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Corvette is the next big name in cars to roll out an electric

Corvette's "electrified" model will come as early as next year, followed by a fully electric version, General Motors says.
General Motors
Corvette's "electrified" model will come as early as next year, followed by a fully electric version, General Motors says.

Updated April 26, 2022 at 3:41 PM ET

The Corvette is about to go electric.

"We will have an electrified Corvette next year, so it's coming very quick," General Motors President Mark Reuss told CNBC on Monday.

An "electrified" Corvette will be available first, with a fully electric Corvette to follow, he said. Reuss didn't go into further details, such as a precise timeline or whether "electrified" means it will be a plug-in hybrid. The traditional Corvette with internal combustion engine will remain available for sale, Reuss acknowledged.

Although GM's experience with electric vehicles goes back decades — its late-1990s EV1 was the first mass-produced electric vehicle from a major carmaker — the automaker quickly lost ground to other manufacturers.

After Toyota arguably jump-started demand for nontraditional vehicles with its wildly popular hybrid Prius line, Tesla ultimately became the reigning champion and now dominates the electric car industry. Tesla delivered over 930,000 electric vehicles in 2021, an 87% increase over the year before.

Now, GM is playing catch-up. The carmaker has said it plans to launch 30 electric vehicles globally by the end of 2025 and exclusively sell electric vehicles by the middle of the next decade, but for now its business is overwhelmingly based on the internal combustion engine.

GM sold fewer than 25,000 electric vehicles in 2021. And in the fourth quarter of 2021, GM sold only 26 EVs due to a pause in production of its Chevy Bolt line after a major recall for risk of battery fire.

Reuss says the company will compete in segments that Tesla doesn't compete in. "We are ramping up the launches," Reuss said. "Our pipeline is fully loaded, so here we come."

GM faces heavy competition, as every major carmaker looks to steal thunder from Tesla.

On Tuesday, Ford announced that its first Ford F-150 Lightnings are rolling off assembly lines and heading to customers after almost a year of anticipation about the electric version of its massively popular pickup. The Lightning has received loads of attention from customers, with 200,000 preorders before the first truck rolled off the line. Would-be owners who haven't preordered won't be able to take delivery until 2023.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").