on marketing.
“I think the market is evolving. The big player is clearly Tesla, ”said Wahl. “Our message is that there should be an electric vehicle for everyone.”
GM will expand its electric mandate to include its entire brand portfolio, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. However, the new logo is not displayed next to individual brands, so that each brand has a “swimming lane” according to the election.
While GM has to spend more on advertising, alongside an infrastructure of dealerships, it does have some advantages, namely its established brand and loyal audience.
“When you look at all of this together, we have significant advantages,” Wahl said. “But if you are a company that is changing, you have to communicate it.”