What to know about GM’s CES news

DETROIT — General Motors made several announcements at the CES tech show on Wednesday that investors should take note of — particularly its future plans for electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM CEO Mary Barra, who was one of the headliners at the event, unveiled the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup that is expected to go on sale next year against the electric F-150 of Ford Motor and Rivian Automotive’s R1T, among others.

Reaction to the Silverado EV from Wall Street analysts was largely positive, but some questioned the lack of options and the timing of the launch. Specifically, the company’s decision to launch with only two trims, giving Ford’s F-150 Lightning launching this spring a one-year head start.

GM shares closed Wednesday down 3.6% at $62.74 per share amid a broader market sell-off. The title remained virtually unchanged until noon Thursday.

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra introduces the optional new Silverado vehicle during a livestreamed event at the CES 2022 show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

Bridgett Bennet | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“While the Silverado’s specs were very strong, they were no doubt largely in line with expectations, and we think investors may have ‘sold the news,'” the Deutsche analyst said Thursday. Bank Emmanuel Rosner to investors in a note. He said investors “may also have been surprised” by the launch cadence that includes a fleet model in the spring of 2023, followed by a $105,000 consumer model in the fall.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy called the moment “somewhat disappointing for investors” in a Tuesday note.

But the Silverado EV wasn’t the only news investors should have been paying attention to on Wednesday. Others included electric van orders for GM’s BrightDrop unit, plans for personal autonomous vehicles and the timeline for two new electric vehicles. Here’s more on these and other things from GM’s CES presentation.

BrightDrop

GM’s electric utility vehicle unit BrightDrop, which debuted a year ago at CES, has announced deals with Walmart and FedEx to buy thousands of its electric minivans.

Walmart signed a new deal with BrightDrop to reserve 5,000 electric vans, while FedEx added an additional 2,000 vans to a previous order of 500. FedEx said the order could grow to 20,000 electric vans.

An EV600 all-electric light utility vehicle specifically designed for the delivery of goods and services, built by GM’s electric utility vehicle business, BrightDrop, is seen in Detroit, Michigan, in this undated photograph.

Luminous drop | Documents | via Reuters

Alan Wexler, GM’s senior vice president of innovation and growth, called the orders “crucially important” for the company, which began delivering the first pickup trucks to FedEx last month.

“It’s a big market,” he told CNBC. “It’s important for our commercial segment because I think there will be a halo that will extend even to our traditional type of fleet business as we talk to Walmart, FedEx and others.”

$30,000 Equinox EV

In addition to unveiling the Silverado EV for 2023, Barra said GM will offer EV versions of the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer next year. The electric Equinox will start around $30,000, she said.

Wall Street analysts consider the vehicles to be GM’s first truly consumer electric vehicles on the company’s new Ultium batteries and platform.

GM will expand its Chevrolet EV lineup in fall 2023 to include the Equinox EV, starting at around $30,000.

GM

“Both vehicles are critical, as they will represent GM’s first offering at high-volume electric vehicle entries, and GM’s first real shot at (Tesla’s) Model 3/Y,” Levy said.

Barra showed images of the electric Equinox but didn’t release any additional details about that vehicle or the Blazer EV.

GM targets Tesla’s FSD

GM plans to start offering a new “door-to-door” hands-free driving system with greater capabilities than Tesla’s “FSD” system starting next year.

The Detroit automaker said its new “Ultra Cruise” system will be capable of hands-free operation in 95% of all driving scenarios. This compares to Tesla’s “FSD” system which is designed to work with the driver’s hands on the wheel.

Barra said Wednesday that the Cadillac Celestiq, an upcoming luxury electric sedan, will be among the first vehicles with the technology.

“Celestiq will be a real halo for Cadillac in every way,” Barra said, adding that the Celestiq will be handcrafted and available in “exclusive volumes.”

AV

Barra on Wednesday confirmed two major plans for GM’s self-driving vehicle plans, in which the automaker has been investing billions for several years.

Most notably, Barra said Cruise, GM’s majority-owned self-driving vehicle unit, is expected to bring ride-hailing service to San Francisco in the coming months. Crusie applied for the final permit needed to commercialize operations in November.

GM Cadillac Innerspace Halo Concept Car

Courtesy: GM

She also said that GM and Cruise plan to offer consumers personal autonomous electric vehicles by the middle of the decade. Accompanying the new timeline was GM’s luxury brand Cadillac unveiling a sleek new concept for an autonomous electric vehicle called InnerSpace.

The concept is part of Cadillac’s “Halo Concept Portfolio” which debuted a year ago at CES with an urban air mobility vehicle and shared autonomous shuttle. Such products could be crucial for GM to offer subscription services to create recurring revenue to help with its plans to double revenue to $280 billion by 2030.

“We take a very holistic approach to how we think about subscriptions in our business,” Wexler said.

Cadillac Inner Space Concept

GM

electric boat

Separately from Barra’s keynote, a GM-backed startup that makes electric outboard motors for boats called Pure Watercraft unveiled a new electric pontoon boat at CES.

GM acquired a 25% stake in the Seattle-based company last year. GM will supply components under the $150 million deal with Pure Watercraft, a co-developer of new products, and provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to help the startup establish new factories.

The Pure Watercraft electric pontoon boat is the first product resulting from the company’s collaboration with General Motors.

pure watercraft

The deal is part of GM’s plans to bring its Ultium fuel cell and electric vehicle technologies to segments outside of the automobile. He had previously announced mergers or agreements in the locomotive, aerospace and defense sectors.

– CNBC”s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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