General Motors pledge for “all EV future” will keep Big Oil up at night

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


GM CEO Mary Barra and an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric car. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

GM CEO Mary Barra and an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric car. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, announced in a corporate press release Monday.

These are remarkable words for a company that has become a global behemoth over the past century by making and selling tens of millions of cars, SUVs, and light trucks that run on liquid fossil fuels.

When you add in plans from huge, fast-growing markets like China and India to quickly shift to EVs and end the sale of petrol cars, it’s clear that upending the car market will also upend the oil market.

Reuss said GM would accelerate the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), with two new EV models coming out in 2018, and “at least” another 18 by 2023. On the same day, Ford Motor Co. announced it would release 13 new EV models in the next five years.

The electric vehicle revolution has been supercharged by plummeting lithium-ion prices, which are half of what they were in 2014. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts EVs will be as cheap as gasoline cars by 2025 and keep dropping in price until EVs overtake them in yearly sales, by which time EVs will be displacing 8 million barrels of oil a day — more than Saudi Arabia exports today.

But BNEF pointed out last year that the 2014 oil price collapse was triggered by a global glut of just 2 million barrels a day. So they’ve already told investors to expect the big crash in oil as soon as 2023.

Indeed, what makes the GM and Ford announcements so “stunning,” as the New York Times explains, is that the two companies together sell “more large pickup trucks and full-size sport utility vehicles than the rest of the global industry combined.” Ford already plans to offer a crossover EV with a 300-mile range by 2020.

So the gas guzzlers are going to be replaced by electricity sippers, super-efficient vehicles that have one-quarter the annual fuel bill, even running on carbon-free renewable energy. In fact, EVs might have a zero fuel bill if utilities keep making deals with car companies and car owners to sell power back to the grid when needed.

At least in Europe, the major oil companies can see the writing on the wall. The CEO of Shell Oil said this summer that oil demand might peak within 15 years and that his next car would be electric.

But in the U.S., tragically, Big Oil has a key ally in the Trump administration, which is doing everything possible to promote oil use, boost carbon pollution, and slow down the clean energy revolution. This week’s moves by GM and Ford offer some hope, however, that U.S. workers won’t be completely left behind as rest of the world goes electric.

Source: ThinkProgress. Reproduced with permission.  

  • George Darroch

    This is the company with the same CEO who just two weeks ago was trying to tell China to slow down its transition to electric vehicles.

    And the same CEO who treats her company’s EVs like compliance vehicles, barely making them available to customers.

    I don’t believe a word she says.

  • For those interest about all the companies and all their plans here’s a handy chart!

    • Miles Harding

      Good to see, apart from the word ‘electrifed’, so even Mazda’s really feeble alternator/starter motor hybrid, if you can call it that, would count the same as an all-electric Tesla.

      • Greg Hudson

        Exactly. Electrified = Nothing but a big SCAM.

  • DJR96

    Hang on! Isn’t this the same company that was bullied by big oil into killing off their first EV1 model years ago?
    GM must have grown a spine since then…..

    • Joe

      Yep…..all those years ago. Now everything OLD is …..NEW again.

  • Stan Hlegeris

    The oldest trick in the book: talk enthusiastically about all those EVs you’ll sell in the FUTURE to distract people from the fact that you’re doing nothing now and doing everything in your power to delay the change. The only truth we can know about GM is what we can observe:

    –the over-priced but pretty good Volt, sabotaged by the GM dealer network and never actually promoted, except for PR opportunities

    –the capable but uncomfortable and fugly Bolt, delivered in restricted numbers

    And we’re impressed because GM promises to offer another 18 models like these? They’ll all sell poorly, giving GM and the others another chance to say that the public isn’t ready for EVs.

    All the legacy car companies are working to hold back EV adoption to the extent possible while still talking a good game. Don’t trust any of them. Wait until you can buy an EV from a company which makes ONLY EVs.

    • trackdaze

      Theyll sell 50000+ this year. For 5% of EV market.

      Bolt has the capacity to reach 90k units once Michigan battery expansion is complete.

      Additonally the Volt will be rolled out in China next year. It will be charged in part with getting GM to 10% of its sales as Ev by 2019.

      Not too shabby.

    • Steve159

      “They’ll all sell poorly” … let’s hope so. That’ll give Tesla additional time to ramp up production so that they get economies-of-scale to compete with the big auto makers.

    • Ian

      Simple way to call GM out on their bluffing game is to ask: where is your battery manufacturing capability for all these EV models? Don’t tell me about your EVs , tell me how many battery-packs you plan to put on the road.

  • Miles Harding

    Given their past; we should not trust GM’s words, only their actions.

  • Greg Hudson

    All this is coming from the same Co that thought it was a good idea to add Lead into gasoline back in 1937 ? We are talking about the same GM are we not ?