GM CEO Predicts Shift to Electric Cars Will Take at Least 20 Years

Published on June 9, 2020 in Electric by Guillaume Rivard

Despite significant progress over the past two years, electric vehicles still account for less than three percent of total new vehicle sales in North America. With gas prices remaining at a super-low level, the great big shift to EVs is far from sight.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra made a few statements to Bloomberg this week suggesting that combustion engines will continue to dominate the landscape for quite a while. How long? Well, according to her, EVs won’t take over until at least 20 years from now.

“It will happen in a little bit longer period [than 20 years], but it will happen,” she said.

We’re in 2020 and the year 2040 happens to be the target set by many governments around the world, including Canada, to have nothing but zero-emission vehicles sold at dealerships.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

Last year, GM announced that it would double resources allocated to EVs and autonomous vehicles by 2021. Now, the former will apparently benefit from an investment of more than $20 billion over the next five years.

We’re still awaiting the debut of the small electric SUV based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Cadillac Lyriq luxury crossover and of course the much anticipated GMC Hummer EV. After delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these models should pop up sometime in the next few months, although they’re not expected to hit showrooms anytime soon. The new Hummer, for instance, is scheduled to enter production in the fall of 2021.

An interesting aspect of GM’s future EVs will be their next-generation Ultium battery technology, which can be used for various applications and promises up to 645 kilometres of range—the kind of number that will definitely convince more consumers to make the shift from gasoline to electricity.

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