GMC Bare Necessity Concept Is a Green Pickup Truck

GMC 'Bare Necessity' Concept Is A Green Pickup Truck

GM CEO Fritz Henderson announced this morning that the company will seek direct input and feedback in the development of future vehicles through its new website The Lab, part of GM's FastLane blogs.

"Our customers are the reason we're here," Henderson said. "It's critical to have their voices help shape our products and their experience with them. Their feedback helps us learn and evolve so we can continuously improve our cars and trucks, and our customer relationships."

First up: The midsize GMC Bare Necessity pickup that was designed as part of GM's Eco Initiative project that prioritizes the development of fuel-efficient vehicles in response to consumer worries over last year's spike in fuel prices and the end of cheap gas.


"We talked to truck owners who were taking personal responsibility for the environment," Bare Necessity designer Wade Bryant wrote at The Lab. "They were cleaning up city parks, converting their homes to solar power, taking on real projects to do their part. These projects demanded a truck. Their current trucks got less than 20 mpg. They wanted a better way to get the job done without burning so much fuel."

The Bare Necessity features a cool new trick for a truck that goes another step beyond the Chevy Avalanche's pass-through midgate. The back of the cab can flip around 180 degrees to provide either extra interior room or additional cargo space while allowing the truck to keep a short wheelbase that helps keep its weight down for better fuel economy.

"The bulkhead flips 180 degrees and reverses itself," Bryant wrote. "The cool thing is it swaps about two feet of space between the cab and the bed. This means we could remove up to two feet of length from the truck, quite an amount of length and weight. Now a truck that's the length of a short cab pickup can do the job of a crew cab truck. One person can transform the truck from two rows of seats with a very short bed to one row of seats with a medium-length bed in under one minute. We came up with several other approaches to this problem, but this one will generate the most discussion."

The Bare Necessity truck is just a design idea for now. GM is looking for you to provide feedback. The big questions are, what does doing it all with less mean to you? What do you need in a truck?


[Source: The Lab via Jalopnik]


I don't know. It looks kinda neat but I would like to see a full size version. I think they should redo the Terradyne Concept

This concept has great potential. I am a casual truck user. I haul project materials occationally and tow my 6000 pound travel trailer. The big, inefficient pickups are not optimum for my needs. A short, efficient, flexible truck like this is perfect for me. A big pickup in the city is hard to park too, so this one is much better.

My additional concern is with torque. I live in Colorado and towing my 6000 pound trailer over 10,000 to 11,000 foot passes makes my normally aspirated V8 (Tahoe) marginal. I need a turbo engine so it does not loose so much power and torque at high elevation. The new Ricardo development of an ethanol optimized flex fuel 3.2 liter turbo direct injected GM V6 would be great.

If it flips around 180 as shown in the diagrams, then what used to be the interior wall of the truck is now the exterior wall of the cargo area-- that would get dirty and scratched up. Who wants to flip that around and sit on that?

Not bad ideas BUT will new truck/car designers STOP slanting the top of the windsheild back into my forehead!!! FJ40 it and then SAAB it (old models).

I have been looking for a hybrid pickup since the last spike in gas prices last Summer. Currently the silverado is the only option, but is dissapointing due the poor mileage. I think there is a huge market for a compact light duty truck with significantly better mileage. Currently I own a Tacoma which if driven carefully gets 32 MPG HWY/22 CITY. The emissions are still of concern so a hybrid as above would be desireable.

I can imagine such a design leaking like a sieve.You would need weatherstripping all the way around and being able to rotate freely means you cannot have a raised pinchweld flange on the backside (on the body itself) that has a pressed on bulb weatherstrip.You would need a flush fitting rubber strip (like those grey ones in aluminum door thresholds at your house) that barely contacts the edge of that bulkhead.As it wears and you keep swinging it around,the leaks and wind noise would get worse.Sorta the Studebaker Wagonaire concept (lotsa leaks) all over again.

C'mon GM, build this thing! It's like the A-BAT only nicer looking and with a more innovative midgate design.

This is extremely close to what I would like for a truck.

Extremely ugy and impractical. Not a real truck. Looks like an Avalanche. If you build it, the ugly consumer reporting mofos will come.

Looks at though Jalopnik beat you to this one by a few hours, Mike. I know, who really cares, though they do have the interview video, if that's even worth anything:

On the truck, good points: mpg, footprint, ground clearance, front grill, powerplant ideas.

Bad points: almost everything else, including the "bulkhead". It's a novel idea, but I think a little too far reaching in terms of practicality, mostly due to a combination of both Rich and Paul's concerns above. I think they need to think more along the lines of the mid-gate design in the Avalanche and would-be A-BAT. Much cleaner, simpler, and more effective. As for other elements, it has the same idiotic proportions as the A-BAT. C-Pillar is not quite as bad, but the belt line is again WAY too high, making the windows too short, and it's way too swept back, ala. M. Smith's comment. I know, I know, there are those out there who say that aerodynamics go a long way towards MPG, but I'm convinced that GM could do more with the guts (drivetrain, motor, etc.) to make that happen and still have it sit upright and proper as do 70-series Toyota Land Cruisers and/or Land Rover Defenders.

Much more unfortunate in general, is that I see a common theme developing with these types of vehicle designs, where intention is good, but the overall execution is just a little too out-there to be taken seriously by the actual target market who would use the thing, or try to use it and give up because the proportions are all wrong for actual REAL USE (and good looks, for that matter, but that's preference). If they could do an Avalanche mid-gate concept in a truck the size and proportions of the Mahindra TR40, then THAT would be the game-changer, in my opinion. But a design like that for whatever reason (probably the f*cking marketing department) is just too plain-Jane it seems to ever get legs. And what a shame, because they're almost there.

Articles on GM concepts are a waste of time. GM has proven that they cannot bring a concept to market, even when the concept is inches from production and a total game changer, such as the small duramax diesel engine.

I use pickup trucks in my business and personal use. I have owned Chevy, Ford and Dodge. Besides the half tons I also run Ford Rangers and have for a long time. Some bottom line comments-
1. Don't be weird just for weird sake.
2. Don't listen to people that don't or have not used trucks.
3. Make everything functional...everything.
4. No matter how many ways you can make a bed - make it usable space - like a box - not shaped oddly - make it on the inside like a box. That is the only bed that matters.
5. Make the bed (no matter what it takes) 6'1" long at the floor. There are many reasons for that. Ask a truck user!
6. Make the tailgate strong enough to hold hundreds of pounds - again - ask truck users.
7. Give it tie downs. It has to have tie downs.
8. Make the interior functional. All of it functional with places to put things. Not iddy biddy places but large enough to hold a hand tool or large bottle or rope.
9. Make it all tough on the inside.
10. Give it a good approach and departure and vertical stance.
11. Make it easy to mod - because that will be one of the first things people will do to it.
12. Don't give it bling. Repeat.
13. Make it look like a cool small version of a real truck.

johnny/others, lots of good coments.... have you posted them at 'the lab' site? That's the best way to be sure they're heard. I've put a few things on there myself.
My main points were not to use the flip around cab rear, use an Avalanche style midgate. Flip around cab is a 'neat' idea, but impractical. Also, manual trans, AWD or 4WD are musts, and use the 2.4 and 3.0 DI engines. The 2.4 ought to churn out 30 mpg avg. in a light enough vehicle with a 6 spd manual easily. Plus, no carpet, just spray on rubber liner (like rhino lining) on the inside to keep cost and corrosion at bay, keep other trim to a minimum.

Rick is right. AWD/4WD or at least 4WD has to be an option - a real affordable option. And the the rubber liner on the floor is a must. And remember - a tough interior with holes to put stuff everywhere.

Johnny and Rick O have it right, GM must build a a no-frills practical truck for a low price and for maximum MPG. It will be the only way out of bankruptcy, not the Volt. Every model GM produces from now on should start as a basic vehicle and then progress through options to a point of luxury, even trucks. But I bet only a very few will opt for the jewel box poser truck model. The Bare Necessity concept (whose kid posed the Disney 'Jungle Book' name?) flip rear is nonsense for the reasons already stated. Every concept does indeed seem to be more pipe dream rather than dream truck. Hey, GM design crowd, DO YOU NEED INSPIRATION?? Try looking at design history, choose the most utilitarian elements, couple with cutting edge technology, delete the most expensive bits and swap flash for practical(lose the power windows for a high geared crank for example) and zowie!! you've built my idea of a truck. Max MPG mandatory via a diesel powered stick shift GVW light enough to get 35+ highway. Price it where 75% of buyer won't cringe and just walk away. GM has to do this else they'll just be a memory, trailing millions of rolling artifacts.

Hey GM, if you really want to make a retro vehicle, make a retro GMC or Chevrolet truck, down to how practical they used to be and of course the looks. This GMC Bare Necessity Concept looks horrible, and I agree with some of the previous posts saying how unpractical the converting cab idea is. A lot of people just need a good truck, not a do-it-all vehicle. Although, I'd rather see this out than the Volt.. They've already tried electric, and nobody liked it. And you still need to get the electricity from somewhere; you don't just 'plug it in' and magically power is in your car... The power plants are still coal and NG and nuclear, and more efficient then they've ever been.

It looks to me that the front end on the opening pic. is taking a page out of Ford's design book

Bare Necessity meaning two cup holder and manual everything, sounds good. The flip thing is awesome. Throw in a turbo charged diesel with mass power, 4WD, and a FM radio, I am in. People need to remember that trucks are about getting from point A to B with all your gear.

GMC - a truck/SUV brand that nobody really needs...or should I say a re-named & -designed Chevy vehicles - they should kill it instead of the Pontiac! I'm excited what will be the future of GMC...

The midgate is a bad idea. Seems cool, but after a few years it just leaks and contributes to NVH. Stuff like this bankrupted GM - novel engineering that was done to grab attention without any follow through. How is this a "Bare Necessity"? Dumb.

The head design guy should go back to Philadelphia and detail cars lat his fathers detail. He has yet to design any thing BOLD. General Motors needs new design talent BAD.
Where are guys like Harley Earl and Ed Cole.

Hmmm... I like the idea but... I see so many problems with this. It's ugly, I don't see how it would work, I can see the mechanics of it getting jammed all the time (which is a big deal for me since what I haul most of the time is mulch!) Thing I can say is work on the styling. I mean how often to we see these radical truck designs on paper? How many of them make it to the floor as a production model? None. Radical designs are not for trucks they are for sports cars. That's my opinion at least.

I agree in that the full rotation bulk-head would be crappy to sit on, expecially after dropping off your muddy 4-wheeler and having to wash/dry the bulkhead before flipping it inside to sit next to - not practical. Why not just a fancy 'rollup door' with a window in it! At least the outside would stay outside (with proper drainage if it got wet just before you had to open it).

Keep at it! Just a little more! A versitle truck into SUV is still better than failed attempte at trying it the other way around - SUV into truck!

the gm trck line needs big time change in design. you are going in the right direction. ford full dresser pick ups are over the top. great apointments. and color scremes. chev. and gmc's are bland. looks like they are 10 years behind on styling. great trucks but styling sucks. even dodge is comming close to ford. 2013 is way to late. color and style can be changed over night. give it to a hot rod, red neck racer. we can wait for big change like the 2013. but we need color now. and as for the small trucks it is a must do. gmc canyon looks great, finally. needs v/6 yesterday, and softer seats now, that is a no brainer. ok lets getter done.

I thought I'd heard that GM was thinking about coming out with a Retro truck. I was excited at such a thought. But now I am a little concerned. I'm not quite sure what GM is trying to achieve with this Bare Necessities Concept. Is it a truck? I come from the country and everyone I know use their truck for everything. What do you expect people to use this truck for? If they wanted a car, they'd by a car. Retro would be going back to the Mustang or the Chevelle. I truly believe if GM were to bring back the "retro" truck - a truck that has a cab (not extended like you're trying to make people think it's a car) with a full size bed it would do terrific. I don't know many farmers who have much use for the short (or shorter) beds that are the only size that seem to be available any longer. Give us a full size truck with a full size bed and normal cab.

Love GM, Have a vette but own a F150 due to the better looks. Always have owned a truck all makes and models to include 3 Willys Pickup. Need pickup same a F150 in looks and features but with 30+ miles per gallon. Like they say if we can put a man on the moon why can't we do other things.

Up Ford one by using all magnesium it is 1/3 lighter the tensile strength is higher than alum and tougher than steel.
Make the truck bullet proof so it lasts 20yrs
Make it look better than the 2011 gm i own now, it has enough power but make the motor smaller with the same power with turbos, direct injection.

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