GM’s Barra: Consumer incentives could help EV adoption

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DETROIT — General Motors plans to build electric vehicles at price points for all consumers, not just luxury buyers, and a government incentive could help accelerate EV adoption, CEO Mary Barra said Thursday.

Many EV startups cater to a luxury, high-spending market, but GM’s portfolio will run the gamut, with a Chevrolet Equinox-size model for under $30,000, for example, Barra said at an Automotive Press Association event here.

Her comments come after Tesla CEO Elon Musk this week said he opposed the Build Back Better bill backed by the Biden administration, even though the legislation would reinstate a $7,500 credit for Tesla and GM and scrap limits on the number of EVs that are eligible per manufacturer. The bill also includes an extra $4,500 credit if the vehicle is assembled by union workers in the U.S. – a provision opposed by many non-U.S.-based automakers.

Barra didn’t comment specifically on the credits in that bill.

She said consumers shopping for a $30,000 new vehicle may benefit from a government incentive to support the EV transition.

“Do those individuals need that support to to make the transition? I think it’s reasonable if you’re trying to accelerate” EV adoption, she said.

“That’s their only vehicle, and they depend on it. If they don’t get to work, it impacts their livelihood,” Barra added. “Reaching that customer is where you’re really going to get scale, and I’m very proud that at General Motors, we do that with the Chevrolet brand, across the board, from trucks to the crossovers to smaller vehicles.”

Still, GM is launching its next-generation EV portfolio with big-ticket vehicles, first with the GMC Hummer EV pickup, priced at nearly $113,000 and then with the Cadillac Lyriq at about $60,000, including shipping fees.

At CES next month, GM will provide more details on launch timing for lower-priced vehicles, such as the Equinox- and Chevy Blazer-sized EVs. The automaker has said it plans to launch 30 EVs globally through 2025, with two-thirds coming to the U.S.

The launch cadence will “change the game,” said Barra. “We’re going to go as fast as we can.”

Also at CES, GM plans to reveal the electric Chevy Silverado, which is slated for production in early 2023. Despite competition in the electric pickup market from Ford Motor Co., Tesla and Rivian, Barra said the breadth of the Silverado will make it a standout.

“The Silverado EV is really going to educate people on what you can do with an electric truck when you have an electric truck platform,” she said.

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