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EV analyst: GM's goal to outsell Tesla by 2025 is ambitious but doable

Reporters getting a closer look at the Chevy Bolt concept.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Chevy Bolt, an electric vehicle

General Motors CEO Mary Barra says her company will overtake Tesla in electric vehicle sales by 2025.

Auto analysts say that's a big undertaking. Tesla sold about 350,000 EVs last year, and GM sold only about 25,000.

Sam Abuelsamid is a principal analyst at the research firm Guidehouse Insights, in charge of the firm's E-Mobilility Research Service.

He thinks the goal is a stretch but doable. Unlike Tesla, he said GM has been heavily investing in the entire supply chain for EVs, he says, from battery cells to battery production plants to sourcing for raw materials.

"They want to make sure they have all the pieces in place to actually support those production levels, something that Tesla hasn't really done yet," he said.

And once GM is producing a large volume of electric pickup trucks, the race will be on in earnest. Abuelsamid said GM's extensive parts and service network will be a crucial underpinning for EV pickup truck sales, especially to customers who use their trucks for work.

"Those people will not tolerate waiting weeks or months for their vehicles to be serviced," he said, "so if they can execute well - and execution is key - they potentially have a significant advantage over Tesla which has a very limited service infrastructure."

On the other hand, Abuelsamid said GM overpromised and underdelivered when it made its initial announcement in 2017 that it would have 20 EV models in the marketplace within six years. Five years later, there's still only the Bolt, the Hummer EV, and the upcoming Chevy Tracer EV. So he questions if GM will be able to execute its strategy now in order to overtake EV leader Tesla.

Abuelsamid said Ford Motor Company did a better job with essentially underpromising and overdelivering. Sales of its F-150 Lighting EV pickup and the Mach-E have been robust, although the company has been struggling meeting demand because of supply chain issues like the computer chip shortage.

Barra told the AP that GM's strategy to become an EV leader is to offer a combination of higher-profit EVs like electric pickup trucks, along with lower priced EVs that most new car buyers can afford.

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