The Slow Death Of General Motors

Consumers sound off on Volvo's announcement that it will ditch gas engines by 2019--who's ready for an electric road in just a year and a half? Jefferson Graham reports on #TalkingTech.

This photo provided by General Motors Co. shows the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, one of just two affordable EVs with more than 200 miles of range. Unlike the Tesla Model 3, the Bolt is readily available at dealerships across the country now.(Photo: Jessica Lynn Walker, AP)

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More than nine decades after legendary General Motors CEO Alfred Sloan famously pledged to offer "a car for every purse and purpose," GM is set to ditch internal combustion engines for an electric future.

Once derided in a documentary for killing the electric car when it abandoned a before-its-time model called the EV1, GM plans to make only electric vehicles at some point in the future. 

The move marks another critical blow to the future of gasoline and diesel cars, which are facing pressure from foreign regulators seeking to slash emissions and will soon face stiff competition as electric-car prices fall.

Electric vehicles powered either by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells will ultimately represent GM's entire global lineup, Mark Reuss, product development chief, said Monday.

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"General Motors will move humanity forward in the future with all-electric propulsion," Reuss said. "Because General Motors believes the future is all electric, these aren’t just words in a war of press releases. We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world."

Reuss declined to specify a year for the transition away from gas and diesel vehicles, saying GM is too large to say exactly when the switch would be complete.

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GM's Chevrolet Bolt was named North American Car of the Year. It's the first U.S. made, mass-market, fully electric car and has a range-per-charge of 238 miles. USA TODAY NETWORK

The company also announced plans to introduce two new electric vehicles within the next 18 months after delivering the first mass-market electric car with the Chevrolet Bolt, which goes 238 miles on a single charge and costs $37,500 before tax incentives.

GM said it would deliver at least 20 new electric vehicles globally by 2023.

The plan comes amid a global shift in focus as regulators emphasize electric vehicles, battery costs fall and hydrogen fuel cell technology advances.

China, GM's biggest vehicle market, has signaled plans to ban gasoline vehicles, and Britain and France have announced similar plans.

So GM might not have much of a choice, Autotrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said.

"If they’re still going to be a global player, they’ve still got to move ahead" even if the Trump administration rolls back fuel economy standards in the U.S., Krebs said.

Meanwhile, other automakers have made similar pledges. Chinese-owned Swedish brand Volvo recently announced plans to make only hybrids or electric vehicles after 2019.

GM will begin selling fuel cell-powered cars to retail customers in 2023, fuel cell chief Charles Freese said Monday. Fuel cells have fascinated the auto industry for years because their only emission is water. Cost and limited availability of hydrogen fuel have kept them from hitting the mainstream so far.

GM said it had created a new system that allows the company to fit different types of battery cells into a vehicle's underpinnings, speeding the development of future electric vehicles.

The company also previewed an ambitious fuel cell layout that puts hydrogen tanks and other mechanical systems between the axles and frame rails of a heavy-duty pickup. GM called the platform SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Structure).

It featured 4-wheel drive and steering and could be used as the basis for autonomous delivery trucks or emergency vehicles.

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Olds Motor Works was founded in 1897, the same year
Olds Motor Works was founded in 1897, the same year it created the first Oldsmobile. General Motors was incorporated in 1908 and Oldsmobile became a part of GM. Here's a look back at the history of General Motors and its many iconic vehicles. General Motors>FullscreenThe first Cadillac's were produced in 1902 and were
The first Cadillac's were produced in 1902 and were modeled after horse drawn carriages. Cadillac became part of General Motors in 1909. General Motors>FullscreenIn 1907, the first Oakland automobile was created.
In 1907, the first Oakland automobile was created. The company was soon bought by GM and would become know as Pontiac. General Motors>FullscreenCadillac placed the first order for closed-body cars
Cadillac placed the first order for closed-body cars in 1910. General Motors>FullscreenThe Pontiac brand was introduced in 1926 by General
The Pontiac brand was introduced in 1926 by General Motors. General Motors>FullscreenThe Chevrolet Suburban first came out in 1935 and is
The Chevrolet Suburban first came out in 1935 and is one of the longest-running nameplates in production. General Motors>FullscreenWidely regarded as the industry's first concept car,
Widely regarded as the industry's first concept car, the Buick Y-Job is a landmark vehicle in automotive history. Constructed in 1938 under the direction of Harley J. Earl, GM's first design chief, the Y-Job was the first to have retractable headlamps, power windows, power convertible top and integrated side panels. GM, Wieck>FullscreenThe Buick XP-300 was one of two dream cars built in
The Buick XP-300 was one of two dream cars built in 1951. The original styling and a super-charged engine, helped give way to a new era of cars. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1951 Le Sabre concept car set the trend for the
The 1951 Le Sabre concept car set the trend for the 50s. General Motors>FullscreenIn 1953, Chevrolet rolled out its first sports car,
In 1953, Chevrolet rolled out its first sports car, the Chevy Corvette. General Motors.>FullscreenGeneral Motors produced the first Cadillac Eldorado
General Motors produced the first Cadillac Eldorado in 1953 and it was used in President Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural parade. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1953 Firebird I concept car was the first gas turbine
The 1953 Firebird I concept car was the first gas turbine engine car. General Motors built the car as an engineering and styling exercise. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1953 Buick Wildcat was a concept car that featured
The 1953 Buick Wildcat was a concept car that featured a new front fender style. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass concept car got its name
The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass concept car got its name and avionic design from a Navy fighter plane. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1955 Chevrolet Nomad  station wagon.
The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air is known for those classic
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air is known for those classic fins. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1961 Mako Shark Corvette concept car.
The 1961 Mako Shark Corvette concept car. General Motors>FullscreenThe most prominent feature of the 1963 Corvette was
The most prominent feature of the 1963 Corvette was the split back window. General Motors>FullscreenThough it wasn't the first muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac
Though it wasn't the first muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac GTO is heralded as a trend setter for the era. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado is often credited as being
The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado is often credited as being the first front wheel drive vehicle. General Motors>Fullscreen1967 was the year that heralded the classic Camaro
1967 was the year that heralded the classic Camaro pony car. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1970 Monte Carlo.
The 1971 Monte Carlo. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird.
The 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1984 Corvette.
The 1984 Corvette. General Motors.>FullscreenThe 1992 Ultralite concept car could get up to 100
The 1992 Ultralite concept car could get up to 100 miles per gallon. General Motors>FullscreenThe 2009 Corvette is one of the fastest vehicles produced
The 2009 Corvette is one of the fastest vehicles produced by General Motors Richard Prince, General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car was named North
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car was named North American Car of the Year. General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Cadillac Escalade.
The 2017 Cadillac Escalade. General Motors>Fullscreen2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Camaro.
2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Camaro. General Motors>Fullscreen

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    Contributing: Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan

    Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/10/02/gm-electric-vehicles/722896001/

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