General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) shares rose to a record high after it unveiled a self-driving electric Cadillac, offering more potential competition for Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) in future, but with the big difference that it will also be a flying car.
The self-driving vehicle is a vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) drone, so the company said it will help cut down on urban congestion on the ground.
Unveiled as part of a virtual CES annual trade show, the luxury carmaker said the all-electric vehicle will be able to travel from rooftop to rooftop at up to 55 miles per hour using a battery pack and a drone-like quartet of rotors.
GM said vertical take-off and landing was “key to GM’s vision for a multimodal future”, with the flying Cadillac said to be “arriving soon”, with few other details at this stage.
As well as this concept car, GM showcased a van-like vehicle and more details on its new electric Hummer, “the world’s first all-electric supertruck”, and a new delivery and logistics business called BrightDrop.
The earthbound van, or personal autonomous vehicle (PAV), has an open plan interior designed to enable socialising, with a massive glass roof to watch the flying cars go by and biometric scanners to make automatic adjustments to temperature and lighting based on passengers’ vital signs.
BrightDrop's first products, to be delivered this year, will be an electrified delivery van.
GM chief executive Mary Barra insisted the company, which has lost considerable ground to competitors like Tesla and is now dwarfed by Elon Musk's company in terms of market size despite still generating much larger sales, in was now “all in on electrification”.
“The inflection point for our company, and our society, has arrived,” she said, having in November announced an EV pivot that will see the company spend US$27bn by 2025 to release 30 EVs around the world (at the same time VW announced its own plans to invest around US$86bn on EV development and other new technologies over the same period).
We are all in on electrification, and our commitment to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. The inflection point for our company, and our society, has arrived. Now the question is – are you in? #GMExhibitZero https://t.co/JWWmly8F9s pic.twitter.com/dnPOBt7X39— Mary Barra (@mtbarra) January 12, 2021
With US earnings season beginning tomorrow, GM's earnings are due on February 3.
Its shares rose 6% to US$47.82 overnight, giving the company a valuation above US$68bn, compared to Tesla's US$800bn-plus after its 20% rise just since the start of 2021.
In its past full year, GM generated US$137bn in revenue from selling around 7.7mln vehicles, while last year Tesla, which reports on January 27, sold just under 0.5mln cars.