If you’re looking for even more proof that all-electric vehicles are the way of the future, here it is — one of the world’s biggest automakers has gone all-in on them. Yesterday, GM announced that they plan to move towards producing only all-electric vehicles while gradually phasing out diesel and gas power. It’s just going to take a while.
It’s a bold statement considering that GM currently produces only one all-electric vehicle — the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback — and it’s far from a mainstream pick. That should change soon enough. As part of the announcement, GM CEO Mary Barra said that GM will add two more all-electric vehicles in the next year and a half, with the goal of having at least 20 all-electric models in production by 2023.
Of course, that’s far from getting to the point of phasing out gas and diesel power. Electric vehicles are still neither mainstream nor particularly popular, to say nothing of the millions of gas-powered vehicles that GM already sells — it’s not going to be easy to equal those sales in electric cars. Batteries also need to become both cheaper and more efficient, and there needs to be far more in the way of charging infrastructure along roads and highways. That’s probably why Barra didn’t put a hard date on GM fully leaving fossil fuels behind — it’s a far-off goal for now.
But, there’s no doubting that it’s a genuine pursuit. After all, GM aren’t the only ones — Volvo has pledged to only produce hybrids or all-electrics by 2019. The move to electric is partly a function of new EU regulations limiting gas-powered vehicles, but there seems to be increasing concern that a pair of enormous markets — China and India — will continue their recent environmental pushes and follow suit.
It’s all going to make for a very interesting next ten years in the automotive industry. Not only does it look like electric vehicles will take over, the whole concept of car ownership might be upended, forcing manufacturers to find new business models. GM is already deeply involved with Lyft, renting out the Bolt to drivers in what is possibly a bid to better monetize a car that isn’t profitable when sold to consumers. With Ford also partnering with Lyft to eventually test autonomous cars, we’re probably looking at a future of well-maintained autonomous electric cars that zoom over to you on demand — it’s just going to take a little while to get there.