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General Motors Cancels its In-Person CES Events and Unveiling of the Electric Silverado Pickup Due to Covid Concerns

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【Summary】Each year, hundreds of companies, including the world’s top automakers, travel to Las Vegas in early January for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off their latest products. One of the most anticipated CES events this year was that General Motors was scheduled to reveal its new fully electric Silverado pickup for the first time. But those plans have now been scrapped due to lingering covid concerns.

Eric Walz    Dec 24, 2021 8:50 AM PT
General Motors Cancels its In-Person CES Events and Unveiling of the Electric Silverado Pickup Due to Covid Concerns
The electric Chevy Silverado was scheduled to be unveiled at CES in Early January. It will now be a virtual event.

Each year, hundreds of companies, including the world's top automakers, travel to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off their latest products. But the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of last year's in-person events. 

This year however, was supposed to see CES bounce back and return to normal. One of the most anticipated events was that automaker General Motors was to reveal its new fully electric Silverado pickup for the first time. But those plans have now been scrapped due to lingering covid concerns. 

GM will still unveil the Silverado E electric truck as planned, but now it will debut virtually. 

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra had been scheduled to give a keynote speech at the annual conference on Jan. 5, where the electric Silverado pickup truck was to be revealed for the first time. The press conference and keynote will now be presented remotely, a GM spokesman said to Reuters.

"We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January," the U.S. automaker said in a statement to Reuters. "We are continuing with our plans on Jan. 5 to share our significant company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV."

Google's self-driving unit Waymo also announced on Thursday it will skip CES in early January.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: "After careful consideration we have decided to withhold from having a presence on the show floor of CES 2022," adding that Google would continue to "identify and support virtual opportunities."

CES has become a showcase for automakers lately, and which traditionally has drawn over 180,000 people from around the world.

Several other major companies have also decided to cancel in-person events at CES, including Facebook (now Meta), Twitter, AT&T and Amazon.com to to the spread of the omicron variant  of covid 19.

The show will go nonetheless. CES officials said the event will still be held in person from Jan. 5-8 with "strong safety measures in place," including vaccination requirements, masking and availability of COVID-19 tests. However, many people are not yet comfortable around large crowds, so actual attendance might not be as high as expected. But many virtual events will still take place, as was the case last year.

"Our mission remains to convene the industry and give those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally," CES said in a statement to Reuters. "CES 2022 will go forward as important innovations for world health and safety, mobility and solving problems will be exhibited."

Representatives at CES said they received 42 exhibitor cancellations since last Thursday, representing roughly 7% of the showfloor.

GM confirmed in April that its will offer an electric version of the popular Silverado. The announcement came just days after teasing the new Hummer EV SUV version.

The electric Silverado will go into production late next year at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The fully-electric truck will have a range of more than 400 miles on a full charge, according to GM.

GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant is currently being converted to produce only electric vehicles. Last year GM announced that the factory will be renamed "Factory Zero" to align with its corporate vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

The battery powered Silverado is expected to go on sale in early 2023 as a 2024 model, according to Automotive News.

GM's announcement of the electric Silverado earlier this year sent the company's stock price to its highest level in a decade. The automaker's stock reached $61.94 in April, the highest since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy after the 2008- 2009 recession. GM stock price is up 1.5% today at $56.91.

GM's plan to release around 30 new EVs globally by 2025 as part of its massive $35 billion investment in electric and autonomous vehicles. The automaker is aiming for 40% of its U.S. models offered to be electric by the end of 2025. 

The Hummer EV and electric Silverado mark the beginnings of that transformation.

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