A battery-powered Hummer pickup truck. Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co., loved the idea from the moment she heard it. What better way to assure skeptical buyers that the company’s coming raft of electric vehicles won’t be just geeky science projects, GM President Mark Reuss’s team had argued, than by rolling out a “green” version of one of its most badass nameplates?
At a meeting in March 2019, Barra quickly asked chief engineer Josh Tavel how much time it would take to get the electric Hummer out the door. The usual four years, he responded. That was big carmakers’ age-old gestation period for getting a new model from a designer’s sketch pad to dealer showrooms. But it wouldn’t do for Barra, who’s decided to make battery power the core of the company’s strategy. “I’m thinking 2021,” she said.