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Electric Vehicles Are General Motors' Future

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author photo by Lindsay Martell October 2017

General Motors has a message: Its future is bright and emissions-free.

With other big-name automakers making bold predictions about a combustion-engine-less future, and states like California considering banning gas/diesel engines, GM is jumping on board, too. At a press event recently, the Detroit-based company's chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, announced that its all-electric strategy going forward includes "zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."

The Future Is Now (Sort of)

In a press release, Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of product development, purchasing and supply chain, reiterated that electric vehicles are the company's focus going forward:

"Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs."

In the next 18 months, GM will introduce two new all-electric vehicles "based off learnings" of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. They will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023. Reuss called the Bolt EV a "platform and window into the future" of EV and self driving -- a test bed for new ideas. He hails hybrids and plug-in hybrids as a "bridge to a zero-emission future."

Cutting-Edge Concepts

GM also introduced SURUS -- the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure -- a fuel-cell-powered, 4-wheel-steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame powered by a pair of electric motors. GM suggested it could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or ambulance -- or even as a power generator. It emits zero emissions and runs on hydrogen fuel cells -- another technology the company is passionate about. Within five years, GM predicts, there will be a retail fuel cell available.

At the event, the company revealed a few details of nine covered concept vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Just three were revealed to the audience: two SUV/crossovers and a multipurpose-type vehicle roughly the same size as the Bolt.

Next Steps

There is no doubt the future is electric, but time frames can be tricky.

Michelle Krebs, senior director of automotive relations for Autotrader, says General Motors has "drawn a line in the sand with its announcement that its future will be all electric."

And while GM gave some specifics on the timing of some electric and fuel-cell vehicles that will be introduced in the short term, "the automaker wisely gave no time frame for when its full line would be all electric because, frankly, no one knows how the EV future will evolve."

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Electric Vehicles Are General Motors' Future - Autotrader