Under its Design Dome, part of its Warren Tech Center and where concept cars have been prepared and vehicles—even like the EV1—have been designed and developed since 1955, GM provided a sketch to media and investors Wednesday of how its Ultium electric propulsion strategy will take form in actual production-bound vehicles.
It was delivered in the form of executive presentations, technology displays, and a portfolio of 12 vehicles—a full dozen if you count the one that was presented only on screen.
GM says that there will be other vehicles added to the portfolio, so this is a sample set of models to arrive by calendar year 2025. Some of the models were clearly in very early stages, and described as early concepts with “production intent”—industry language to indicate that much might change and the project still needs comprehensive approval—while others were definitely headed to production and shown to us in something closer to prototype form.
In addition to the return of the Hummer name to an EV, one early focus of GM's push will be giving Cadillac multiple EVs—making it mostly electric by the end of the decade.
While a refreshed Bolt EV and new, extended-length Bolt EUV are two of those dozen vehicles, they’ll continue to ride on their existing battery pack, now at 66 kwh.
Here are the rest—the ten vehicles that will likely play a very important part in GM’s much-trumpeted “all-electric future.”
GMC Hummer EV
The SUT, with a roomy cabin plus a small pickup bed, is the electric vehicle that will mark the return of Hummer, as a subset of GMC. It appeared to have body-on-frame construction and will truly max out GM’s platform potential with up to three motors and the “double stack” 24-module battery pack with potentially up to 200 kwh of capacity. One of the most distinctive features is the ability to completely open up the roof, for quiet open-air off-roading or, as a promotional video we saw illustrated, just looking at the stars. The Hummer vehicles were designed and developed by the same close team, which is why their interiors are perhaps the most coordinated of any of the concepts and vehicles shown.
The SUV looks identical to the SUT from the side pillar forward, and shorter than GM’s existing full-size SUVs. GM officials were reluctant to share sizes or dimensions, but we did get a confirmation that the SUV rides on a shorter wheelbase than the SUT. Expect very good approach, departure, and breakover angles for the kind of off-roading people might expect from a Hummer.
This one was shown to us merely in picture form—and briefly. Those who have been pining for the return of the cult-following Avalanche personal-use pickup will be very happy, and getting it in EV form this time fits the times. Although it’s not likely to be as luxurious as the Hummer, it is likely to tap into the same battery capacity of up to 200 kwh, which should enable an impressive range.
Teaser for Cadillac Lyriq electric cossover SUV based on GM BEV3 modular platform
The Lyriq was shown in what was termed concept form—quite closely echoing the concept GM had teased before—although GM VP for global design Michael Simcoe said that it’s more of a “production precursor” and that the vehicle we saw is “95 to 98% what it will be.” It will be the debut vehicle not just for the use of the BEV3 building blocks in a crossover but for a new 34-inch curved display that combines gauge displays and infotainment and is “the new volume display for Cadillac.”
The Lyriq's long wheelbase and lack of a transmission tunnel provide a roomy cabin for its mid-size measurements. Inside it has wood and metal surfaces, and “the richness in keeping some (physical) tactile controls.” It also has what GM calls “the new face of Cadillac, with vertical LED running lamps that edge vertically down from the headlights and cut sharply in. Relative to GM’s current crop of crossovers it has a large rear window and more rearward glass.
2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV shown in visualizer
Cadillac Escalade EV
While GM wouldn’t confirm quite exactly that this big three-row SUV concept would be called the Escalade, it did say that the model will arrive alongside gasoline versions. With a design that’s different—softer and smoother, in a general sense—than the newly introduced 2020 Escalade, with a steeper A-pillar and what appears to be a different hoodline, the Escalade EV would also pack the largest possible battery pack in the Ultium family—200 kwh—with the three-motor, 1,000-horsepower version of the propulsion system.
GM president Mark Reuss called the Celestiq “the ultimate expression of Cadillac design and technology.” The Celestiq will be a true flagship for Cadillac, and will be hand-assembled in Detroit.
From a design standpoint the four-door fastback is an assertive blend of body styles and strong design cues, with muscle-car-like flanks, a la Chevy Camaro or Dodge Charger, matched with a curvaceous rear third that harked back to the days of shooting brakes and bubble-window station wagons. I couldn’t help but see a bit of the Jensen Interceptor in it, too. Its in-dash screen goes the full width, and from some steps back it has a striking presence as a long, low, and wide vehicle relative to just about everything else out on the floor.
“We are going to build this car,” Reuss asserted with an almost defiant tone—likely hinting to the long line of Cadillac concepts that haven’t made it to production.
Buick mid-size SUV
Shown only in clay-model form, two Buicks maybe amounted to the most significant design change for a brand, showing "the new face of Buick.” A 30-inch screen combines the gauge cluster and infotainment, and the interior actually looks the most cockpit-like of any of these concepts. With the single-level configuration of GM’s battery system, it might offer a capacity of up to 100 kwh and, likely, the dual-motor version of GM’s electric powertrain.
This model has what we would assume is the same interior as the crossover, but with a lower, swoopier roofline. GM called this a crossover and the other Buick model an SUV, but this one looks more sport wagon in the setting shown, among many taller vehicles.
Chevrolet mid-size SUV
This vehicle looked like a closely related sibling to the Buick mid-size SUV; think an all-electric counterpoint to the Equinox or Blazer. Like its Buick equivalent, it could be quite competitive on range if it gets its top potential battery pack of about 100 kwh.
Cruise Origin driverless vehicle introduction
While the Cruise Origin is a different kind of vehicle entirely, intended as part of a driverless future, with the potential to fit up to six people, it rides on some of the same underpinnings from GM’s BEV3 architecture and Ultium propulsion system. Eventually, later in the decade, it might help GM achieve some economies of scale if both GM’s investment in electric vehicles, its investment in Cruise, and Cruise’s research and technology, all take off.