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NEW YORK: General Motors launched its all-electric Chevrolet Silverado on Wednesday, formally entering a contest for the lucrative US pickup market against fellow Detroit giant Ford as well as Tesla and other electric vehicle upstarts.

Mary Barra, chief executive of the Detroit automaker, unveiled the vehicle in a virtual appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show, giving a wide-ranging keynote speech that also highlighted GM’s autonomous technology.

The GM announcement came a day after Ford said it would nearly double production capacity for the electric version of its top-selling F-150 pickup truck in the wake of soaring customer demand.

Meanwhile, Chrysler, another iconic American auto brand and the other member of Detroit’s “Big Three,” said Wednesday it plans to transition to an all-electric fleet by 2028, while its sister Ram brand pursues its own EV pickup trucks.

Electric vehicles still comprise only about three percent of new vehicle sales, but more significant offerings from Detroit’s Big Three are finally beginning to hit the market.

“The industry has been promising an EV movement for a long time, but it finally seems like it’s coming to fruition,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Insights at Edmunds.com.

“Automakers are no longer introducing quirky EVs with limited mass market appeal; they are rolling out thoughtfully designed vehicles with longer ranges as well as more trucks and SUVs.”

With lofty profit margins, pickups have been a proven cash cow for Detroit’s Big Three, with enduring appeal to consumers drawn to an elevated driving platform and an image seen as rugged or independent.

Pickup trucks also garner reliable demand from businesses such as construction and energy companies.

In 2021 the three top-selling cars in the United States were again pickups, with Ford’s F-150 followed by the Ram Pickup and the Silverado.

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