Report: GM Wants to Be Gas-Free by 2040


The Detroit Free Press is reporting that General Motors is looking to be gas-free by 2040. Specifically, GM “aspires” to have light-duty vehicles in all global markets be zero-emission by 2035 and all products and plants be carbon-neutral by 2040.

The word “aspires” does some heavy lifting here — giving the General cover if it doesn’t meet the goal. A goal that seems ambitious at this point in time, in our view. It’s definitely notable that GM doesn’t say all its cars and trucks will be zero-emissions.

When it says “light-duty vehicles”, GM includes full-size pickup trucks and its SUVs in that mix.

GM also could buy carbon credits to offset any plants or vehicles that are not zero-emission. GM also plans to use renewable energy for its plants and to reuse or recycle components.

“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”

Here’s what Dane Parker, GM’s chief sustainability officer, told the Freep: ” ‘Aspire’ is a great word because it helps us work toward our vision. We’re taking action to have our vehicles be zero emissions 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.”

Heavy-duty pickups appear part of the plan, at least by 2040. More from Parker talking to the Freep: “By 2040, 100 percent of our portfolio will be fully electric and that’s the vision we’re setting out.”

GM also signed a pledge to help keep the global temperature from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Parker told the paper that GM doesn’t expect their pursuit of this goal to cost jobs, and he also sees gas stations becoming charging stations. That latter will be needed to help drive the shift to EVs — one factor holding back EV adoption is a lack of charging infrastructure.

GM says it “plans to offer an EV for every customer, from crossovers and SUVs to trucks and sedans.”

It doesn’t mention sports cars there, which makes us sad, but we’ve heard rumors of an electric Corvette, and there’s no reason the company couldn’t build fun-to-drive EV coupes. It’s even possible that rip-roaring V8s for both sports cars and heavy-duty trucks could still be sold in limited numbers if the carbon is offset. Yes, GM says “100 percent” of its portfolio will go EV, but there’s wiggle room here via both the carbon offsets and the company’s own admission that it “aspires” to this goal and might not get there.

Or maybe we’re being knuckledraggers. Maybe the internal-combustion engine will be well and truly dead, at least when it comes to new vehicles, in less than 15 years.

“Always in motion is the future,” said Yoda. GM’s plan is certainly in motion, starting with the Hummer, and it will be interesting to see if the company can get to this goal, or even come close. The EV plans are still in their infancy — GM has the Bolt, and the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq, but the lineup still includes trucks that use thirsty V8s.

The company’s fleet will need quite the makeover over the next 14-19 years to reach this goal.

[Image: GM]

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