General Motors claimed that it is “all-in on electric vehicles” for years, but today, CEO Mary Barra confirmed that the automaker is changing strategy and going back to plug-in hybrids amid setback in its electric car plans.
In 2019, GM killed the Chevy Volt, its popular plug-in hybrid vehicle and announced plans to focus on all-electric vehicles.
It continued selling some plung-in hybrids in other markets, but not in North America, which it saw going all-electric.
The automaker was expected to ride the sucess of the Chevy Bolt EV, its first all-electric vehicle, but it has had issues executing on its plan.
GM built its new Ultium EV platform, but the first few EVs it launched using the platform have yet to achieve signifcant production and delivery volumes while the Bolt EV/EUV, the only one with significant volumes, have been retired – for now at least.
Over the last few months, the automaker announced delays of several of its important new EV programs that should bring more volumes.
Now, CEO Mary Barra is even announcing that GM plans to bring back plug-in hybrid options. She announced on GM’s latest earnings call today:
Our forward plans include bringing our plug-in hybrid technology to select vehicles in North America. Let me be clear, GM remains committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from our light-duty vehicles by 2035. But in the interim, deploying plug-in technology in strategic segments will deliver some of the environmental benefits of EVs as the nation continues to build its charging infrastructure. We are timing the launches to help us comply with the more stringent fuel economy and tailpipe emission standards that are being proposed.
She didn’t elaborate on the plan in terms of volumes or specific model to receive a plug-in option, but her comment about the technology existing on specific programs in other markets, especially China, could point to using the same models.
Top comment by Grant
PHEVs are great if you charge them and have a short commute. Maybe Americans who are nervous about range will use these until they are comfortable with EVs. But I’m still disappointed in GM.
I think this is a stepback for GM. I don’t have anything against PHEVs perse, but they do feel like a transitional technology until BEVs work for every segment of the market, which seems to be almost the case already.
Other automakers, like Tesla, have undoubtedly found ways to make all-electric vehicles viable in volume profitably.
GM is not there yet and they feel the need to go back to plug-in hybrids as their BEV programs or delayed otherwise they will face fines as emission standards increase in North America.
It makes sense, but I hope they don’t further delay their BEV plans because of it.
Author: Fred Lambert