General Motors will have up to 500,000 vehicles on the road with some form of electrification by 2017 – that’s the word from GM’s top product development executive. Mary Barra also stated that the electric vehicles will focus on plug-in technology.
“The plug-in offers a unique opportunity to change the way people commute,” Barra says. “Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward.”
“Our commitment to eAssist is unwavering… our future portfolio calls for eAssist to be on hundreds of thousands of GM vehicles by 2017.”
“What started out as a technology proof point [ed. the Chevy Volt]… has turned into a real-world starting point to push EV technology further and faster than we thought possible five years ago,” she said.
The same unique propulsion technology used in the Chevy Volt, which will be featured in the Cadillac ELR when it debuts in 2014, will be a core piece of GM’s electrification strategy.
Lessons learned from the Volt are also being applied to the Chevy Spark EV that is set to go on sale next year in the US and South Korea. “We’ll meet requirements set by certain regulatory agencies, but we’re not building the Spark EV to check a regulatory box,” Barra said. Executives said if it was a compliance electric vehicle, they wouldn’t have made the car as good as they did. The 2014 Spark EV has a number of elements found in the $40,000 Volt which adds touches of sophistication and luxury to the car. It remains to be seen whether Chevy rolls the Spark EV out beyond California to other states, and whether it offers attractive purchase and lease deals – and how much time and money Chevy devotes to marketing the Spark EV.
GM is on track to sell more than 50,000 vehicles this year with electrification – between the Volt and eAssist light electrification technology on the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Chevrolet Malibu. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala also will offer an eAssist model when he debuts next year.