GM Plans Two Additional Electric Vehicles for U.S. Market --Update
By Mike Colias
General Motors Co. plans to introduce two more electric vehicles in the U.S. within 18 months and 20 globally within six years, the latest auto maker to forge ahead on EV technology despite uncertain consumer demand.
GM said it would use the underpinnings of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, introduced in the U.S. late last year, to offer two more EVs in its home market, declining to discuss details of the new models. The company also said it has developed a next-generation battery system that will allow for greater flexibility in EV sizes and body styles in coming years.
Auto makers are ramping up electrification plans amid mounting pressure from regulators across the globe to begin phasing out fossil-fuel-based vehicles. China, France and other countries have floated outright bans on gas or diesel cars in coming decades.
Mark Reuss, GM's product-development chief, said the auto maker will continue to offer a range of alternatives for consumers, including hybrid systems and gas and diesel engines during what it expected to be a long transition to a predominantly electric future.
"General Motors believes the future is all-electric," Mr. Reuss told reporters Monday at GM's design center in suburban Detroit.
Separately, Ford Motor Co. on Monday said it has formed a new team to help direct the $4.5 billion the auto maker plans to spend on electric-vehicle development over the next four years. The Detroit-based group, named "Team Edison," will explore partnerships with suppliers and other companies, the company said.
GM, the nation's largest auto maker, also said it would do more to expand the availability of charging stations to help spur consumer demand for EVs but didn't peg an investment amount or disclose specific plans. A dearth of charging infrastructure is seen as a major hurdle to broader acceptance of the technology.
Electric vehicles account for less than 1% of total U.S. sales and are a sliver of the nearly 90 million sold globally. EV market share is expected rise as more models hit the market with longer ranges, better features and, eventually, lower prices. But analysts predict it will take nearly a decade for the cost of EVs to drop into the same ballpark as gas-powered cars.