General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) will start selling a battery-powered Chevrolet Blazer next year, giving it a direct competitor to Tesla Inc.’s Model Y, the U.S.’s best-selling electric SUV.
The automaker said on Monday that the electric Blazer model will go on sale in the summer of 2023, quickly following the launch of the Chevy Silverado E.V., with the $30,000 Equinox coming later in the year.
The three vehicles will start General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) long-awaited effort to establish the kind of lead in mass-market E.V. sales that the company has in internal combustion models. Currently, the company’s newest EVs are pricey models from Hummer and Cadillac.
Shares of General Motors Co.’ s(NYSE:GM) rose 1.1% in premarket trading Tuesday to $32.99 as of 8:20 a.m. in New York. The stock is down about 44% this year.
The Blazer will use the Ultium battery that the company has been developing for several years with Korean partner L.G. The automaker has been saying that with the dedicated Ultium platform, its vehicles will be more profitable and easier to build and go father before needing a recharge.
“This is a massive statement for us,” said Chevrolet Vice President Scott Bell. “Silverado is the first. Blazer is the next piece of that puzzle. We see that 35% of consumers are considering buying an E.V. It will have really broad appeal.”
That trio of vehicles could lead General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) past all rivals, including market-leader Tesla, in electric vehicle sales by 2025, Bank of America Securities analyst John Murphy said in his “Car Wars” report. Murphy forecasts that General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) will have more than 14% of the U.S. E.V. market share, and Ford Motor Co. will be slightly ahead of Tesla at more than 10%.
The Blazer’s range, a key selling point for E.V.s these days, will beat Tesla and match other competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Tesla’s Model Y costs almost $66,000 and goes 318 miles on a charge. The Blazer’s 320-mile R.S. version goes for $52,000.
One problem for General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) is that its dedicated battery, which came out after other models came to market, isn’t delivering a much better range than its traditional competitors. The $45,000 version of the Blazer is $1,000 more than the Ford, and both go 247 miles on a charge. Premium versions of both vehicles have similar extended ranges — and price points.
“At each price point, it’s almost the same range as the Mach-E,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
But General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) says that the Silverado electric truck will have 400 miles of range, which beats Ford’s Lightning pickup because the company can fit more batteries in the dedicated truck platform, but for smaller models, the performance is close.
The real advantage of the Ultium battery will be in General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) ability to get 20 models out globally in the next two years and build scale in a way that quickly improves profitability, Abuelsamid said. General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) has two U.S. battery plants and two more in the works. At the start of production, that will lower battery costs for General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) while other competitors are still getting cell manufacturing going.
The platform may also enable General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) to sell the Chevy Equinox small SUV next year starting at $30,000 and give middle-market buyers a vehicle with a decent range and a roomy cabin. And General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) may be able to make money doing it, according to Abuelsamid.
“They can get a profit advantage over Ford,” Abuelsamid said. “It will be an advantage to consumers when they launch the Equinox because they can sell them at a lower price point.”
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