Who built the electric Hummer?
General Motors — the maker of the Hummer, the company that "killed the electric car" two decades ago — announced Thursday that it will phase out gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks by 2035 and sell only zero-emission vehicles. Three-quarters of GM's carbon output comes from the tailpipes of the cars, trucks, and SUVs it sells, and going electric is the cornerstone of its other ambitious plan announced Thursday, to be a completely zero-emission company by 2040.
This is "a seismic shift by one of the world's largest automakers that makes billions of dollars today from gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles," The New York Times reports. But auto industry analysts said it's a smart bet. GM's shares rose more than 3.5 percent on the news.
"The future of mobility is electric. Tesla set the pace but others are getting into the game," Andrew Hoffman, professor of sustainable enterprise at University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, tells USA Today. "Ford has notably made a serious play in electrics, VW had a false start. GM has to be in this to be viable going forward."
GM and its CEO, Mary Barra, are hanging their strategy on a new Ultium battery GM is developing in-house and plans to manufacture in the Midwest and South. But the company also said its aspirations for an all-electric fleet within 15 years are tied in part to government incentives for consumers and charging infrastructure. President Biden this week directed the federal government to tighten fuel-economy standards and purchase only electric vehicles, and he's pushing spending legislation that aims to build half a million charging stations and offer rebates and other incentives for buying electric vehicles.
"'Aspire' is a great word because it helps us work toward our vision," said Dane Parker, GM's chief sustainability officer. "We're taking action to have our vehicles be zero-emission by 2035. This is going to take the effort of a lot of people and a lot of governments to get there. So we have a vision, we have a plan, and we're taking action today to get there."
GM plans to release its all-electric GMC Hummer truck this year, at a cost of about $113,000. Its only other significant electric vehicle in the U.S. market is the small Bolt.