Ken Morris, GM’s vice-president for electric and autonomous vehicles, today provided an update on the company’s progress with electric vehicles throughout the lockdown period. “We’re absolutely on time,” said Morris. “We haven’t lost a beat.”
Morris held a conference call today with the media. He spoke about how he has been working from home since 57 days ago. Morris said the team is already accustomed to working remotely, given its international partnerships and work with Cruise Automation in San Francisco. He said:
The timing of our programs lends itself to remote work. We share images and documents all the time. This situation has only amped that up.
Morris was not certain when the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq would be revealed. The Hummer EV was scheduled to be revealed on May 20 but was delayed due to pandemic lockdown. He refuted any notion that any of GM’s electric vehicles were postponed. (It was only the reveal event, not the vehicle’s production, that was delayed.)
Morris said the company is still thinking about how to show off and introduce the first set of EVs in a way “that does the vehicles justice.”
Regarding the partnership between Honda and GM to produce two new electric vehicles by 2024. He said, “We are full speed ahead with the programs with Honda. The pandemic has not affected us.”
Morris said that GM is “agnostic” about low gas prices, which is not affecting the rollout of the company’s electric vehicles.
He put a strong emphasis on the role dealerships will play.
General Motors is gearing up and working with our sales force to sell EVs in ways so that we are more successful than we have been in the past.
That was a refreshing bit of candor. Morris emphasized that recent success with Chevy Bolt sales in 2020 has put the sales force front and center, and making sure there is inventory available to sell.
Throughout the media call, Morris repeated the same theme: There have not been any cuts or slowdowns in GM’s EV programs. In fact, he said that some new facets of the program have been added since lockdown, and the timing for at least one of the EVs was accelerated. However, he did not provide details.
Right now, we have not lost any momentum within the company. We are working even harder.
Today’s media event was mostly about GM expressing its ongoing commitment to EVs during the pandemic, rather than to share any news. Morris was enthusiastic, upbeat, and (well) vague.
One of the pressing questions we’ve posed to GM has been about sales volume. Morris today reiterated the company’s goals to sell 1 million EVs in China and the US by “mid-decade.”
What’s important to understand is that China still dominates global EV sales. Moreover, GM confirmed with us in late March that high-volume Baojun and Wuling brands would be included in those sales figures.
Again, today’s event was not about details. So exactly how many Chevy, Cadillac, and GMC EVs that General Motors is expected to put on sale in the US, and when, is not known.
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