This article was originally published by Michael Coates on Clean the fleet report, a publication that provides readers with the information they need to switch to the best fuel economy cars and trucks, including electric cars, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and advanced diesel and gasoline engines.
General Motors announced a number of environmental commitments on Thursday, including a pledge to reduce the tailpipe emissions of its light commercial vehicles by 2035, be carbon neutral in all global products and operations by 2050, and sign the Business Ambition Pledge to 1.5 ° C.
The change of government in Washington, DC seems to have accelerated the EV moves promoted by GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra in recent years. They are now joining several other major automakers on the promise of both zero-emission vehicles and less-carbon operations.
“General Motors works with governments and businesses around the world to create a safer, greener and better world,” said Barra. In a LinkedIn post, she added that GM’s carbon footprint is mainly due to the tailpipe emissions of vehicles manufactured by GM. Therefore, accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles is critical. She also said GM would work with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a “shared vision” of this all-electric future.[Read: How much does it cost to buy, own, and run an EV? It’s not as much as you think]
The company has pushed its goal of using all systems 100% with renewable energy to five years. The US institutions now aim to achieve this goal by 2030, and the worldwide institutions aim for 2035. GM will also work with its suppliers to initiate sustainable practices in the supply chain to reduce environmental impact throughout the production cycle of future electric vehicles.
GM’s EV future is built on the Ultium platform
The move towards carbon neutrality will include a “preference” for eliminating emissions rather than using carbon credits or carbon capture. She also said, “It is critical that we improve the fuel efficiency of the gas and diesel vehicles that many people still rely on” to fill the gap with electric vehicles. The company is also working to “improve access to renewable energy charges” and promises a full range of electric vehicles, spearheaded by its GMC Hummer EV Pickup and Cadillac Lyriq Crossover, both due in 2021-2022.
This was the same company that teamed with the Trump administration four years ago to question the state of California’s move to raise fuel economy standards for internal combustion vehicles and its mandate to sell all new car sales as electric vehicles in 2035. This is a big mindset change for a company that sells less than 21,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs totaled more than 2.5 million vehicles sold in 2020.
The stable course from Ford and others
In contrast to GM’s mixed messages (opposed to California initiatives while continuing to fuel its EV ambitions), city rival Ford has been steadfast on a similarly aggressive, if less dramatic, path to electrification. Ford is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. Along with Volkswagen, BMW, Honda, and Volvo, it also supported California’s fight against the previous government on fuel efficiency. The company has a heavily advertised hybrid version of its best-selling F-150 pickup, although it continues its lightweight construction strategy to improve fuel economy. In addition, Ford has a number of innovative materials initiatives to increase sustainability. The company introduces its first serious EV Mustang Mach-E – this year and plans to develop commercial electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electrics for personal use.
All new electric vehicles must be obliged to charge
Volkswagen, a global company of similar size to General Motors, has touted its EV path as a message of the company’s commitment (or possibly repayment after the diesel emissions fraud scandal). It has mass market electric vehicles for sale and leads in Europe and China ID.4 crossover in the US this year. The company has lofty plans with dozens of electric vehicles expected from its various businesses this decade – Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, as well as its commercial vehicles. Volkswagen had promised to bring 70 new electric models onto the market worldwide by 2028 and hopes to have annual sales in the range of 15 to 22 million by that year.
Nissan, which led the US market in 2010 with its all-electric Leaf, will introduce its second EV this year – the Ariya Crossover. It has also committed to being climate neutral by 2050.
Volvo made an early commitment to electrifying all of its passenger cars, although it quickly became clear that the company’s promise covered technologies that ranged from mild hybrids to all-electric vehicles.
The Hyundai Group predicts that by 2025 there will be 44 “environmentally friendly” vehicles on the market. Likewise, Toyota is largely focused on corporate carbon dioxide Reduction, including vehicle electrification and assessment of the entire life cycle of a vehicle to strengthen sustainability and lower emissions.
And then there is Tesla
Naturally, Tesla only produces electric vehicles and therefore does not fall under this transition discussion. It is worth noting, however, that the company shipped nearly 500,000 vehicles worldwide in 2020 (about half of them in the US) and is recognized as the clear leader in the production and sale of electric vehicles. With sky-high stock valuation and easy access to capital, it should be able to keep pushing its goals of steadily increasing production.
Tesla remains the benchmark; While others talk about EV goals, Tesla just keeps selling its growing lineup
Other companies have also announced different numbers of future electric vehicles and broader corporate commitments to be carbon neutral. With the new regime in Washington, DC, and the ongoing regulatory bottlenecks in the EU and China, auto companies are clearly responding to market drivers, even though electric vehicle sales in the US remain low
In conclusion, GM has been clamoring to get to the fore of environmentally conscious and dedicated auto companies. The announcement – all OEM announcements – is great. Now we wait until we see and drive the new EVs and FCEVs that signal the fulfillment of the promises. When the cars show up and find a market, we can measure exactly what those commitments mean.
You can follow Clean Fleet Report on Twitter and Facebook.
SHIFT is brought to you by Polestar. It’s time to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility. That’s why Polestar combines electric driving with state-of-the-art design and exciting performance. Find out how.
Published on February 4, 2021 – 18:00 UTC