General Motors is rapidly accelerating its electrification plans. The largest U.S. automaker aims to eliminate internal-combustion powertrains from all of its light-duty models by 2035—meaning the Chevrolet Corvette and GM’s bestselling pickup trucks could go all-electric.
GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed that goal in a LinkedIn post Thursday. It follows a previous announcement that GM would launch 30 new all-electric models by 2025, and spend $27 billion on electrification.
As part of a plan to go carbon neutral by 2040, Barra said it is an “aspiration” of the company to “eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.” She also said, “Where removing emissions is not possible—for example if the technology does not yet exist in those timeframes—we will compensate for those emissions through carbon credits or carbon capture.”
That indicates plans to go all-electric haven’t been locked in, but the statements still have big implications all GM models, including high-profile trucks and sports/performance cars.
Barra said the move was an effort to adhere to the goals of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celcius. The announcement comes less than a year and a half after General Motors signed on to fight California’s ability to create its own Zero Emissions Rules, effectively advocating for looser emissions rules.
GM has already announced a wide variety of electric vehicles based on its BEV3 architecture and Ultium modular battery system, which should make up a big chunk of its future lineup. Cadillac was already expected to go mostly electric under this plan, for example. But GM hasn’t set a specific timeline for eliminating tailpipe emissions from its passenger vehicles until now.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel
Rumors of an electric Corvette have circulated before, and President Joe Biden even mentioned it in a 2020 campaign ad, but GM has made no official comments. The automaker is expected to introduce Corvette hybrid variants throughout the lifecycle of the current C8 generation.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup is scheduled to start production in fall 2021, and GM confirmed an electric Chevy full-size pickup in July 2020. The Hummer EV is expensive and will likely sell in lower volumes than GM’s current bread-and-butter pickups, but it’s unclear what sales-volume goals GM has for the unnamed Chevy electric truck. Barra also specified that the zero-emission push only applies to light-duty vehicles, so heavy-duty trucks could still retain their gasoline and diesel engines.
GM plans to launch several other electric models within the next few years, including the Cadillac Lyriq and Celestiq luxury cars, the Chevy Bolt EUV, an autonomous Cruise shuttle, and a new line of commercial vans.
The automaker is hoping to speed up the development process so it can launch new EVs more quickly. GM previously said that, starting with the Hummer EV, its benchmark development time for new EVs will be 26 months, down from the typical 50 months.
—Senior Editor Kirk Bell contributed to this report