After nearly a century of building vehicles powered by fossil fuels, General Motors — one of the world’s largest automakers — announced Monday that the end of GM producing internal combustion engines is fast approaching.
The acceleration to an all-electric future will begin almost immediately, with GM releasing two new electric models next year and another 18 by 2023.
At a media event at GM’s technical campus in Warren, Mich., Monday, Mark Reuss, the company’s chief of global product development, said transition will take time, but the course has been set.
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, G.M. is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”
Reuss avoided naming the particular year that the auto giant will cease producing gas and diesel vehicles, noting that the company is too large estimate, according to USA Today.
GM finished 2016 as the world’s third-largest auto-seller, breaking previous company records with 10 million vehicles sold, the company said in a news release.
The automaker said arriving at a “zero emissions future” will require a two-pronged approach -- battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric depending vehicles.
At Monday’s event, Fast Company reported, officials unveiled three concepts for reporters: “a sporty crossover, a larger wagon or SUV and a tall, boxy pod car that looked like a people-mover for cities.”
GM also introduced a fuel cell powered, heavy-duty truck with two electric motors known as SURUS, which stands for “Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure.”
GM’s foray into the electric marketplace has already resulted in resounding success, with the Chevy Bolt being named Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year and the 2017 North American Car of the Year. The Bolt boasts a 240-mile battery range on a single charge and costs $37,500 before tax incentives. That range places the vehicle well above the Nissan Leaf (107 miles on single charge) and slightly above Tesla’s Model 3 (220 miles before incentives).
As GM commits to electric innovation, the company will compete with an increasingly crowded marketplace. In recent months, Tesla unveiled the company’s first mass market electric vehicle, joining companies like Ford, Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover, all of whom are vying for market space.
On Monday, Ford announced plans to create a group tasked with developing fully electric cars known as “Team Edison.” Sherif Marakby, Ford’s head of electrification and autonomous vehicles told Automotive News that the company is on pace to produce 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years.
“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” Marakby said. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”