GM has thrown down the electric gauntlet to the auto industry, announcing plans to become carbon-neutral by 2040, and to set “science-based targets” to achieve carbon neutrality.
GM worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to “develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.”
The 2035 date, which matches the timeframe set by several countries (and two US states so far) to phase out ICE vehicles, grabbed a lot of headlines, and rightly so, but by itself it isn’t as momentous as it sounds—GM’s current leadership will probably be taking it easy on their yachts long before the company would have to take any action to meet a deadline 14 years in the future.
However, GM has backed up that admittedly “aspirational” goal with some more concrete near-term action. This sounds more like it: “GM will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade and 40 percent of the company’s US models offered will be battery-electric vehicles by the end of 2025. GM is investing $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next five years, up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“More than half of GM’s capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs. And in the coming years, GM plans to offer an EV for every customer, from crossovers and SUVs to trucks and sedans.”
“The company will also continue to increase fuel efficiency of its traditional internal combustion vehicles in accordance with regional fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations.”
To address emissions from its own operations, GM plans to source 100 percent renewable energy to power its US sites by 2030, and its global sites by 2035—a five-year acceleration of the company’s previously announced goal. GM will also work with suppliers to “reduce emissions, increase transparency and source more sustainable materials” in its supply chain.
Charging infrastructure is also part of the plan: GM is “working with EVgo to triple the size of the nation’s largest public fast charging network by adding more than 2,700 new fast chargers by the end of 2025. The new fast chargers will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”
“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” said Mary Barra, GM’s Chairman and CEO. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”
“With this extraordinary step forward, GM is making it crystal-clear that taking action to eliminate pollution from all new light-duty vehicles by 2035 is an essential element of any automaker’s business plan,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “EDF and GM have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America—one where serious collaboration to achieve transportation electrification, science-based climate progress and equitably shared economic opportunity can move our nation forward.”