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GM Reveals Electrical Chevy Silverado to Counter Ford’s F-150 Lightning

GM Reveals Electrical Chevy Silverado to Counter Ford’s F-150 Lightning

Basic Motors Co.

GM -0.35%

plans to unveil a brand new electrical Chevrolet Silverado pickup Wednesday, a much-anticipated introduction that comes as buzz is rising for the truck’s future rival:

Ford Motor Co.

F -0.56%

’s F-150 Lightning.

In a digital presentation tied to the CES tech convention, GM Chief Government

Mary Barra

plans to disclose a plug-in model of GM’s high vendor and largest revenue maker. The rollout of this new pickup—a mannequin anticipated to hit dealerships in early 2023—is a part of a broader push by GM to affect its international car lineup, transferring away from the fuel engines which have lengthy powered its automobiles and vans.

The transfer additionally comes because the century-old GM-Ford rivalry is transferring into the electric-vehicle age.

The corporate has beforehand mentioned that the electrical Silverado may have extra high-tech options and driving vary—about 400 miles—than Ford’s truck and others within the nascent electric-pickup market. Ms. Barra has additionally emphasised these attributes.

“What that car gives I feel is unmatched,” Ms. Barra mentioned final month throughout an look on the Automotive Press Affiliation.

The F-150 Lightning, nevertheless, is ready to strike first.

Ford’s truck is scheduled to go on sale in restricted numbers this spring, a few yr forward of the electrical Silverado’s anticipated debut. Ford shares surged almost 12% Tuesday after the corporate mentioned it will double the deliberate manufacturing unit capability for the plug-in truck in response to an unexpectedly giant 200,000 reservations.

That information, and different current electric-vehicle strikes by Ford, helped propel the auto maker’s market valuation previously week past that of GM for the primary time since 2016.

Conventional auto makers are pouring cash into the event of electrical automobiles and battery factories, spurred by stricter tailpipe-emission guidelines and

Tesla Inc.’s

meteoric rise. Competitors is predicted to be particularly fierce out there for electrical pickups.

Ford unveiled the battery-powered model of its F-150 pickup in Might 2021, becoming a member of different auto makers within the nascent electric-truck phase. The F-150 Lightning undercuts a number of rivals with a beginning worth round $40,000. Picture: Dominick Sokotoff/Zuma Press (Video from 5/20/21)

GM and Ford seemingly will face extra rivals than they do right this moment with their large pickups that use internal-combustion engines. For many years, the Detroit corporations, together with Dodge-brand vans—now offered below

Stellantis

NV’s Ram model—have dominated the market. These high-price pickups are core moneymakers for the auto makers, driving the majority of their income.

Startup Rivian Automotive Inc. was first to promote an electrical pickup this fall, the R1T. Tesla Chief Government

Elon Musk

mentioned at The Wall Avenue Journal’s CEO Council Summit final month that the auto maker’s futuristic-looking Cybertruck can be produced at excessive quantity in 2023, and can be Tesla’s finest product.

Nonetheless, GM and Ford executives carefully monitor one another’s strikes, particularly within the truck market, the place the businesses have lengthy sparred in dear promoting campaigns over all the pieces from towing functionality to the sturdiness of the pickup mattress.

GM has extensively been considered to be forward of Ford within the electrical race, analysts say, declaring in 2017 that it was making ready for an all-electric future. It moved shortly to spend money on battery factories and convert meeting vegetation to make electrics as an alternative of internal-combustion automobiles.

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GM executives have touted the corporate’s so-called Ultium know-how, a system of configurable battery modules and electrical motors versatile sufficient to underpin dozens of fashions in coming years, from compact SUVs to brawny pickups.

The primary car to make use of Ultium started hitting showrooms just a few weeks in the past: the GMC Hummer, a muscular luxurious truck priced round $100,000. The electrical Silverado additionally will use the system when it’s launched in early subsequent yr, GM executives have mentioned, declining to reveal a worth.

Ford took a distinct method for its battery-powered F-150, by far its finest promoting and most worthwhile nameplate. As an alternative of engineering an electrical truck from scratch, which might have taken longer, engineers modified the prevailing gas-powered F-150, swapping out its engine and transmission for a big battery pack embedded beneath the ground.

Charging Forward

Extra WSJ reporting on EVs, chosen by editors.

The retrofit enabled Ford to maneuver shortly and leverage its scale, as a result of it makes use of lots of the identical components as the standard F-150, mentioned Darren Palmer, Ford’s normal supervisor of electrical automobiles. It helped Ford worth the F-150 Lightning aggressively, at round $40,000 for a base mannequin, he mentioned.

“That method allowed us to uniquely provide this a lot efficiency at that worth,” Mr. Palmer mentioned. “It’s additionally a confirmed platform, so everyone is conscious of the toughness of the car. That’s tremendous necessary at this stage of EVs.”

Sam Jaffe,

vp of battery storage techniques at E Supply, an energy-sector analysis agency, mentioned GM’s method to its electrical automobiles is extra complete than that of Ford. That ought to permit GM to supply extra functionality, like battery vary, even when it takes longer to get to market, he mentioned.

Nonetheless, Mr. Jaffe mentioned, “the ability of the F-150 model is so nice that it is smart for Ford to construct off the pre-existing car design.” He mentioned he expects Ford will undertake GM’s ground-up method inside just a few years.

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

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