GM Could Be Shifting Toward Electric Sooner Than Expected

The automotive giant has advocated for change on the national level.

A Chevrolet Bolt vehicle is displayed next to signage outside the General Motors Co. Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The largest U.S. automaker will expand its fleet of autonomous Chevrolet Bolts to 180 of the electric vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said Tuesday. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg
Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

General Motors is expected to announce changes to its electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid plans. The news comes less than a week after GM's CEO Mary Barra advocated for a national electric vehicle mandate that automakers be required to produce more EVs and PHEVs by 2021. Last fall GM announced its plans to have 20 different EV models ready for 2023, putting it on a path to rapid change. 

One of the big factors in this transition is the Hamtramck plant that GM uses to build the Volt plug-in hybrid. The plant is also used for the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, and Cadillac CT6, which last year, The Drive reported are the models GM considered cutting from its lineup as Americans have switched to a desire for crossovers, trucks, and SUVs. This plant could be revamped for the crossover model that is expected to use the Voltec powertrain Chevrolet currently uses exclusively in the Volt. 

The Bolt EV has had strong sales and General Motors has planned to expand production of its first mass market EV as demand has grown globally for the model. The Bolt sales dropped earlier this year due to production shortages of the vehicle. The Bolt is in a competitive section of the EV market with rivals from Hyundai, Nissan, and Tesla expected to enter the $35,000 range in the upcoming months. 

Chevrolet recently revealed an electric COPO Camaro drag racer at the 2018 SEMA Show highlighting the potential for an electric version of GM's entry level performance car. The eCOPO Camaro uses an 800 volt battery pack going to two electric motors, giving the electrified drag racer an expected quarter mile time less than 9 seconds. 

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