We’d all love for electric vehicles to be affordable. The facts are, that the battery supply chain is very limited, inflation is running at modern highs, and the hangover shortage from COVID lockdowns coupled with union strikes are dragging out the shortages the industry has struggled with for years. So why in the world would any respectable news outlet report that a new compact EV crossover would “start at $30K?” The reason is that General Motors, a public company that we all assume cannot provide false data due to SEC and other laws, told them it would. For some reason, self-respecting media members believed what seemed like a crazy promise. Or they did not belive it, and they reported it anyway.
Just because an automaker pretends its products are more affordable than they are doesn’t mean that every media outlet has to immediately rush to post up questionable statements, right? Well, apparently, we must. I held off. Despite being a huge fan of the Bolt line of battery electric vehicles, my engineering background and my decade of reporting on electric vehicles gave me pause. How and why would GM sell a Bolt replacement for “around $30K?” How could GM drop its cost so low? If GM did find a way, why leave money on the table? EVs of this type start around $40K right now. Remember, this is a newer, larger EV than the Bolt. Why would GM sell it for so little? And why “Start” at such a low price point? Why not “Start" with a high-level trim costing far more, since wealthy early adopter EVangelists snatch them up and have for a long time been paying markups over MSRP? None of what GM posted in its press release made sense to me, even though I wished it to be true.
Reports today re-posted by GM management say that General Motors had a conference call with some automotive media outlets. Let us guess - it was the ones who breathlessly reported the imaginary $30K Equinox “starting price.” And told them that the starting price was not going to be $30K, but rather $48,995. Oops. Oh, but GM is planning to sell a $34,995 version "later." Maybe. We promise. Check is in the mail. All that jazz. For the record, $34,995 is not “Around $30K” either. It’s “Around $35K.”
I wasn’t on the conference call. And GM has not updated its website with this information yet. If the whole thing is incorrect or poorly reported by the media who help automakers pretend EVs are more affordable than they are, it would not surprise me.
So, which media outlets reported that GM would sell a compact crossover battery electric vehicle in 2023 that would cost “Around $30K?” Here is a quick partial list with links.
Edmunds was one of the media outlets that reported that the Equinox would “Start at $30K.” Today, the company posted an update saying, “We're not thrilled that plans for a roughly $30,000 Equinox EV have been axed, but range of 300 miles-plus is a pretty strong selling point.” Now, for the record, Edmunds didn’t just report that the Equinox would “start at around $30K,” the company listed the Equinox as one of its “Best Electric Cars Under $30K Available in 2023.” So, not only is the Equinox EV Not "Under $30K," GM clarified today that it is not going on sale until early 2024.
I’m really hoping this story doesn’t age well, that inflation reverses course, and that GM changes its mind and actually sells a compact crossover BEV for $30K as it promised to. But I have no evidence to think that will be the case. I also have no evidence to suggest that the mainstream automotive media wants to report the truth about EVs.
Update. 2:30 PM Day of Publication
General Motors' Kellie Van Maele, Senior Manager, Chevrolet Communications, reached out directly to Torque News to make clarifications after this story was posted. We exchanged some Q&As for clarity. Here is part of that communication. The questions and answers are unedited.
TN Question to GM: When the new Equinox first goes on sale, when orders initially open, what trim or trims will be available on that first day, and what will the prices be? Please make clear if destination and delivery charges are included or not included.
GM: As we have done with recent EV launches, we will launch with two Equinox EV well-contented launch models – a 2RS FWD ($48,995) and a 2RS AWD ($52,395). They will be available early next year. Destination Freight Charge (DFC) is included, but federal tax credits are excluded in these prices listed.
TN: Is GM presently offering (today, at this time) the entry-level model with a price of $34,995 that you mentioned above? If so, how can a consumer buy one today? If it is not possible to purchase one today, when can a consumer expect the entry-level model to be delivered?
GM: Equinox EV goes on sale early next year, starting with the 2RS launch models.
TN: What Equinox trim from GM is expected to be the first new Equinox built/delivered, and what will its price be, including destination and delivery charges?
Based on our understanding, the Equinox EV will start off as a very expensive trim and be on sale for a period of time. Therefore, the starting price point this story makes is correct. Later, GM says that it plans to add a lower trim level. The plan is for that follow-on, lower trim level to be priced at $34,995. We hope that our readers clearly understand this. When the Equinox EV begins to be delivered in 2024, we will update our readers with more facts.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.
Image courtesy of General Motors media page