Since so much time and money is being devoted toward the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles, here’s a convenient list of all the EVs that automakers unveiled at the Detroit auto show this past week:
That’s right: There weren’t any.
Sure, a number of EVs could be found sitting around the show floor for anyone who wants to find them, but not a single company used the show to debut one in front of the throngs of journalists and eavesdropping competitors. This apparently confused the New York Post, which published the headline “Here are the electric cars revealed at the Detroit auto show” on a story about vehicles that all burn regular old gasoline.
Jeep showed two upcoming EVs online a week before the show, then used its Detroit press conference to drive out two special editions of its Wrangler and Grand Cherokee plug-in hybrids. The EVs, which aren’t due to reach dealerships until 2024, were nowhere to be found. Sibling brand Chrysler, rather than highlight its plan to go all-electric by 2028, rolled out the final edition of its iconic Hemi-powered 300C sedan.
Chevrolet had the upcoming Equinox, Silverado and Blazer EVs on display, but it devoted its press conference time slot to internal-combustion horsepower, showing a high-performance Tahoe. Chevy had already made its splash with the Equinox EV a week earlier, when General Motors CEO Mary Barra went on the CBS Mornings TV show.
And for Ford Motor Co., its hometown auto show was all about a redesign for the Mustang. The spectacle it created at Detroit’s Hart Plaza — taking full advantage of the show’s move away from Michigan’s winter weather — was filled with revving engines, and it culminated in the arrival of the 500 hp, V-8-powered Mustang Dark Horse.
Ford made no mention of EVs amid its pony-car pageantry, even though CEO Jim Farley had just that day flown back from meeting with dealers in Las Vegas about the seven-figure investments they’re being asked to make in chargers and training to sell EVs. A story in this week’s Automotive News looks at how Ford is trying to balance its electric future and gasoline-powered present.
It’s not that automakers are resisting the shift to EVs. They’re spending big bucks to reorganize their operations, develop new supply chains and ensure the infrastructure needed for EVs is in place.
At the moment, though, it just seems many executives would still rather use an auto show to talk about something else, while they still can.
— Nick Bunkley
From “Tavares says Stellantis open to unionization of coming battery plants”
In Monday’s Automotive News:
On the rise: Legacy automakers are chipping away at Tesla’s formidable early lead in electric vehicles as they introduce new EV models and ramp up production flows. According to new data from Experian, new registrations of full-electric vehicles in the U.S. have surged among non-Tesla brands in the first seven months of the year. Automotive News looks at the growing U.S. market share for EVs and how legacy automakers are carving out a large slice of that for themselves.
Speaking of EVs … Stellantis brands uninterested in going electric when part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio now have far more ambitious plans. Jeep will bring two battery-electric utility vehicles in 2024. Dodge is reinventing itself as an eco-friendly muscle brand. Ram’s ProMaster EV launches next year, and its popular pickup will go electric one year later. Chrysler will drop combustion engines by 2028. Automotive News‘ Future Product series looks at those brands, along with Alfa Romeo and Fiat.
Ford lays out EV standards for dealers: Ford’s U.S. dealers must invest as much as $1.2 million and adhere to rigorous sales standards if they want to sell electric vehicles beyond 2023 as the brand tweaks its retail model to better compete with direct-sales startups. Dealers also have to set no-haggle prices on EVs.
Biden visits auto show: President Joe Biden pushed his vision for an electric vehicle future that positions the U.S. as a leader, creates American jobs and transitions the country to a clean energy economy in remarks delivered at the Detroit auto show. “I believe we can own the future of the automobile market. I believe we can own the future of manufacturing,” Biden said. “American manufacturing is back. Detroit is back.”
CAS gets a new boss: The Center for Auto Safety named Michael Brooks its new executive director. Brooks, 48, most recently was acting executive director of the consumer advocacy group, following the departure of former leader Jason Levine in December, who is now executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Brooks says the center has a rich history of ensuring an independent voice in the nation’s capital on vehicle safety and quality issues and that he hopes to continue that tradition.
The executive director of electric vehicle programs at Consumers Energy discusses the role utility companies play in meeting consumer expectations for electric vehicles and details the need for a resilient power grid.
Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds and Automotive News reporter Michael Martinez discuss the Detroit auto show and Ford’s new dealership EV certification requirements.
University of Michigan researcher Jeff Sakamoto talks about how close the industry is to scaling up the manufacturing of solid-state batteries.
Sept. 21, 2007: Steve Wilhite quits as COO of Hyundai Motor America just 13 months after taking the job in the wake of Hyundai’s firing of Bob Cosmai. Wilhite had been under pressure to push Hyundai’s U.S. sales over 500,000 vehicles.
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