The first two could arrive within the next 18 months.
General Motors may not be ready to put traditional internal-combustion vehicles on notice, as some automobile makers have effectively done,however, it is announcing a major commitment to electric vehicles. Over the next 18 months, GM is set to introduce two new all-electric vehicles that it said are “based off learnings from Chevrolet Bolt EV.” And those will actually be the first two of at least 20 EVs to be launched by 2023, the company announced.
In the remarkably terse press release accompanying the announcement, there is no further deadline and there are no market specifics. GM spokesman Kevin Kelly clarified that this is a global plan—potentially meaning that some of the electric cars won’t be U.S.-market offerings. A bulk of the effort may be targeted at the China market, which set some especially strong rules last month needing a certain percentage of fully electric vehicles.
The automobile producer also outlined that it plans to take a two-pronged approach to electrification—meaning that batteries or fuel cells could power its EVs. It teased a wide range of electric cars currently in development, including several utility cars—all under cover—although it did give a closer look at what it called the SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure), an electric vehicle riding on a heavy-duty truck frame and propelled by a fuel-cell stack.
Earlier this year, Ford put out intentions to introduce 13 electrified models by 2020; among them are some hybrids and plug-in hybrids—like Ford Mustang and F-150 hybrid versions and plug-in hybrid SUV—as well as fully electric vehicles developed by a new Team Edison Project within the company.
If it sounds as though the seas have parted and all of the old guard in Detroit is now on board with electric cars, there is one definite holdout. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, in recent remarks to Bloomberg, made it clear he remains pessimistic about EVs as viable and profitable in the near term. Building EVs profitably, however, could show the key to succeeding, as they are expected to become the majority of the-vehicle market by 2040.