Opinion: Moving Closer to the EV Tipping Point

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by Kivi

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01.30.2021


GM and Biden Target 2035

It was a week of good news for EVs
and climate action, as General Motors and the new U.S. president announced ambitious
plans to tackle global warming. Both set a goal fourteen years out, which,
although it’s later than the often-cited 2030 target from the Paris Agreement,
is a profound move forward.

General Motors Makes a
Commitment

Years ago, Charles Wilson,
President of General Motors, and Eisenhower’s nominee for Secretary of Defense,
famously said, “What is good for the country is good for General Motors and
vice versa.” Democrats on the committee focused on the vice versa of the
statement, but in the modern case, it may actually be true either way.

GMC Hummer EV
The GMC Hummer EV will be one of first new GM EVs

When GM first stated its intention to
move toward electric vehicles and rolled out its vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions,
and Zero Congestion, I was skeptical. After all, this is the company that makes
its money on gas-guzzling pickup trucks and Chevy Tahoes and has promoted
Corvettes and Camaros. But they did introduce the worthy Bolt EV and were
dabbling in green tech with the plug-in hybrid Volt before that.

With Tesla in their rearview mirror (or maybe now seen through their windshield!), one of America’s “big three” has officially put their bets on electric cars and has announced their plan to have a 100% electric fleet by 2035. GM will introduce 30 new EVs by 2025, including a new all-electric Hummer! They are developing a new flexible platform and the Ultium battery, which they will produce themselves. And they are putting $27 billion on the table to do it. With their long-established cross-country dealer network and factories in America, they have a good start.

Last night, I watched a recording of GM President Mark Reuss talking with Malcolm Gladwell at CES 2021 for GM Exhibit Zero. He said all the right things and laid out GM’s plan for 30 EVs by 2025 and all the rest. GM CEO Mary Barra has been quite forthright about the company’s plans, too.

Biden Steps Forward on Climate
Change Action

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden

Meanwhile, America’s new president put forward his plan, and it’s just what many of us have been waiting for. Immediately putting the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement and cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline were signature acts, but Biden’s announcement of moving to an all-electric fleet was an eye opener. It goes along with California’s 2035 target of no new light-duty internal combustion engine vehicles sold starting in 2035. The  Golden State has been leading the charge towards lower emissions for decades. It also fits nicely into GM’s plan.

Ford Is Planning and Releasing EVs, too

Ford is investing more than
$11.5 billion in electric vehicles through 2022, and zero-emission versions of
some of its most popular nameplates are on the way, including the Mustang
Mach-E, which starts arriving in dealerships this year, as well as a Transit
Commercial EV and fully electric F-150 coming within 24 months.

The company previously
announced its plan to use 100-percent locally sourced renewable energy for all
its manufacturing plants globally by 2035. That means energy would come only
from sources that naturally replenish – such as hydropower, geothermal, wind or
solar.

Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition
Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Is Its First Serious EV (of many)

However, as builders of America’s
favorite vehicle for more than four decades, the F-150 pickup, they can have a
big impact by putting an electric motor under its tall hood. And, leveraging
the reputation of their most iconic vehicle, the Mustang, they have just
introduced the category-bending, all new Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric
four-door crossover that has the Tesla Model Y in its sights (with a heavy dash
of Mustang traditional styling and performance). If these two pillars of Ford’s
product line move the sales needle, Ford will be making an impact, too, and can
start introducing more electrified vehicles.

It’s easy to see America’s two
surviving American-owned car companies jumping in and writing big orders for
all those electrified U.S. government fleet vehicles and making those American
factories hum with green-tech jobs. It has win-win written all over it. Of
course, making this huge transition will not be easy or instant, but the
overwhelming weight of scientific evidence tells us we must do it now.

GM EV platform
GM’s Ultium EV platform will be under its future cars

When Mark Reuss answered Malcolm Gladwell’s
question, “Why now?” during the interview, he said it was because it was the
right thing to do, and that he wanted a safe, healthy world for his three
grandchildren. As a grandparent myself, I wholeheartedly agree.

Bold initiatives by corporations, states
and national governments have proven effective in Europe and China, and now the
U.S., under new leadership and in cooperation with its auto manufacturers, is
approaching the EV tipping point. I have more faith now that we can and will
make this happen. In the middle of the next decade, it will all seem like it
was meant to be, and once-skeptical buyers will be sold on the new, cleaner,
better technology. For now, I’m doing whatever I can to push us to and beyond
the EV tipping point.

Story by Steve Schaefer; photos from Clean Fleet Report archives. This also appeared on SteveGoesGreen.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—GM
& Ford’s EV Moves

News: General
Motors Makes Big Electric Vehicle Moves

Verge: General
Motors Ramps Up Renewable Energy in its Plants

News: GM
Commits to 12 Upcoming EVS

News: GM
Accelerates Toward EV Future

News: General Motors
Working on 32 Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Cars

Flash Drive: 2021
Ford Mustang Mach-E Electric Crossover

News: Ford
Introduces E-Transit Commercial EV

The post Opinion: Moving Closer to the EV Tipping Point first appeared on Clean Fleet Report.



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