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Mary Barra: the future is electric, and Cadillac will lead the charge

Mary Barra: the future is electric, and Cadillac will lead the charge

TabascoGuy | 14. Januar 2019

Lead the charge of those that want to catch up?

JustSaying | 14. Januar 2019
PrescottRichard | 14. Januar 2019

First off- lead the charge IS a funny play on words.

Second off- unless she said this in 2009 or so and they secretly electrified a bunch of cars people own and don’t know it, um, a little late. Is GM still making the EV1 series of cars? Are they up to EV15 or so and I missed it? Am I being a passive aggressive a$$ right now?

If you say something with enough confidence people will buy into it, maybe that’s what she’s trying to do? All I see is ALL kinds of auto makers saying ‘we are going (some going ALL) electric in xxxx year.’ It is 2019 and new Telsa customers are losing their tax credits because they sold 200k cars. I believe new Chevy customers are next.

To all these other car companies - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

carlk | 14. Januar 2019

I have to give Mary Barra credit that she seriously see the EV future. Although she seriously does not have a clue of how to proceed on that. Not saying anyone else does though. The only thing they could do is to show the board and shareholders look I have tried.

And it looks she's still living in a cocoon. No one uses the phrase Cadillac of something anymore. It has becoming iPhone or Tesla of something now.

jordanrichard | 14. Januar 2019

carlk, I wouldn't give her any credit. Moving GM's EV mission to the Cadillac divisions hands is dumb and a step backwards. Relatively speaking next to no one bought the Caddy version of the Volt. So why on earth would you move the EV program to Caddy? When the Chevy Bolt came out, they were boasting on how they came out with the first useable range EV for the masses. Now they are moving the EV program to Caddy, which is not for the masses.

jimglas | 14. Januar 2019

@jordan: they probably figured out that they cannot make a profitable low cost EV, batteries cost $$$.

jordanrichard | 14. Januar 2019

I figured that, but I just wish the automotive journalists would grow a pair and question them on this move.

Perhaps this is more of a commentary on the state of journalism in general but the general distrust in modern society to a degree is the fault of the media/journalists. When journalist don't question things, they are essentially just shills for the who ever is spitting out a PR statement.

jimglas | 14. Januar 2019

I suspect most of the problem is they have little understanding of what they are writing about. There is rarely a dedicated science/technology writer due to the marked decrease in ads/budgets for print media.

carlk | 14. Januar 2019

jordan We are actually saying the same thing. She at least acknowledges the EV future although she has no idea of how to bring GM there. Well she actually does have an idea but there is no way she, or for that matter any other CEO, would do things necessary but could risk jeopardizing her job.

Either way what a difference a year or two makes. Everyone not too long ago was saying EV is just a niche or fade or for tree huggers and now you hear people say what Barra just said. Although I still have a problem that those people never forget to take a cheap shot at Tesla whenever possible.

jordanrichard | 14. Januar 2019

carlk agreed. She has to answer to Wall Street. I am purely speculating here but I am guessing that the people/entities that invest in GM and Ford are very conservative in their investments and Tesla is the complete opposite of that.

Mark my and many others words, we as a country will be bailing out GM again because of their extremely short sighted view of things. All it takes is Saudi Arabia to stop/cut production and the price of oil will shoot up along with the price sof gas. Ford and GM won't have ANY cars to sell, just gas guzzling SUVs. Yes, I know that the current batch of SUVs get better MPG than in the past, but those SUV engines would get even better MPG in a sedan. Also people will simply perceive SUVs as gas wasters and want to move back to sedans.

TeslaTap.com | 14. Januar 2019

Of all the legacy companies claiming they may get on the EV bandwagon, I think Volvo may have the best longer term strategy. They have created a new division Polestar. This allows a seperate group that has no ties to ICE to focus on the solution rather than spending time on how to delay the demise of the ICE business. No idea of Polestar will be successful or not, but presuming they create a new dealer network, it seems like a better way to go than tasking a division and dealer network (Cadillac) that has proven inept at making and selling EVs.

TranzNDance | 14. Januar 2019

They would actually lead the charge by building a huge battery factory and/or have an iron-clad contract with a battery maker. Until, then, they're going to be limited in their ability to make EVs.

carlk | 14. Januar 2019

jordan You are right. GM's strategy is to sell more high margin gas guzzling pickups and SUV's to finance new developments. They seem to have forgoten the joke during 2000's that GM's answer to the energy crisses was the Hummer H3.

TranzNDance True. Anyone that would not even invest in battery plants is just paying lip services. ICE car companies now are getting pretty much everything from suppliers but they are still making their own engines and transmissions. Without that you're offering no real brand value.

Yodrak. | 14. Januar 2019

EVs are not, at this point in time, cars "for the masses". The masses do not buy cars costing $35,000 and up. The Volt and the Leaf sold pretty well for EVs, but not big market share among the masses. The Model 3 is doing exceptionally well, compared to low-end luxury car models, but is still well above they mystical price point of for the masses. The masses are buying new cars costing well south of $30,000 and used cars costing even less.

It's no surprise that Cadillac's re-badged Volt didn't sell well - it was a Volt with a Cadillac price. The action in EVs is at the high end - Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Volvo. And Tesla. If GM wants to succeed in the EV market, it needs to make an EV targeted to the consumers who can afford an EV.

carlk | 14. Januar 2019

Average price of all cars sold in the US is ~$36K.

Yodrak. | 14. Januar 2019

"Average price of all cars sold in the US is ~$36K."

The average price of new cars sold in the US is ~$36,000.
The average price of used cars sold in the US is ~$20,000.

Too bad we don't know what the median prices are, but my sense is that it's less than the average price. Also, we need to stipulate what percentage of new car buyers constitute "the masses".

carlk | 14. Januar 2019

Yes the average price is not the medium price but I venture to guess a third of new cars probably are sold at $36K or more. That is still a lot. And we all know a large portion, if not most, of people who buy Tesla, whether Model S, Model X or Model 3, are moving up from level of cars they used to own. It is pretty safe to say majority of new car buyers can be a potential Tesla owner.

blue adept | 14. Januar 2019

GM...Cadillac...Electrification...HA!!!

They'd probably rig the damn things to electrocute the passengers like they rigged those ignition switches to cut off while you're driving, and then try to cover it up for over 10 years by blaming it on the drivers!

David N | 15. Januar 2019

Just more talk. Yada yada yada.
We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that....
With no fast charging system for long trips, it’s like selling a ICE w/ no gas stations available.
Their EV lineup will be a flop.
They will claim.....see, no one wants EV’s.

TranzNDance | 15. Januar 2019

I didn't see a reference to building a car for the masses in the two Tesla posts about the Master Plan. Is there a citation for this idea of a car for the masses? Otherwise, it feels like a straw man argument.

bp | 15. Januar 2019

Since EVs will represent a small percentage of sales for the other manufacturers, there's a strong probability they'll be willing to sell their early EVs at a loss so they can get below Tesla's sales prices - and try to squeeze Tesla out of the market, and still generate overall profits from their higher volume, higher margin ICE SUVs.

Tesla will be at a disadvantage without the US EV tax credit and having to show quarter-to-quarter profitability.

Tesla does have some advantages though - selling direct eliminates the dealership overhead and Tesla is the only manufacturer building their own motors, batteries and battery packs, plus they have the benefit of several generations of designs - with the possibility of lower costs for these major components.

And the other manufacturers also have a disadvantage with their dealership model because the dealers will have less incentive to sell EVs, especially because they face the prospect of less upfront revenue on sales coupled with less long-term revenue from service.

Tesla has succeeded in establishing the viability of EVs as a replacement for ICEs. And now that they've got the other manufacturers preparing to introduce competing products, their "first mover" advantage may start to disappear - and Tesla will have to continue evolving to maintain their market leadership.

COrich | 15. Januar 2019

Instead of ragging on GM and others, we should be applauding them. Yes, we can all find fault with the time-line or the product specifics, but at least there is now forward movement instead of active hindrance. More choices will eventually make BEV offerings main-stream and push ICE offerings in the pile of obsolescence.

NKYTA | 15. Januar 2019

@bp "And now that they've got the other manufacturers preparing to introduce competing products, their "first mover" advantage may start to disappear - and Tesla will have to continue evolving to maintain their market leadership"

You are leaving out one of the most major factors, the SuperCharger network.

Zero, zip, from any "competitors".

I did reserve my Model S when there were no stated plans for a SuperCharger network. Looking back, I can hardly believe I did that.

SamO | 15. Januar 2019

Nobody understands the importance of Superchargers until you go to take an EV trip and you can't get where you want in a reasonable time.

GM is more likely to find themselves back in Bankruptcy before they are leading anything.

DanFoster1 | 15. Januar 2019

I’m so pleased to see everyone here recognizes the critical importance of the Supercharger network, even if the rest of the idiots don’t. Game changer.

Tesla-David | 15. Januar 2019

@NKYTA, me too. The SC network is brilliant IMHO, and is the magic sauce that makes our Tesla’s work for us.

NKYTA | 15. Januar 2019

Ayep!

jordanrichard | 15. Januar 2019

COrich, just exactly what is “forward movement” about GM essentially abandoning the Bolt which is far more affordable that’s anything Caddy comes up with in 3 years. It is a step backwards.

TranzDance, no, Tesla never used the phrase “for the masses”, but it was inferred by making the goal to produce the Model 3 and sell it for $35K, which is the current avg selling price of a new ICE car, which a broader swath of people can afford versus the S and X or anything Benz, Audi, Caddy, BMW, etc, will be producing.

blue adept | 15. Januar 2019

All GM has ever done (other than deliberately trying to kill its customers by modifying their ignition switches and cover it up by blaming it on the drivers for over 10 years so they could [and did] rack up even more victims) ever since 1996 with their EV1, to the iffy (because it was actually a hybrid) Chevy Bolt, to the current Opel Ampera-E (Bolt-EV in domestic markets), which they're no longer accepting orders for, is tease and taunt us to incur investor sentiment and boost their stock rating for the quarter, nothing more.

It's actually kinda depressing when you think about it, what with the missed opportunity for GM to salvage some face and incur some positive press amidst the whole being tried for murder debacle going on right now by actually listening to their customers and bringing to market what they've shown an overwhelming desire for.

Too bad Barra's missing the cue by not only pushing EV implementation even further down the road yet again, but also into the higher income bracket by relegating initial market-wide offerings to the expensive end of the spectrum via GM's Cadillac brand, they might've actually managed to raise the funds to cover all of the monies they're going to have to payout to settle all of those wrongful death/murder suits they're tied up in court with now.

So no, @COrich, there is no "forward movement", just more empty promises, and you're overlooking the point raised by @David N, @NKYTA, and @SamO, i.e., the lack of an infrastructure that supports their EV offerings...Until they have that, @bp, until they have a mass-produced viable EV offering, they've got NOTHING but hype, unfortunately for them.

Darthamerica | 15. Januar 2019

The Supercharger Network is open to other manufacturers. Just an FYI...

Tesla has done well as a first mover. I hope it innovates and stays on top. But do not underestimate the big autos. They have the advantage of experience, scale and learning from Tesla. They also have more diverse product lineups. They can leverage gas powered cars for many decades and decide when to make a move.

blue adept | 15. Januar 2019

@DanFoster1 & @Tesla-David

+1

Not to mention a battery factory too.

Mike83 | 16. Januar 2019

I also bought a P85 about 5 years ago and we charged at some owners homes, RV parks, and such using the adaptors. When new Superchargers popped up we visited those areas. I can hardly believe that now the entire civilized planet has Superchargers and destination chargers. The Nav system takes away any anxiety.
The speed and number of Superchargers has made travel more fun, relaxed and now we can travel anywhere.
No more stinky and oily gas stations and don't miss that.

Yodrak. | 16. Januar 2019

"I can hardly believe that now the entire civilized planet has Superchargers and destination chargers."

No, "the entire civilized planet", does not have superchargers and destination chargers.

Goose | 16. Januar 2019

At a party one night an EV-doubter was ragging on me about how useless the Tesla supercharger network is. I told him that my wife and I have travelled to around 20 states since 2015 in our Model S and we nearly always see other out of state Teslas in the places we visit. I have NEVER seen a Leaf, Bolt or any other pure EV with an out of state license plate in any of the places we have been. I told him that people buy cars to go places, and the SC network enables that.

jordanrichard | 16. Januar 2019

Goose, I would have asked this EV-doubter, what experience he/she had with Tesla's SC network to make such a statement.

I once had a woman say to me,".....I heard that once the warranty is up and the battery fails,it costs $30,000 to replace". So I paused and asked just who exactly told her that, because ALL Tesla battery packs even going back to 2012 are still under warranty. Her response was that her boyfriend that works at a Ford dealer, told her............The world is full of arm chair quarterbacks......

Tesla-David | 16. Januar 2019

Wow, recent OTA update to our Tesla app now shows SC’s (number and availability) in proximity and also destination chargers. I absolutely love the Tesla app, which enables us to moniter our MS, M3; and Powerwall2 batteries. ;0)

SO | 16. Januar 2019

@Darthamerica - “But do not underestimate the big autos. They have the advantage of experience, scale and learning from Tesla. They also have more diverse product lineups. They can leverage gas powered cars for many decades and decide when to make a move.”

That is a blessing and a curse. The other car companies have a LOT of legacy infrastructure to support. Dealers who don’t want to sell EVs that have relatively no maintenance. The Model 3 is serviced once every other year.

I agree that no one should be complacent. But anyone who thinks Elon/Tesla is complacent and will stand still, has not paid much attention.

Tesla does need to improve communication, service and repair parts availability (which is not surprising due to how fast they have grown). Which I think they will over the next couple years.

DTsea | 16. Januar 2019

Yodrak, used EVs that cost 35k new will be 20k used in a few years. Just like ice cars.

finman100 | 16. Januar 2019

That (DTsea comment) will be a major tipping point to EV adoption!

Cheap used EVs that CAN replace a gas car (long range battery PLUS a Fast charging infrastructure). It takes time but it is all but inevitable at this point.

Of course cheap used ICE vehicles and cheap gas can slow things...

TeslaTap.com | 16. Januar 2019

Let's look at "they have the advantage of experience, scale and learning from Tesla."

Experience - Zero to almost zero in making a compelling EV.

Scale - This is a negative. It means they have so many layers and committees to do anything it takes 2 to 3 times as long as Tesla, and often creates a mediocre product. Sadly, we don't expect many competitive products from these companies in 2-4 years with what Tesla was making 5 years ago.

Learning from Tesla - so far there are zero signs they have learned anything from Tesla. There is tremendous inertia and a "not invented here" syndrome. No charging network, no direct sales model, no excitement, no performance, no style and minimal technology advancement.

jordanrichard | 16. Januar 2019

“.....a mediocre product” so along those lines, I just read something interesting in latest issue of the MBCA Star magazine that reinforces something I picked up on watching Jay Leno’s garage.

On Jay Leno’s garage they had the MB EQ 400 on, along with an engineer from MB. What caught my attention, while they were looking under the “hood”, the engineer said that the EV power plant/battery would come from location and be placed into this vehicle which would be on a standard assembly line. What specifically caught my attention though was the engineer said, “........this way whether it was an electric motor or petrol engine it can be fitted”. Meaning the “EQ” is being built to be both a gas powered car and EV, which translates into a compromised design.

Now add that to what I just read in the Star. An MB engineer when discussing the forthcoming EQ, wouldn’t say when the vehicle would be released, or what the price would be, but that we could expect to see full electric versions in every model category. “Electric versions in every model category”. Meaning all future Benz will be compromised EV designs. If you look at the MB EQ, there is not space gained, like there is in Teslas, from it being an EV. Like the Bolt, the front end of the MB EQ is full of EV components.

Yodrak. | 16. Januar 2019

"Yodrak, used EVs that cost 35k new will be 20k used in a few years."

I know. My first EV was a two year-old Leaf, $39,000 new, for which I paid $16,000.

What's your point?

RedShift | 16. Januar 2019

His point was that second hand EVs can accelerate EV adoption as there are many who can’t afford a new expensive one.

blue adept | 16. Januar 2019

EDIT: A point of correction

@bp

Actually, GM has been capable of manufacturing a market viable EV since 1996/for some 22 or 23 years now, as was proven with their EV1 so, clearly, they're just deliberately choosing not to when they, quite evidently, could.

Womp-womp!

mos6507 | 17. Januar 2019

"but also into the higher income bracket by relegating initial market-wide offerings to the expensive end of the spectrum via GM's Cadillac brand"

Starting at the high end is what Tesla did. That's worthy of ridicule? And at present GM sells a cheaper car than Tesla with the Bolt. The $35K Model 3 remains vaporware.

carlk | 17. Januar 2019

It is worthy of redicule because after all those hooplas of its long range low cost EV beat Tesla to the market GM is now going back to do what Tesla started doing many years ago. Tesla has sold 10x Model 3 as GM sold the Bolt even at a higher price. That is worthy of another riducule.

blue adept | 17. Januar 2019

@mos6507

As a new startup with a low production capability rate that is exactly what Tesla had to do whereas GM, as a 110 year old international automotive manufacturing company that started their venture into the EV world at the low-end with the EV-1, then subsequent Bolt and Ampera-e offerings who're only NOW deciding to provide a high-end EV offering (or so they say), it is somewhat anti-climatic and a very obvious step backward well worthy of both ridicule AND scorn.

Alas, after being met with overwhelming enthusiasm for and acceptance of EV models EVERY time GM makes inroads into the EV arena as a gauge to determine market viability/favorable customer sentiment they, once again, back away from the inescapable inevitability of market-wide EV adoption in favor of forestalling their transition to vehicular electrification/the future despite their customers all too apparent desire for just that.

Yes, VERY worthy of the derision and mockery they receive.

blue adept | 17. Januar 2019

@carlk

+1

kcheng | 17. Januar 2019

Presumably, GM chose Cadillac to be their lead EV brand, due to global requirements. China is the leading EV market in the World, now, and GM has two brands they could consider there, Cadillac and Buick. In the US, they could either use Cadillac and Chevy. Since Cadillac is common to both, then Cadillac makes the most sense. It's also a doff of the cap to Tesla's approach, since Tesla has made a success of the EV market starting at the top-down. For GM, that would mean starting with Cadillac, and then spreading to Chevy, etc.

blue adept | 17. Januar 2019

One step forward followed by two backwards has never been a winning strategy...

Just saying.

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