GM declares war on petrol cars as rivals accelerate with electric models

General Motors on Tuesday said it will pursue the first mass production of electric vehicles with advanced batteries by 2023.

Despite skepticism, analysts believe that the G.M. statement will be a market catalyst – despite a year long delay in the announcement to come out.

Mary Barra, the CEO of G.M., said at the D conference in Las Vegas that investors, dealers, employees and consumers will be key in whether her company’s goal is to roll out about 20 electric models across the globe in the next decade.

“We were very bold on not just talking about the electric vehicle, but executing on a comprehensive plan to make them accessible to a global consumer base,” she said.

In coming to the decision to come out with a concrete rollout date, she said it was a practical and fiscally conservative option: “We won’t have all the answers right now, but we will start to lay the groundwork.”

As an alternative to GM’s alternative strategy, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is developing a 10-year plan to accelerate the transformation of the US auto industry to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).

That model would likely push the US government to take a larger role in pushing the industry toward a tougher vehicle standard by 2030.

A controversial decision by President Donald Trump’s Department of Energy is also delaying the adoption of the common short charging station standard. Edison Electric Institute believes that this could delay the transition to ZEVs.

“Most of our customers have been living in a 200 to 300 mile range for their cars for 15 to 20 years and the last thing in the world they want to do is to make that change suddenly or often. I think the solution is to give them certainty,” Barra said.

It is becoming increasingly clear that it will take decades to clean up the industry. “We know we’re in a period of delay, we know we’re in a transition,” said Barra.

Other industry leaders, including Tesla, GM’s largest peer by market capitalization, have all moved forward with significant electric car launches. Tesla’s recent production meeting included the presentation of the Model 3, which some have projected could put the company back on track to become profitable.

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