General Motors is working on an affordable, two-door electric ute.
Seen by Automotive News at GM’s design studio in Warren, Michigan, the ute appears to be smaller than the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, dual-cab unibody utes measuring between 4.9m and 5.1m long.
The mystery ute has a tub measuring 4- to 4.5 feet (1219mm to 1371mm) long and a low roofline. For reference, a Maverick has a 1381mm tub, while a Santa Cruz’s measures 1323mm.
It would reportedly be part of a range of affordable EVs priced under US$30,000 (A$43,316).
Chevrolet will introduce the mid-sized Equinox EV crossover on its Ultium architecture this year with a base price around US$30,000. It will join the Bolt and Bolt EUV, which open at US$26,500 and $27,800, respectively (A$38,256 and $40,132).
GM hasn’t released any images of the model or indicated when it will enter production.
It also hasn’t indicated what brand it will be sold under, though either Chevrolet or GMC seem the obvious choice.
Marketing images seen by Automotive News show the ute being used for recreational activities such as surfing.
“We’re creating these to get a reaction and then to try to modify it or move on. What does work? What doesn’t work? What’s expected?” said Michael Pevovar, director of Chevrolet affordable EV and crossover design.
“Affordability is the key portion of this, and there’s lots of different ways to approach it.
“The input may come back that it’s just too small, and that’s OK. Maybe [it won’t be] right for what this architecture can provide, but does it have legs for different architecture where it might need to be a little bigger?”
GM has already introduced an electric pickup, the GMC Hummer EV. It will launch two more full-sized models, the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV, with deliveries beginning this year and next, respectively.
It’s unclear whether the ute shown to media was front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, though the mention of a “low roofline” suggests it has a more car-like appearance than the Colorado and Canyon.
In their latest generation, the Colorado/Canyon cousins are no longer available in two-door guise, with buyers typically gravitating towards dual-cab utes.
The body style is more popular in Latin America, with markets like Mexico offering single-cab versions of the Chevrolet S10 Max – a rebadged LDV T60.
The last car-based utes sold by GM in the US were the Chevrolet El Camino and GMC Caballero twins that left production in 1987, but this format also lived on in Latin America.
The Chevrolet Montana/Tornado was based on the Opel Corsa/Holden Barina and later the Chevrolet Agile hatch, and came exclusively with two doors.
A new generation was revealed in December 2022, moving to GM’s Global Emerging Markets (GEM) underpinnings and adding two extra doors in the process.