One of the largest automakers in the world, the American General Motors, intends to stop building polluting-emission cars by 2035, which still represent the vast majority of its production, an ambition that could accelerate the transformation of the sector.
The group has not openly committed to offering only electric vehicles in 2035.
But “we are taking measures to achieve this,” a spokesperson told AFP. “It will require collaboration from the rest of the industry, governments and customers. “
Faced with a growth in demand, and an increasing awareness of public opinion and their customers to the fight against climate change, many manufacturers have already made a shift towards non-polluting vehicles.
Volkswagen plans to offer 70 electric models by 2030 and sell 26 million units in ten years.
Tesla has become the darling of investors convinced that the American manufacturer of electric vehicles represents the future of the automobile and is worth more on the stock market than traditional manufacturers.
The road is long: electric cars are still quite expensive, and represented only 2.6% of sales in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.
GM’s initiative could take the industry a step further.
“With the green program (of US President Joe) Biden on the horizon, we think other car manufacturers could follow GM’s example in the United States,” said Dan Ives, analyst for Wedbush.
The new tenant of the White House has set itself among other objectives to make the fleet of government vehicles completely clean and to build 500,000 additional electric charging stations in the country.
Not the trucks
GM’s initiative would not apply to larger vehicles, such as trucks, but would include SUVs (city 4x4s) or pickups, which are particularly popular in the United States.
The group also plans that all of its vehicles and activities will be “carbon neutral” by 2040.
When cutting emissions is not possible, GM will offset them with carbon credits or carbon capture, said boss Mary Barra.
“For General Motors, the most important carbon impact comes from the exhaust emissions of the vehicles we sell – in our case, up to 75%,” said the leader in a message posted on the LinkedIn network. “This is why it is so important to accelerate towards a future in which every vehicle we sell is a zero emission vehicle,” she added.
“But it’s also essential that we reduce emissions from our operations around the world – from the manufacturing plants we manage to the energy we use to produce these vehicles,” Ms. Barra also stressed, inviting other companies. to follow his example.
The manufacturer worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) association to establish these objectives.
“With this extraordinary step forward, GM is making it clear that taking action to eliminate pollution from all new light vehicles by 2035 is a critical part of any automaker’s strategy,” commented its chairman Fred Krupp.
GM has increased announcements on electric vehicles in recent months.
The automaker plans to offer 30 models in 2025, with versions across the group’s four brands – Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, Buick – and invest a total of $ 27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles in five years.
The group also gave up in November supporting the Trump administration in its effort to strip California of the right to set its own auto pollution standards.
For Karl Brauer, specialist in the automotive sector for the iSeeCars site, there are some reservations.
“Even if ending the sale of combustion engines is an impressive goal, it does not necessarily make sense for all manufacturers,” he said in a note. “There will surely still be occasions when gasoline or diesel vehicles will be more practical” such as a multi-day camping trip in the countryside or for transporting goods.