Automakers are looking to break through with vehicles aimed at the general public

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As automakers launch new electric models with increasing frequency, prices become more competitive and market share for electric vehicles grows, Chevrolet chief marketing officer Steve Majoros believes electric vehicles have overtaken the niche product stage.

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“Absolutely (electric vehicles are coming out of their little niche),” Majoros said. “Just look at the rate at which they are adopted.

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“People are going to buy internal combustion engines for a while. It’s how quickly we stay aligned with the rate at which EV adoption is happening. »

According to S&P Global, formerly known as IHS Markit, the total market share in Canada for zero-emission vehicles increased to 7.9% in the first half of 2022, compared to 5.2% during the same period. in 2021.

Sales of electric vehicles in the United States also increased by 66.4% in the first half of 2022 compared to the previous year.

“As you see more and more people talking about electric vehicles, normalizing electric vehicles, you see more products, you see neighbors or a friend (driving them) and you see more charging stations,” said Majoros. “There is just a greater sensitivity to it.

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“The trick now is how do you capitalize on that interest?”

Steve Majoros, Vice President of Chevrolet Marketing, speaks to the media during Chevy's press conference at the 2022 North American International Auto Show on September 14, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.
Steve Majoros, Vice President of Chevrolet Marketing, speaks to the media during Chevy’s press conference at the 2022 North American International Auto Show on September 14, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Bill Pugliano /Getty Images

Majoros said as automakers release more models and offer lower prices, they reduce the sense that electric vehicles aren’t for the mainstream buyer.

Unlike Europe, where EVs come in smaller, more affordable models, North Americans saw the first wave of EVs contain mostly luxury offerings.

“It’s a lifestyle choice,” Majoros said of the industry’s direction. “It’s for everyone.

“It’s not about ICE (internal combustion engine) versus EV, coastal versus urban, whatever you want to say.

“The work we are proposing is very optimistic.”

General Motors has taken a step forward in an attempt to reach the mass market with the unveiling of an all-electric Equinox SUV this month. The vehicle will have a starting price of US$30,000

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“People would say, ‘I would have been more on EVs, but that seemed out of reach or maybe it was in a segment that wasn’t for me,'” Majoros said.

“That’s changing right now with products like this (Equinox) and the segments we’re in and the education efforts we’re doing.”

Majoros said GM has also been specific about its naming strategy in trying to create a comfort level with its customer base. Getting consumers to look at a new powertrain system was pretty exotic.

“If you can tell people that you can live this electric lifestyle with a product that starts at around $30,000, that gives them an immediate frame of reference,” Majoros said.

“The other thing we’ve done strategically is we’ve called it Equinox and Blazer and Silverado because we want people to feel like these are products and brands that you know and you know. can trust from us.

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“They’re just a different propulsion system, a different design language.”

Majoros said he doesn’t expect the market to change in terms of the most popular vehicle types and sizes in North America, regardless of propulsion system.

“Customers have spoken,” Majoros said. “They want SUVs and they want trucks.”

Along with the growing selection of models available, Majoros said the other factor determining the pace of adoption of electric cars is infrastructure. Automakers and governments are spending billions to build more public charging stations, and GM launched a home charging program in 2021.

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The company covers the cost of standard installation of a Level 2 (240-volt) charging outlet for eligible customers who purchase or lease a new electric vehicle.

“One of the big things we’ve learned from selling over 150,000 electric vehicles is that the majority of charging takes place in two places – at home or at work,” Majoros said.

“Of course the national infrastructure is important, but people need to know that I can live with the product every day. Our home installation project was probably a game-changer.

Compared to 2020, GM’s electric vehicle sales more than doubled to 516,600 in 2021.

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