General Motors to provide in-depth look at its all-electric vehicle plans in bid to convince Wall Street it can take on Tesla

Key Points
  • General Motors will use an "EV Day" as its hardest push to convince skeptics that the more than 110-year-old automaker can compete, if not thrive, against Tesla.
  • The event will be a comprehensive and unprecedented look at GM's all-electric vehicle plans.
  • It's a move, people said, substantially backed by the company's leadership team, including GM CEO Mary Barra and GM President Mark Reuss.
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announces a $300 million investment in the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles at the Orion Assembly Plant on March 22, 2019 in Lake Orion, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

General Motors this week will make its hardest push yet to convince skeptics, particularly on Wall Street, that the more than 110-year-old automaker can compete against Tesla as the auto industry pivots to all-electric vehicles.

During an "EV Day" on Wednesday, the Detroit automaker will give a comprehensive and unprecedented look at its all-electric vehicle plans as well as show attendees roughly a dozen upcoming products, according to two people familiar with the event. It is typically considered an unusual move for an automaker to show investors so many products. 

Other expected discussions include GM's next-generation EV platform, charging infrastructure and business strategy, company executives have said.

Since announcing plans to launch at least 20 new all-electric vehicles more than two years ago and committing to a "zero-emission" future, GM hasn't moved as quickly as some expected into all-electric vehicles. GM has only launched three new EVs in China since then and sales of its only all-electric car in the U.S., the Chevrolet Bolt EV, have declined for two consecutive years.

GM has announced other products such as a GMC Hummer pickup, Chevrolet crossover based on the Bolt EV and a Cadillac crossover, but that hasn't been enough to convince investors that GM should be valued like Tesla or other emerging tech/auto companies in the EV industry.

The amount of detail planned for the event was overwhelmingly supported by the company's leadership team, including GM CEO Mary Barra and GM President Mark Reuss, according to one source who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public.

"I really like our position heading in the area of electrification, and I like it for a lot of different reasons," Reuss told investors last month about the EV Day. "I think you'll be very excited about some of the things we'd go into a little more detail than I've talked about today … Again, we'll go into more of that here next month, but this is a very, very well-thought-out strategy."

More than 150 members of the media and investors are expected to be briefed about the company's EV plans during separate events Wednesday. Politicians, dealers and GM employees also are expected to attend different programs during the week.

GM CEO Mary Barra: We see an all electric future
GM CEO Mary Barra: We see an all electric future

GM, Reuss has said, plans to introduce multiple models a year in multiple markets, as demand dictates. That includes leveraging its truck expertise for a new line of all-electric trucks and SUVs such as the Hummer EV.

Credit Suisse's Dan Levy described the "EV Day" as a "key update" for GM, which he believes has an advantage over other traditional automakers regarding EVs.

In January, GM previewed a crossover that is expected to be Cadillac's first all-electric vehicle on the company' next-generation all-electric vehicle architecture.

Levy, in an investor note Monday, said that "the push to an EV world will be tough for all legacy (automakers) … including GM." He cited reducing battery pack costs, downsizing engine and transmission plants, and balancing budgets

"All the factors above challenging legacy automakers in the push to an electric world certainly apply to GM," he said. "And even though we expect GM to lay out a solid strategy at its EV day, we believe the ultimate proof-point of success in GM's EV strategy is if the volumes materialize and GM is able to challenge Tesla for share in the US EV market, as Tesla has been until now the only game in town in the US EV market."