What’s in a name, a fairly well-known writer once asked, adding “That which we call General Motors, by any other name – like Ultium – would sound as sweet ….”
Perhaps William Shakespeare would have waxed poetically about GM and its much-ballyhooed electric vehicle business – or maybe not – however, there does seem to be a push for the company to try to raise its battery-electric profile, and ideally its stock price with it.
During the company’s earnings call with analysts today, Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, asked CEO Mary Barra about the impact, or lack thereof in terms of the stock price, of potentially changing the company’s name.
“Why not just change the name of the company?” he asked. “The General Motors brand has done its job, but I’m wondering if it might not be out of touch with some of the really interesting directions your taking the business. Why not call the company Ultium?”
The suggestion comes despite Fiat Chrysler and PSA, which are the process of merging, getting a less-than-positive reaction to its new corporate name, Stellantis, a couple weeks back.
Ultium is the name of the automaker’s new electric battery technology that is supposed to help propel it to the top of the EV heap. But Jonas’ contention is that despite it producing cutting edge technology is still seen by millions as a stodgy old car maker, and by extension, getting dusted on its stock price, especially by Tesla Inc., but he also mentioned EV truck and ute maker Rivian “and they haven’t even built a vehicle yet.”
Barra noted the company’s executives had put some brain power to the issue, trying to find ways to put a little shine on the GM logo due to its technical prowess. She that even a name change would be a possibility, however small, but it needs to make sense.
“When I look at a name change, and we’re going to make any changes necessary to drive the shareholder value because I still strongly believe in the technology and our future product plans as it relates to electrification, so that’s something we evaluate and look at when’s the right time and what are the proof points that everybody looks at” to take any type of massive action like a name change.
She also noted that in order to close “the gap” between GM and the highly valued electric vehicle makers and their impressive market caps, which she believes “validates” their current strategy, she said the company essentially needed to keep doing more of what it’s already doing.
“We’ve got to keep telling our story,” she said. “We’ve got to deliver, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.” Barra quickly pointed to the Cadillac Lyriq, which will get its full debut next week and is “one of the highest clinicking vehicles I’ve seen in my 40-year career.”
She also pointed out that the company’s new battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, began “putting up steel today.” The plant, which will produce batteries, is part of a joint venture with battery maker LG Chem, called Ultium Cells LLC.
The company is designed to get GM’s batteries to market sooner, and Barra believes that once Hummer production starts the cost of those batteries will drop below $100 per kilowatt hour, helping make EVs more affordable — or GM more profitable.
“We are excited about the progress that our team has made, and we look forward to the finished product – a nearly 3 million square-foot plant,” said Ken Morris, Vice President of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs, in a statement. “Our joint venture with LG Chem will allow us to produce advanced battery cells in Lordstown, with the goal of reducing battery costs to accelerate EV adoption and ultimately benefit customers.”
Barra said until then, it’s essentially nose to the grindstone, “We’re just going to keep delivering and demonstrate that we have products that people want to buy.”
See 2021 Cadillac Escalade Get Driven With Blocked Windshield
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade test units are out and about, and first drives have already been orchestrated. A handful of journalists and YouTubers have started pouring out content about the full-size luxury SUV. That includes us with our Escalade First Drive Review.
The Fast Lane, however, took a different route and made videos that are out of the ordinary. We’ve seen the channel do some off-roading with the Escalade, something owners won’t probably do when they get their hands on one.
This time, The Fast Lane Truck does a review with the Escalade’s bevy of tech toys. And as crazy as you would expect from the channel, the folks there tried to drive the SUV with a blocked windshield and front windows. How? By using the Escalade’s VR function displayed on the instrument panel. The resulting video was bonkers, which you can watch on top of this page.
Speaking of, the driver was able to go around the course without issues, twice even, and you can see in the video that he even reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) before coming to a halt.
Before you raise your pitchforks, let us all be reminded that TFL Trucks did the test on a close course, so the test looked safe. Although as expected, both the driver and his passenger felt queasy after the virtual drive. But overall, at least now we know that you can still drive the new Escalade even if your windshield got broken – so as long as the front camera’s intact.
See the full crazy test on video and let us know what you think through the comments section below.
Fancy Acer Book RS By Porsche Design Comes With Carbon Fiber Cover
Porsche RS models are revered for their performance both on and off the race track, as they are admired for their flurry of carbon fiber materials. Porsche Design is back with another collaboration to showcase its styling prowess – this time it’s with Acer and its latest laptop.
Named the Porsche Design Acer Book RS, this fancy laptop signifies a new partnership between the two brands, something that fuses Porsche Design’s functional design philosophy and engineering mindset with Acer’s technological innovations and deep-rooted knowledge in the global computer segment.
The high-end notebook comes with a minimalist design, but a closer inspection reveals a 3k carbon fiber cover, striking a contrast against the diamond-cut CNC-machined chassis. With the use of this lightweight material normally used for race cars, the entire Acer Book RS only weighs 2.76 pounds (1.25 kilograms) while only measuring 0.63 inches (15.99 millimeters) thin.
Underneath the classy body, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is equipped with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics and optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce®MX350 GPUs and 16 GB of RAM. The 14-inch FHD IPS3 touchscreen is covered with a layer of Antimicrobial4 Corning Gorilla Glass with an immersive 90% screen-to-body ratio.
The Porsche Design Acer Book RS will be available in North America with a starting price of $1,399.99. A premium package, which comes with equally great-looking accessories such as premium package i7 notebook, travel pack, and mouse, will be priced at $1,999.99. This chic Acer laptop will also be available in Europe and in China.
This isn’t the first time that Porsche designed a gadget. Back in 2018, a Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS came into fruition, which had a price tag that started at $1,800.
GMC Hummer EV’s WTF Mode Does A Weird Song And Dance Before Launching
First thing’s first. What the heck is Watts to Freedom? In short, it’s the GMC Hummer EV version of Tesla’s Ludicrous Plus launch mode, both in function and in its gimmicky nature. What does that mean? Ludicrous refers to Ludicrous speed from the classic 1987 Sci-Fi spoof Spaceballs. Meanwhile, the acronym for GMC’s Watts To Freedom is WTF, and we’re sure you know what else that stands for. But wait, there’s more
Engage WTF mode in the recently revealed GMC Hummer EV, and you won’t just launch to 60 mph in three seconds. For starters, the truck will hunker down a couple of inches before putting its GM-estimated 1,000 horsepower (735 kilowatts) to the ground. That’s a functional component of going fast, but less functional are the sounds that emanate from the Hummer EV’s speakers and animations that pop up on its digital screens.
GMC doesn’t offer a specific description of what this means, but the B-roll footage below takes us through the process starting at the 28-second mark. Once activated, a low-pitch humming sound reverberates through the speakers, and a snazzy animation on the main screen morphs to a third-person view of a Hummer EV poised on a space-themed runway. Meanwhile, the dash displays “Watts To Freedom” with stars and bars, along with a message that advises “repeated usage will cause accelerated wear on vehicle.” The driver can choose cancel or let’s go, which isn’t quite as catchy as I want my mommy or bring it on but hey, you get the point.
Selecting let’s go puts the system into motion. The truck lowers (which is also shown on the instrument display) and the driver is eventually prompted to press the brake and accelerator. This is the interactive part, as the driver must brake hard enough to get the all-important green checkmark to then floor it, all while the sound increases in both intensity and annoyance.
With the pedals mashed and the Hummer EV ready, release the brake and it’s off to the races. Presumably, drivers will be concentrating on the road while sprinting to 60 mph, so they won’t see the mini starfield flashing on the digital instrument board next to the speed readout. However, everyone will hear what sounds like the USS Enterprise going to warp speed through the speakers. At least it’s more pleasant than the low-resonance buzzing that starts it all off.
Is the GMC Hummer EV fast? Yes, it certainly is. However, experiencing all the pomp and circumstance that’s not at all similar to Tesla’s various quirky Easter eggs could easily be considered gimmicky in the best of circumstances. We’re at least curious to try it all in person as opposed to seeing a close-up on a video, but we suspect these aspects of WTF Mode might have more than a few people asking WTF GMC was thinking with all this.
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