Home » GM’s Rocky Electric Rollout Continues With More-Expensive-Than-Expected Blazer EV

GM’s Rocky Electric Rollout Continues With More-Expensive-Than-Expected Blazer EV

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This was supposed to be the year all the non-Tesla electric vehicles showed up in force to reset the American car landscape. That was the theory, anyway. The reality is, not so much—while EV adoption is rapidly growing here and this year’s due to be a record one, sales aren’t as up-and-to-the-right as many predicted, thanks to anxieties with charging and high EV prices. On today’s morning news roundup, we learn why the Chevrolet Blazer EV isn’t helping with that situation.

Plus, we’ll look at Ford’s plans for hybrids; peek into Aston Martin’s turnaround; and learn why the new Nismo Z left the manual gearbox option behind. Let’s go!

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Chevy Blazer EV Gets A Price Hike Right Out Of The Gate

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev
Photo: GM

This spring, when the new EV tax credit scheme was finalized, General Motors was quick to brag that its full lineup of electrics would qualify for the breaks. Problem was, as several critics were quick to point out, that lineup doesn’t really exist yet. There was the Chevy Bolt, which is about to be discontinued before being revived later, and… well, that’s it for now. The rest are “coming soon.” Several have been delayed (Cadillac Lyriq, Chevy Blazer, etc.) and others (GMC Hummer EV) have had some notable problems.

I’m confident GM will get there eventually, but a lot of early hype around this lineup hasn’t turned into actual products you can buy quite yet. Making EVs is hard. Adding to those headaches is the fact that now, the Blazer EV—an ostensible Mustang Mach-E competitor—will be much more expensive than initially announced. Here’s The Detroit Free Press to elaborate:

In July 2022, when Chevy revealed the Blazer EV, it estimated the base trim would start at $44,995, pushing it up-market from its gasoline-powered counterpart at $35,100. The finalized pricing for the trims rolling out this year are above that estimate.

“Our initial launch editions are highly contented with features we know our customer’s want and showcase the technology and customer choice the Blazer EV offers,” [GM spokesperson Chad Lyons] said of the pricing.

RS AWD starts at $60,215.
RS RWD starts at $61,790.
2LT AWD starts at $56,715.

Range for the 2LT and RS AWD are 279 miles on a full charge. GM expects to achieve an estimated 320-mile range on a full charge for the RS RWD trim.

A cheaper 2LT FWD model (yes, it’s a weirdo car that can come in all three configurations) is due to debut next year and that should be cheaper too. Still, that’s quite a price hike, even with the tax incentives. I’m not convinced the world needs another $60,000 EV crossover, but we’ll see how this one does.

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Ford Sticks With Hybrids

2021 Ford F-150 towing a boat.
Photo credit: Ford

Ask Ford about the challenges of rolling out battery-powered cars. It’s why I’m not framing this as some “What is GM doing?” story. This is hard for all the legacy OEMs, just as the startups have their own problems. But Ford, unlike GM, is doing something I think is smart: sticking with hybrid cars even as it invests more into full battery EVs too. Here’s another one from The Detroit Free Press today:

A deep dive into sales data over the past three years helps explain why he disclosed that Ford will reveal a refreshed Ford F-150 hybrid at the Detroit auto show in mid-September. Many competitors are touting a desire to shift completely to electric vehicles. Ford is pumping the brakes.

While consumers are purchasing electric vehicles, the market pricing is still dynamic and Ford is losing billions on the pivot from old internal combustion engines (ICE) to battery electric. Meanwhile, traditional F-Series trucks are selling like crazy and continuing to generate profits that have sustained Ford for decades.

[CEO Jim Farley] spotlighted hybrids, which increase fuel efficiency for truck owners while allowing them to go to the gas pump in times of need rather than find a charging station to plug in. As automakers figure out how many EVs to build, and what prices will work, Ford says it will work to tip-toe consumers away from internal combustion engines into electrification.

And he means specifically non-PHEVs here. Just hybrid-hybrids. But apparently the F-150 hybrid is a kind of secret weapon here, and as we see in other segments, sales are picking up:

Since its introduction of the Ford F-150 hybrid during fourth quarter 2020 through June, the automaker has sold 103,709 vehicles. In the last three months, F-150 hybrid sales spiked 33% over the same period a year ago with 13,285 vehicles. It was the best quarter since its introduction. Meanwhile, the Ford Maverick hybrid is the No. 2 selling hybrid truck in the U.S.

Plus, as that story notes, a lot of F-150 hybrid owners love that they can power various devices and tools with that truck, too.

Maybe it’s more awareness of climate issues amid a brutal summer; maybe people are waking up to the potential of EVs, but reluctant to go full-bore for now and see this as a nice compromise; maybe they’re just sick of paying a lot for truck gas. All of those are valid reasons, and I say good on Ford for offering this as a choice. I’d like to see other OEMs get out in front on this.

Aston Martin’s Big Turnaround Seems To Be… Working?

2024 Aston Martin Db12 6
Photo: Aston Martin

Did you know Aston Martin has declared bankruptcy seven times in its 110-year history? I did not, but yeesh. Wow. These days, however, things seem to be looking up. The much-criticized acquisition and IPO led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll (it’s certainly a nice benefit for his son, Aston Martin F1 driver Lance Stroll) appears to be working. Via Bloomberg, which compares it to Ferrari here:

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But, whisper it quietly, things do seem better now. With former Ferrari boss Amedeo Felisa at the helm since last year, the company has dealt with a surfeit of cars at dealerships and focused on boosting exclusivity by selling cars at higher prices. The average price per vehicle sold (include special editions) increased to £212,000 in the first half of 2023, compared with less than £160,000 in 2020.

New higher-margin models like the DB12 have won rave reviews and racked up strong orders, while the DBX SUV has been a hit with US customers — some of whom are discovering the brand for the first time thanks to its successful association with F1 (Aston Martin is currently ranked third in the constructors’ championship).

Aston Martin’s business and capital markets performance remain well short of Ferrari, though, whose successful 2015 stock market listing encouraged premium automakers to aspire to the lofty valuations that fashion houses like Hermes International enjoy.

Just yesterday, Aston Martin raised £216 million (about $276 million) in a share sale, which will help with its electrification strategy in partnership with Lucid. Meanwhile, it also has an engine partnership with Mercedes and lots of Saudi money. Financially speaking, things could be a lot worse for Aston these days.

More Nismos On The Way?

Nismo Z 1
Photo: Nissan

Like all of you, I was utterly baffled that the new, more powerful Nissan Z Nismo only comes with an automatic gearbox. And not even a truly great automatic, like the Toyota Supra’s ZF8; an in-house nine-speed auto that they claim is “better” on track for its quicker shifting times. Whatever you say, guys!

But Motor Trend says the people demanded faster lap times, so here we are:

[Nissan Product Planning Director Paul Hawson] tells MotorTrend that Nissan customer research showed Z buyers want quicker lap times. They want a car that can punch above its weight at a track day, and good modern automatics shift quicker than the best manuals.

We already know the auto is 0.6-second quicker to 60 mph and through the quarter-mile, and it’ll likely post a quicker lap time on a circuit as well. If it does, it’ll be in part because this version of the automatic has revised clutch packs with extra plates promising quicker shifting, particularly downshifts which now take half as long as other models, Nissan says. It also says the car’s new Sport+ drive mode is so good on the track that you don’t need to use the paddle shifters.

Still, Hawson isn’t ruling out adding a manual transmission option in the future. If enough customers demand it, he tells us, the company will make it happen.

Just like what happened with the Supra, I guess. Meanwhile, Nissan’s had a lot of production problems to fix with the regular Z. I haven’t seen any of these on the road yet, period. Have you?

Your Turn

Let’s do something fun instead of talking about EVs and car prices. What’s the best option available right now for taking your car to a track? I’m not convinced it’s the porky Nismo Z, though I’m sure it’s blast. What would you pick, especially on a reasonable budget?

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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
10 months ago

What’s the best option available right now for taking your car to a track?

voice of reason: but we have a 944 at home

Honestly, I started doing track days in the Lancer, so my vote goes to “whatever you’ve got” to start out, provided it’s a regular car and not like, a crossover, SUV or land yacht that’d be tippy, mechanically unsound or brake-roasty. Your bog standard Camry? Sure, why not? Send it.

Everything is too expensive nowadays, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and if you’re in a rapidly disappearing or vulture-capital-gutted industry like mine with no job prospects out of said industry, ugh, I’m sorry. So, why buy another car? Learn the basics on what you’ve got—maybe even doing some autocross first since it’s less intense, then jumping to track days. If you really like it, you can pick up a sports car later if you’re starting to really push your daily. I do recommend the 944 at that point! Far easier and cheaper to wrench on than its horsie crest suggests, lots of parts support, a huge grassroots knowledge base, and tons of fun even in base-model trim. But seriously—make sure this is a thing you’re into before you drop the cash on a different car just for track use. Life sucks! Don’t add a car payment if you don’t have to.

Last edited 10 months ago by Stef Schrader
Loudsx .
Loudsx .
10 months ago

I’ve seen one Z on the road outside dealer demo’s

but consering I’ve had my order in in June 22 and told mid 2024 delivery I don’t expect to see many for a while.

Redneckvolution
Redneckvolution
10 months ago

Ah, GM is still doing its ‘We’re gonna price things 10-20% higher than the competition and think customers will bite’ malarky that they’ve been up for about the last decade and some change. I really think that just like old GM, Ye Olde Beane Counters what are really responsible for some of these asinine choices for products and for pricing. These people have no passion for the product or understanding of the market, all they understand is numbers. I understand that they need to keep things reigned in to a certain degree, but I think that engineers and product designers should be able to override the accounting department if they are trying to cheap out and compromising safety/reliability or jeopardizing the existence of an entire product program by massively overpricing it.

Ford and hybrids/PHEV’s: I’m glad to see Ford seeing the light that the market is completely unprepared for even a 25% market share of full EV’s, let alone the 80% market share the clueless urban liberal politicians and rare earth metals mining corps somehow think they can ram down the entire country’s throats because they are unwilling to regulate the corporations that are *actually* responsible for the majority of carbon emissions instead of forcing the public into driving vehicle that they don’t want, are not at an affordable price point for a secondary vehicle for 80% of the population currently, and most critically, THE EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A MAJORITY EV FLEET IS NOT FREAKING THERE AND WILL NOT BE THERE UNTIL THE 2035-2040 TIMEFRAME. And we’ve also got that elephant in the room that we have to spend *checks notes* over a TRILLION dollars to update our fragile electric grid nationwide to even entertain the idea of a majority EV fleet without constant rolling blackouts and leaving millions of people stranded periodically with no way to charge their vehicles. Thankfully, I think people are speaking with their wallets and being vocal at dealerships about their lack of interest in regards to affordability and the infrastructure problem, and the manufacturers are realizing this push for abandoning ICE is a fool’s errand. The Footprint Rule desperately needs to be kicked to the curb so we can also build affordable, efficient smaller cars again and force the manufacturers to optimize their truck lineups so we can have more Maverick Hybrid type vehicles instead of spending all their development money on gas guzzling overpriced off-road toys with fat profit margins for smol PP bros with more money than common sense (I’m looking right at you, Raptor, ZR2 Bison and TRX)

Ironically, Old GM actually had the right idea with its Malibu and Aura Hybrids back in the bailout era, and don’t forget they had the short lived Tahoe/Yukon Hybrid and Silverado Hybrid; they were WAY ahead of their time on hybridizing full size trucks and SUV’s. But those programs unfortunately got canned in the bailout shuffle. If GM had doubled down on those, I think GM would be a market leader now and we would have the majority of vehicles being hybrid and with a PHEV option, which is the logical step. GM needs to stop huffing the Green New Deal fumes, which are definitely not at all being pushed by all the rare earth extraction companies who are desperate to keep being gluttonously profitable after being forced to abandon their coal mining operations, and get on board with full hybridization/PHEV-ization of their fleet.

The new Z – I want to like it, but Nissan’s refusal to reign in their dealers rampant markups are keeping them glued to showroom floors. I’ve seen… five in the wild, maybe, and the car’s been available for over eight months now. I’m hedging my bets that the discounts are on their way.

Also, the Nismo being automatic is extremely lame. All these choads that are obsessed with being tenths of a second faster than other people… get a freakin’ life you Pedal-dantic Pamela’s. The Z in original form was about being a driver’s car and handling/driver connectivity with the chassis over raw power and speed. This is an insult to that spirit and intention. Sales will be sluggish until Nissan realizes this and bucks up to build a manual Nismo. Hawson says they will build a manual if the customers ask for it, so I’d be willing to throw a $20 on the line that there will be a manual option Nismo by MY 2025 and then sales will uptick considerably.

As to a track car – eh, not really my wheelhouse. I’ve never been interested in going fast and I dislike most car people who are obsessed with going fast. I’m a Gambler 500 and Radwood kind of dude. DT is my Autopian Spirit Animal, but with maybe just a bit less of an affliction for rusty shit Heeps, I mean Jeeps.

Myk El
Myk El
10 months ago

I have seen exactly one Z of the current bodystyle on the road. Did not have dealer or even temp plates. But that’s it.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

The whole automatics shift faster than manuals is a marketing lie. Sure from sitting still to punching it and getting to 60 it is .6 seconds quicker. So yes in a drag race an auto wins. But on a track with a manual the driver sees the turn knows he is down or up shifting before he does anything. Tge automatic doesnt know shit until you hit the gas/break. It also doesnt know when you plan on speeding up until gas. It isnt expecting a quick brake or gas from unexpected road conditions or other drivers. But a good driver knows and clutches and shifts and hits the pedal even before he knows what he is going to do.

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Agreed. Also, I want a manual for fun and engagement, don’t particularly care if it’s faster or slower than an automatic.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
10 months ago

What’s the best option available right now for taking your car to a track? I’m not convinced it’s the porky Nismo Z, though I’m sure it’s blast. What would you pick, especially on a reasonable budget?”

Used Tesla Model S P85 like this one for just under $20K:
https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=688875986

Or a Miata…

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
10 months ago

The best budget track car is a used modern pony. A Challenger Hemi might not corner with the best of them, but it’ll be a hell of a lot of fun out there. Same with a V8 Mustang or Camaro.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
10 months ago

All these EVs coming out at $60k+ to get 300 miles of range are making Tesla look darn decent at the moment

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
10 months ago

Low-cost fun track car: the original Boxster with the 2.5 or 2.7 engine. Just get it checked for IMS and bore scoring before buying.

Raven65
Raven65
10 months ago

No. Those prices are just ridiculous. I like EVs, but until they can get the cost in line with comparable ICE vehicles AND the charging infrastructure gets built out (and not just in California and the northeast), I’m sticking with ICE (or possibly a hybrid).

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
10 months ago

Track car = Caterham.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago

Track car depends pretty heavily on budget. If you’re the average working person, the obvious answer is Miata, 350z and all other Z33 variants. And slightly unorthodox choice, 330i E90. All easily found clean below 10k. Deep aftermarket, everything has been done with a video about it. Known reputation for surviving sitting cold for two weeks then bouncing off limiter for an hour.

The best track car ultimately whatever car you don’t have to get to work in. Even the best car will break and walls happen. And every track car just ends up being a money pit till it’s finally sent out to pasture.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

When the Model Y debuted, EVs were so hot that Tesla could (and did) mark them up several times, routinely selling over $60k. Even the Mach-E had price markups and Ford couldn’t keep them in stock. This was the timeframe where GM designed the Blazer EV. Now the Model Y is profitable at $50k, Ford can’t sell Mach-Es at a loss, and GM has a $60k vehicle that should sell for $50k. They can either take a bath on each car or hold the price and cede the market to Tesla.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chronometric
BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I’m not a Tesla fan (generally because of the owner and their choices regarding interior design) but the Model Y seems like you get so much more for less than this.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I am not sure if you get more with a Model Y but I expect you get a better EV experience. And you aren’t hanging out at a Chevy dealership.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
10 months ago

I love these assemblage posts. One segment on reducing fuel consumption and worrying about the environment and then another on driving around in circles wasting gas. Start a little hard and then turn into near liquid shit.

The perfect Morning Dump. 😉

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago

I’m tired of all these auto execs trying to justify things with “It’s what the customers want”, bullshit. Either #1 decisions are being driven by idiots advised by people who say this & that “hot” things will last forever or #2 by people saying the overpriced EV gravy train won’t run out for a long time.

Nissan is following BMW’s auto tranny justification playbook, except using crappier slushboxes. Customers priority is quicker lap times, almost all performance cars under $100k are in the 4s 0-60, making it a tenth or two quicker stock means jack, anyone serious about track times can mod it better than stock.

Any 911 GT2/3/4 would satisfy my track needs beyond what is already owned.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

The BMW comp is apt…and a ZF8 speed this is not. Although unfortunately it seems like even the mighty ZF8 has been getting softer around the edges in recent applications. The general consensus around the new M2 is that it’s the better pairing for the car but that it’s way, way less sharp than the old DCT.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago

Yes the ZF8 is a great automatic transmission, but it should not be the only option for a company who’s longtime tag line is “Ultimate Driving Machine”. Driven or owned almost every manual/auto/smg/dct tranny over the last 30yrs, while I am a 3 pedal guy, the DCT is an acceptable option. Either they didn’t want to fund the development for Getrag to produce a DCT to handle the power the cars have had in the last 10 yrs or Porsche has an exclusive contract that they could not source them from ZF. The only reason I have not added an F90 M5 the past 5yrs is because of the automatic.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

BMW’s have been “adequate driving machines” for quite some time now. They peaked in ~MY2000 and have been riding that momentum ever since, but by now even the most rabid BMW fanboys are starting to notice they’re nothing special anymore.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

LOL, peaked in 2000ish is a little harsh. My E85 Z4M 6spd, E60 M5 V10 6spd, and F83 M4 are amazing cars. After ~2000 each model generation was going further downhill and they started to right the ship until all the recent models. Yeah I have serious concerns what their future means to me. Though the X7 is an amazing large SUV nothing even close in its class, too bad the LCI & recent changes have screwed up its legacy.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

Miata NB with Miata Italia front hood and a fastback coupe kit, converted to electric, would be an excellent track weapon and go surprisingly far on little battery. The aero efficiency is what you are after with these body modifications.

Find one where someone blew the engine up and retain the manual, or find a lower-priced automatic model and convert it to a 1-speed EV, and in either case be able to play with six-figure supercars, while using it as a daily and saving money on your commute. You could do a lot for $25k total budget, some salvaged OEM components, and some sweat equity. Possibly get a real-world 200-250 mile highway range within that budget, maybe 30-40 miles racetrack range, and the possibility of 0-60 mph in well under 4 seconds. Would likely pay for itself within a decade of commutes.

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
Jho'nuquas
Jho'nuquas
10 months ago

In the near future, I see a Torch article about cars through history that offered AWD/RWD/FWD as options. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago
Reply to  Jho'nuquas

You’ll need to wait for several years and sift through several hundred additional taillight articles first….but one day!

Data
Data
10 months ago
Reply to  Jho'nuquas

I am about 95% certain Torch did this article already on this site. I’ll let someone else dig it up.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  Data

I think I remember it because I commented that the Triumph Toledo was sold as RWD and then converted to FWD on the exact same unibody.

Data
Data
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Well either you and I are correct or we’re having a Sinbad genie movie moment.

Data
Data
10 months ago
Reply to  Data

Sinbad the Genie movie it is. I found the post I was remembering, but it was engine placement, not drive wheels.

https://www.theautopian.com/can-you-think-of-any-cars-that-switched-engine-location-on-the-same-model-theres-a-few-so-lets-talk-about-them/

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
10 months ago
Reply to  Data

I thought I remembered that too, but then the Grand Tour “ménage a trois” episode popped into my head. I definitely remember them discussing a French car that was offered as front and rear.

Charlie Lindstrom
Charlie Lindstrom
10 months ago
Reply to  Jho'nuquas

Technically the new Koenigsegg Gemera can do FWD, RWD, or AWD in various power modes. One car to rule them all!

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
10 months ago

My ideal track car would be a Caterham. Probably one of the low power ones as I don’t want to die.

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