Building cars is hard (BCIH)™. Building an electric truck is, as we’re going to find out today, even harder. Chevy made a big deal out of announcing a $40,000 version of the 2024 Silverado EV when it debuted, but just walked back that number to media at a launch this week. The actual cost will be significantly higher.
Speaking of BCIH, Lordstown Motors predictably files for bankruptcy and less-predictably sues Foxconn, plus a board member actually gets sentenced for Dieselgate. If you stick around through all of that I’ll have Škoda for you… a Škoda camper.
Base Silverado EV Will Reportedly Cost At Least 25% More Than Originally Offered
It’s somewhat of a tradition in the electric car universe to either:
A. Sell a low-priced version of an EV for about ten minutes before discontinuing it. Or…
B. Offer to sell one, but raise the price before one even arrives on sale.
It sounds like Chevrolet is taking the B Route with its new Silverado EV. Remember when the Silverado EV was originally going to cost $39,900 in base trim? Yeah, me neither.
There was a big launch for the Silverado EV this week and the buzz around automotive media circles was that it felt a little rushed. We wouldn’t know, though, because we weren’t invited! [Editor’s Note: It’s possible that’s my fault. I still have some reviews outstanding (I bit off a bit more than I could chew right as I moved to LA). Automakers typically want those done pronto! -DT]. Either way, amidst reviews of the truck came news that the $40,000 price wasn’t going to be realized.
Here’s how GM explains it to Automotive News in the business outlet’s report titled “Chevy Silverado EV fleet sales start soon; price of base model raised.”:
“A lot has changed in the last year and a half with the economic pressures, with the industry pressures, with all the supply chain” constraints, Amy Masica, director of marketing for Chevy trucks, told Automotive News at a media drive event for the Silverado EV work truck aimed at fleet buyers.
Sure. Also worth noting that Chevy, at the time of its announcement, was competing with a Ford F-150 Lightning that theoretically cost $41,000 in base trim. Ford took Route A and did, it seems, maybe build some of those $41,000 trucks, but the base price of the Lightning has jumped multiple times and is now more than $60,000. I haven’t seen a specific price, but Car And Driver seems to think it’ll be around $52,000 for the base Silverado WT work truck.
Currently, the only vehicle being produced is the 4WT work trim, at a whopping $79,800 (delivered), but that does offer a big 450-mile range. The non-fleet RST First Edition has a 400-mile range and will cost $106,895.
Depending on what that WT-trim offers, $52,000 could be a good deal. Given the huge number of reservations GM claims to have, focusing on a $40,000 truck doesn’t make much sense, especially since, according to The Detroit News, they just had to shut down their Ultium battery plant:
The disruption at the Ohio Ultium Cells plant — the only Ultium plant out of three planned facilities in operation — is happening while GM is launching the Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck at its Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center and soon will be launching electric versions of the Equinox and Blazer.
“Anything that potentially interrupts cell production right now is critical for General Motors, because they’ve a hard time ramping up production of all of their Ultium EVs,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal e-mobility analyst for market research firm Guidehouse Inc.
Lordstown Files For Bankruptcy + Bonus Lawsuit
Startup EV truckmaker Lordstown Motors never made any sense to me. Other than getting the former GM Lordstown Assembly in Ohio (home of the Cruze!) for cheap, the company didn’t actually seem to be selling many trucks (it moved a whopping three of them in Q4 of 2022) and the ones they did offer were not competitive.
Unsurprisingly, Lordstown Motors has filed for bankruptcy. As a twist, Foxconn (famous for producing iPhones on Apple’s behalf) was immediately sued by Lordstown. Why? It’s complicated, but Reuters has a good breakdown:
In a complaint filed in bankruptcy court, Lordstown accused the electronics company of fraudulent conduct and a series of broken promises in failing to abide by an agreement to invest up to $170 million in the electric-vehicle manufacturer.
Foxconn previously invested about $52.7 million in Lordstown as part of the agreement, and currently holds an almost 8.4% stake in the EV maker. Lordstown contends Foxconn is balking at purchasing additional shares of its stock as promised and misled the EV maker about collaborating on vehicle development plans.
Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry (2317.TW) and best known for assembling Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhones, has said Lordstown breached the investment agreement when the automaker’s stock fell below $1 per share.
Ex Audi CEO Pleads Guilty, Gets Suspended Sentence
In 2019, prosecutors said Stadler knew about the manipulation of diesel engines but failed to prevent the sale of hundreds of thousands of cars with rigged software.
The charges related to nearly 435,000 Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen cars destined for US and European markets.
In separate statements, Volkswagen and Audi said they were not party to Tuesday’s proceedings, which should be “viewed independently” of proceedings against the companies that concluded in 2018.
A suspended sentence for Stadler means he doesn’t have to serve jail time, but for three years could get thrown in the clink if he commits any further crimes. Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has yet to stand trial and is currently avoiding going to the United States, which makes him a fancy fugitive.
After Dieselgate, Volkswagen made a big commitment to build electric cars across all its brand, which leads neatly to the next story.
And Now… A Skoda Camper
Every year Skoda gives students at its vocational school a chance to dream up and, eventually, build a project car. This year’s project couldn’t possibly appeal be more appealing to me. It’s a Toppola-style mobile office/camper built on the Czech automaker’s Kodiaq platform the students call the Škoda Roadiaq. Get it?
Here’s what the company says about the car:
Škoda’s ninth student car contains everything a modern mobile office needs: a permanent high speed internet connection, a 27‑inch monitor and a docking station, innovative storage solutions, lots of electric plug sockets, and (importantly) an espresso machine. Yet, in just a few easy steps the Roadiaq transforms from a workspace into a living area complete with a bed and a small kitchen.
Maren Gräf, Škoda Auto Board Member for People & Culture, said: “As a mobile-office camper, the Roadiaq allows you to work wherever you want. It’s a reflection of the new, flexible work approach we at Škoda are fully committed to. Over the course of the project, it was particularly impressive to see the enthusiasm and dedication to detail the students at the Academy demonstrated. This concept car shows in an impressive manner what people can achieve together if they dedicate themselves to a project with passion.”
It’s a one-off, but it’s a dope one-off.
How much would an EV truck need to be for you to buy it, and what kind of range would you expect for the price?
Photos: Audi, GM, Skoda, Lordstown Motors
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