GM’s Barra Says EV Switch Will Take Decades
Don’t expect to see piston-powered cars to disappear from American new-car showrooms anytime soon.
Yes, it will happen. But a complete changeover isn’t likely until sometime in the 2040s, General Motors CEO Mary Barra tells Bloomberg Television.
GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric sedan (Images: GM)
GM’s own timetable reflects the company’s caution about getting too far ahead of the curve of public acceptance for all-electric vehicles. On the global stage, GM is likely to be more aggressive in EV-friendly China than in the U.S., where conventional pickup trucks reign supreme.
In the American market, the company currently offers just one all-electric car, the Chevrolet Bolt. At least 20 more all-electric or plug-in hybrid models will follow worldwide by about 2023.
GM has said that it hopes to reach a global EV sales rate of 1 million units per year by about 2025.
New Platform, New Battery
Most of GM’s upcoming electrics will ride on the company’s new BEV3 platform, which can accommodate a wide range of body styles and powertrain layouts.
Many of the new models will be powered by the extended-performance Ultium modular battery system GM is co-developing with LG Chem. The two companies plan to open a $2.3 billion battery factory near Lordstown, Ohio, by the end of 2022. The launch date gives you a good indication of when GM expects its EV sales will surge in the U.S.
GM Cruise Automation’s Cruise driverless shuttle
A big share of the carmaker’s EV fleet will come out of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant GM is converting for electric vehicles only. The facility’s $2.2 billion overhaul will led to production next year of the all- electric GMC Hummer pickup truck and the Origin, a driverless shuttle for GM’s Cruise Automation affiliate.
Other EVs due in 2021 and beyond include the Bolt EUV crossover, Cadillac Lyriq small crossover, Celestiq luxury sedan, and a pair of midsize crossovers for Buick and Chevrolet.
GM’s EV timetable for the U.S. is notably more leisurely than, say, Volkswagen’s gung-ho plans to electrify its fleet in Europe.
But don’t think for a minute that end goal for each company is different. When it comes to EVs, pacing among carmakers is driven by regional regulations and market dynamics. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
As Barra put it earlier this year, “We want to put everyone in an EV.” Eventually.
Mercedes has been putting diesels in vehicles since 1926. It has been offering them in the U.S. since 1949. And 2013 is seeing a range of offerings, including in its popular GLK SUV.
The engineers at Munro & Associates have taken a perfectly sound BMW i3 and taken it apart. Completely apart. And they are impressed with what they’ve discovered about how the EV is engineered.
Honda is an engine company.