GM’s all-electric pledge: No tailpipes by 2035, net-zero carbon by 2040

General Motors on Thursday announced the intent to achieve net-zero carbon status by 2040—and that includes “an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.”

The carmaker has spent much of the past year building a vision of what it sees as an “all-electric future,” including its Ultium battery and propulsion system

General Motors' BEV3 platform and Ultium batteries

General Motors' BEV3 platform and Ultium batteries

According to CEO Mary Barra, in a LinkedIn post, about 75% of GM’s carbon impact comes from the tailpipe emissions of the vehicles it sells. 

GM worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a vision of what it would look like to purge tailpipes from its lineup by 2035. Barra also cited that GM has signed onto the 1.5 degrees Celsius commitment of the Paris Agreement, noting that it “will set science-based targets to achieve carbon neutrality."

The company says that it will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade, and 40% of the company’s U.S. models offered—not sales volume—will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. 

Cadillac Lyriq concept

Cadillac Lyriq concept

GM in November boosted its plan to invest $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles for the next five years. During the pandemic it increased the investment and actually pulled forward and fast-tracked some of the EV projects. One of those has already been confirmed as the Cadillac Lyriq luxury crossover, which will arrive in early 2022. 

The company has already sketched out the start of that product plan with a number of other debuts, previews, and future-product hints. The one that’s generated the most buzz has been the revival of the Hummer brand as all-electric, starting with the GMC Hummer EV SUV. Just last month, it revealed the EV600 electric cargo van, with a new business focused around electric cargo delivery. 

BrightDrop EV600

BrightDrop EV600

GM also plans to use 100% renewable energy to power its U.S. facilities by 2030, and for all of its global facilities by 2035—which is five years earlier than its previous goal. 

For many of GM’s customers, making the transition to electric vehicles isn’t yet possible, and that’s why it’s important to keep improving the fuel efficiency of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.

“This is also why it is so important we deliver a full range of electric vehicles, including pickup trucks, SUVs, and even electric vans,” Barra wrote in the LinkedIn post.

Barra hinted that will mean more significant changes for the company over the next decade to get to 100% zero-tailpipe-emissions vehicles. GM plans to invest in programs and training initiatives that will “help them make the transition to the net-zero economy when the time comes,” she said.

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