By on October 2, 2017

gm_all_electric_path_to_zero_emissions

Earlier today, General Motors announced it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, kicking off a push of at least 20 forthcoming EVs by 2023. At a press conference in Detroit, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss, said the company is absolutely “committed to an all-electric future,” but stated “that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

At the event, Reuss said the claims were the real deal. “These aren’t just words in a war of press releases,” he said. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Did you hear that, every other automaker that has claimed something identical in the last 12 months? General Motors is actually serious about all of this electric mobility talk. 

We know it takes hard work and a clear vision to achieve an EV-focused and pollution-free utopia. That’s why it was a little surprising to hear GM had also renewed its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology. With the notable exception of some portions of Japan, hydrogen-powered cars have limited applications and aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. That would change, of course, if an expansive fueling infrastructure was constructed and hydrogen production used renewable energy sources. But why wouldn’t you just charge your car directly off the grid if that were the case?

General Motors is already doing well with “non-traditional” powertrains without having a hydrogen-driven dead end in the lineup. Chevrolet’s Bolt is a standout among its electrified rivals — providing superior electric range and performance at a more reasonable price than others. It was a legitimate leap forward.

The company says it’s going to take what is has learned from the Bolt and apply it to the forthcoming models. Those first two are also likely to share some of its components. However, GM also previewed a new battery system on Monday at its Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, which it says will go into subsequent models. Detailed specs on this system are nonexistent, but Automotive News reports GM’s Brownstown Battery Assembly plant south of Detroit will start producing a fuel cell system in 2020.

“Whatever we do, from an electrification stand point, the next version will be better than the version we have on the road,” Reuss said. “That vision involves everything that we’ve learned from the Bolt, but the architecture piece of this continues to evolve.”

The executive specified GM’s “vision” includes flexible battery packs and fuel cell technology. But, unless General Motors knows something we do not about future energy sources, vehicle sales, and fueling networks, we’re having a hard time taking this assertion terribly seriously.

Wrapping last month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s London Future of Energy Summit saw numerous members insulting hydrogen-powered cars. Although the best of the bunch came via BNEF member Colin Mckerracher:

GM and Honda have been collaborating on hydrogen fuel cell tech since 2013. The company has also worked with the United States Army on a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Colorado truck. The $4 million project aims to look at the potential advantages of a silent-running land vehicle (and if the application is actually viable).

Similarly, General Motors used Monday’s event to showcase a new concept vehicle called the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS). The model is a fuel cell-powered heavy-duty truck with four-wheel steering that’s driven by two electric motors. Reuss said GM’s hydrogen-powered cars will likely lean toward commercial applications, like delivery trucks or ambulances.

Everything else remains in the preliminary stages of development. Three clay models exist of vehicles destined for GM’s next-generation propulsion system. They included a Buick crossover, Cadillac station wagon and a futuristic pod-vehicle presumed to be the next generation Bolt.

“These three vehicles demonstrate why that height difference is important,” said Reuss. “You can do different H-points, you can do different roof lines and you can do different range capabilities and different performance.”

Another six concealed vehicles surrounded the modern-day Chevy Bolt on stage, signifying its extremely important role in their hypothetical development — and GM’s electrified future.

In August, Chevrolet sold 2,107 Bolts in the United States — making it the best month for the little EV so far. The brand also sold 28,245 gas-powered Equinox SUVs in the same timeframe.

[Image: General Motors]

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30 Comments on “GM to Add Over 20 New Electric, Fuel Cell Cars to Lineup by 2023...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Maybe this makes sense in China; also known as GM’s most important market. Here, GM’s only hope rests on the continuation of depreciation deductions for pickup trucks that are financed into the afterlife.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Doom, gloom, bla bla bla.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      I don’t think the average buyer finances a truck any longer than they do a car. Only real difference is that they are underwater on the loan less time because trucks seem to hold their value a little better. You can get the same 84 months on a brown manual wagon you can on a king ranch. Honestly the longest financing I ever heard of was this shady Corvette joint that would do a 15 year loan on one and this was in the C4 era. Many a sailor around Jacksonville got hooked up.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There are places where an EV can make sense, like in CA, for instance. But for the vast majority of us, ye good olde gasoline ICE will still be the way to go.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The article starts by mentioning 20 new EVs for GM, then goes on to talk extensively about fuel cells.

    I hope FCVs aren’t somehow being construed as ‘electric’, because they aren’t. FCVs are fueled exclusively with hydrogen; the drive methodology between the hydrogen and the wheels is irrelevant.

    In any case, fuel cells are a non-starter from many perspectives, the most important of which is that nobody seems willing to pay for the expensive Supercharger-like infrastructure that it requires to succeed.

    GM must see some profit potential in doing this (introducing a bunch of EVs), particularly since the Federal subsidy on its EVs will dry up soon (along with consumer interest).

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Bloomberg has a good article as to why GM is making the move. Lighter cheaper batteries and the restrictions by China and bans in other countries.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-02/gm-pledges-electric-future-with-20-all-electric-models-by-2023

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      FCs make electricity and store it in an on-board battery. The only by-product is….. water.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Ah, but there needs to be a huge technological breakthrough on hydrogen fuel production, and a distribution network. I like fuel cell cars (and the idea of hydrogen-fueled ICE cars), but they’ve got a long way to go. And I’m not convinced they will before advances in electric cars make them irrelevant.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    Fuel cells are still a thing? I thought everyone gave up on the after Tesla showed an electric car could work. I’m not being snarky, I really thought Honda was the only one still halfway plugging away at it and even they were about to hang it up.

    Really it’s the loooonnngggg timeline they lay out that makes me call BS. That and they ain’t going to mess with the pickup golden goose any time soon.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe my reading comprehension is bad,but I read it as 20 new vehicles in 6 yrs(2023).
      Since GM is claiming 2 new cars in next 18 months,by my math that puts the other 18 coming in over a 4 1/2 yr span. That seems just a tad ambitious,even if they roll out Chevy,Buick and Caddy versions of same vehicle.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Dear GM,

    Before you go all electric, please build a V12 Cadillac Escalade Platinum. Please? Thanks.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, seeing how Tesla got to 16% of their Model 3 production target to date (hey, just off by 84%) automakers still have a chance to carve out the market.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    but muh TESLAAAAAHHHHHH

  • avatar
    ajla

    Does every GM EV need to be an egg-shaped fanny pack?

    Make an EV that looks like this:

    static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/04/07/02/30/1967_cadillac_eldorado-pic-51389-640×480.jpeg

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Will GM like to explain to us condo and apt dwellers how the hell are we supposed to charge our EV’s ???? Who is gonna pay for all the wiring and connections needed?

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      But something else. GM isn’t the entire market.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      I suspect gas stations will start installing EV chargers. And while you wait 20 minutes for a charge, they would be happy to sell you a Johnsonville Brat, Pepsi Cola, and Frito-Lay chips. They will even have a waiting area with televisions serving you advertisements while you enjoy your meal.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Yeah right. People today have zero and I mean zero patience to wait 20-30 minutes at a time sitting waiting for there EV to charge up at a gas station. Not only that the gas station in question would need to be a mile long to accommodate so many vehicles at one time while they are waiting. OIt will not work well at all.

  • avatar

    They have no other option – California outlaws gas engines by year 2040 (consider it as a done deal). China too. Nobody cares about Europe though but my guess is they too. That leaves only Japan and Australia which are irrelevant even more than Europe.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Is GM planning on building a support system for these vehicles? Because I can’t see this working without a huge investment in such things. I have never seen a hydrogen fueling station. Or a fast electric refill place. And I basically live across the street from the Tech Center. If GM can’t get these things in their own backyard, how are they going to sell such cars in more remote locations?

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    But I wants muh DEEEESIL Shevolay.

  • avatar

    I don’t get the play on hydrogen. But Honda Toyota and GM all see something there so maybe. Gm offers a high-speed charger for the Bolt.
    There are a number of 50 kw fast chargers near me and a few 100kw should be online now. I think the bolt is limited to 80 kw. Note these are not GM chargers but 3rd parties like EVGO

  • avatar
    zip89123

    What’s that sucking sound? It’s Ford & GM cash going buh-bye and bankruptcy on the horizon.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Tesla fanbois (and they are like Scientologists, but more zealous and vengeful) will hate to hear this, but Tesla will be Bankrupt within 2 years – max.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      GM won’t be much further behind on Bankruptcy on this path. I’m predicting it by 2023 when this fantastical rollout of 20 more fully electric vehicles is supposed to occur. Unless gas shoots up to 5-6 bucks per gallon in the states I see little change in consumer preference on EV’s vs gas vehicles and SUV/CUV’s and pickup trucks in 5 short years time.

      Then there is the huge elephant in the room. Who in the hell is going to be able to afford this crap? It’s hard enough for most average shoppers to swing payments for today’s 30-45K average car, CUV/SUV price tags. I do not see EV’s, especially the size of today’s trucks and SUV’s being priced anywhere near 45K plus

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