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GM is all-in on electric cars, but only in China for now

GM has been quiet about its plans for electric vehicles after the Bolt EV, which came out almost a year ago. They hinted at new EVs built of the Bolt’s platform and they claim to be serious about the electrification of their vehicle lineup, but not much has come of it so far.

It’s another matter in China where GM is now committing to 10 new electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra was in China last week and she held a press conference in Shanghai to discuss GM’s road map.

She announced the electrification of GM’s lineup in China and the opening of a new battery factory:

“By 2025, nearly all models from GM’s global brands in China – Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet – will offer electrification technology. To support GM’s growing NEV fleet planned for China, its SAIC-GM joint venture is opening a new battery assembly plant in Shanghai this year.”

The CEO insisted that GM is leading the way in electrification:

“Our modern-day leadership in electrification is not new. Our engineers have continually built upon our experience.”

GM is mainly known for the Bolt EV and the Volt when it comes to electric vehicles, but they have a different lineup in China. They sell the Volt as the “Buick Velite 5” and they also have the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In and the Baojun E100, which is a small urban EV.

Despite these announcements and GM’s “EV leadership”, Barra criticized China’s plan to ban gas and diesel-powered cars in the country.

Electrek’s Take

As we previously reported, those recent announcements from major automakers to produce electric vehicles in China have nothing to do with EV leadership. They are motivated by the country’s aggressive ZEV mandate. Automakers need zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to represent 8% of new car sales as soon as 2018 and quickly ramp up to 12% by 2020.

It’s clearly working.

GM’s latest announcement follows VWDaimlerToyota, Ford, and more recently the Renault-Nissan alliance.

They have been fighting against it though. Virtually all automakers (except for Tesla) have asked China to slow down their electric car mandate through their industry lobbying group, but the government seems determined to go forward with its plan.

At this point, China already has more electric vehicles than any other country, but a lot of them are small and cheap urban EVs. Now with all the latest announcements, it looks very likely that by the end of the decade, China could have the best options of any other market when it comes to electric cars.

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