GM still planning to end petrol-powered vehicle sales by 2035, says CEO

WASHINGTON: General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday the Detroit automaker still plans on moving to all-electric vehicle sales by 2035 even as it has recently delayed some EV production.

"Our plan is to only be selling EVs, light-duty EVs at that time but of course we're going to be responsive to where the customer is at but we have a plan to do that," Barra told reporters after an appearance at the Washington Economic Club.

GM in October said it was abandoning a goal of building 400,000 EVs from 2022 through mid-2024 as it delays production of electric pickup trucks at its plant in Michigan's Orion Township by a year. GM also in October scrapped a US$5 billion plan to jointly develop affordable EVs with Honda Motor.

The Biden administration is pursuing aggressive vehicle emissions regulations and Barra said they must be achievable.

"I think we're in a good position with the number of EVs that we have that we're launching," Barra said Wednesday.

"I think we just need to make sure that the regulations stay aligned with where the customer is, the charging has to be there."

The American Automotive Policy Council, representing GM, Ford Motor and Stellantis, in October urged regulators to halve its proposed fuel economy increases from 4% to 2% annually for trucks, saying the proposal "would disproportionately impact the truck fleet."

US automakers separately have warned fuel economy fines would cost GM US$6.5 billion, Stellantis US$3 billion and Ford US$1 billion. Reuters reported in June GM paid US$128.2 million in fines covering 2016 and 2017, the first time the automaker had paid fuel economy penalties.

Automakers also have raised alarm at the Energy Department's proposal to significantly revise how it calculates the petroleum-equivalent fuel economy rating for EVs. Barra met with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and raised the issue, sources told Reuters.

GM said in October it could support the administration's fuel economy proposal if the Energy Department rescinded its petroleum-equivalent proposal.
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