I know, I know, roll your eyes when you hear about EV development at the big 3, but like it or not, the current sales volumes of EV’s amount to little more than a hugely successful science project. This will change when the GM’s, Mercedes and Toyota’s of the world dig in and so someone at GM has to be in this list.
Here is our two minute biography brief bio of Mary Barra
Originally we thought of Mark Reuss, President of GM or Doug Parks who as VP of EV’s and was responsible for delivering Super Cruise (Cadillac’s autonomous driving solution), overseeing the engineering of the Cruise AV which is still in development, and more relevant for this discussion, he lead the Chevy Volt and Bolt EV teams.
However, Mike DZ on ChevyBolt.org correctly points out that “Remember, GM is not Tesla or Apple” meaning that GM has “Lots of staff and consultants collect info on this and synthesize into recommendations that include business cases. Echelons of decision makers put their own twists on the info and it gets to the senior level.”
All of this gets down to Mary Barra who has placed the key EV staff, taken mic and driven the PowerPoints explaining that Cadillac will be a completely electric brand, the development of the BEV3 platform with worlds first sub $100 / KWh Ultium batteries and just increased GM’s R&D spending on EV’s to a whopping $27 billion by 2025 which will bring 30 new EV’s to market. 2025 is when most analysts think EV’s will be mass market ready with chargers located everywhere like gas stations are today and product that offers the same range and initial price as gas powered vehicles.
She is MotorTrends #19 on their 2021 Powerlist and give her credit for both prioritizing R&D for electric pickups and SUV’s as well as the the factories to produce them.
In January 2021 at the CES show, Mara Barra announced GM will be pouring $1 billion dollars in CAMI, GM’s Japanese style production plant in Ingersol Ontario to produce electric delivery trucks for companies like FedEx that have already placed orders. BrightDrop is GM’s first new brand since their 2008 bankruptcy. She even revealed a new GM logo to be used exclusively on EV’s that is intended to look like a plug. That is GM’s first revision in 56 years.
While it will take more than slick graphics to change the General, Mara Barra is showing leadership to transform the company into an electric vehicle powerhouse by 2025, which is about the time consumers will be ready to starting buying EV’s en-masse.
Love or hate GM, they are going to be a player and Barra is going to be the driving force of EV’s from what was the worlds largest automobile company.