GM aims to eliminate gas vehicles by 2040
General Motors announced that it "aspires" to stop selling new light-duty passenger cars and sports utility vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel by 2035.
The move comes after the company's October announcement that it would invest $2 billion to convert its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant to build electric vehicles. The retooled Spring Hill plant will be the company's third electric vehicle plant in the United States.
GM also plans to be carbon neutral in its products and operations by 2040, chief executive Mary Barra stated on LinkedIn.
"'Aspire' is a great word because it helps us work toward our vision," Dane Parker, GM's chief sustainability officer, told the Detroit Free Press. "We're taking action to have our vehicles be zero- emission by 2035. This is going to take the effort of a lot of people and a lot of governments to get there. So we have a vision, we have a plan and we're taking action today to get there."
The company aims to make its entire portfolio — including heavy-duty pickup trucks — fully electric by 2040. The move is not expected to eliminate jobs.
"As one of the world's largest automakers, we hope to set an example of responsible leadership in a world that is faced with climate change," Barra wrote.
The Detroit-based company will work to remove emissions from all of its vehicles in the next 20 years, compensating for instances where technology has not yet made that possible with carbon credits or carbon capture, according to a company release.
GM plans to spend $27 billion on electric vehicles and introduce 30 new electric vehicles by 2025.
The Cadillac Lyriq, a small electric SUV expected to debut in showrooms in late 2022, is part of this lineup. GMC's new fully-electric Hummer EV will be initially available in fall 2021.
The Cadillac Lyriq will be produced at the Spring Hill factory, in addition to other yet-to-be-announced electric vehicles. The factory — GM's largest complex in North America — will continue producing gas-powered Cadillac SUVs, according to an October statement.
GM's Orion Township and Detroit-Hamtramck plants in Michigan will also build electric vehicles.
Tennessee offered GM a $35 million economic development training grant as an incentive to upgrade the Spring Hill plant. Grant funds must be used to train 2,000 new or existing employees to work in the expansion, which is slated to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The facility currently spans 7.9 million square feet and employs about 3,400 hourly workers.
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said in October that the state aims to "become the true leader in the Southeast for advanced manufacturing of electric vehicles."
Other automakers in Tennessee have made recent strides in electric vehicle production. Volkswagen made a multi-million-dollar commitment in 2019 to bring their electric vehicle production to Chattanooga, and Nissan also produces electric vehicles in the state. Rolfe's department is "aggressively" recruiting electric vehicle part suppliers, he said.
Source: The Tennessean, by Cassandra Stephenson
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published February 11, 2021