Speaking (via satellite) to journalists at the General Motors Electrification Experience in San Francisco yesterday, Mary Barra, GM's senior vice president of global product development, announced that The General will have 500,000 "vehicles with electrification" by 2017. That's only five years away, and implies 100,000 such vehicles sold in each of the next five years. The asterisk is that Barra most certainly did not mean a half-million GM plug-in vehicles will be on the road by then, since electrification here includes everything from the small electric helpers in its eAssist vehicles to full electrics like the Chevrolet Spark EV. Using those parameters, GM will sell 50,000 vehicles "with some form of electrification" this year alone. As of the end of October, GM sold 19,309 Volts, and the final 2012 tally will likely be around 25,000.
But, the interesting aspect is that Barra says GM's future "focus" will be on plug-in technology. She didn't say that GM is leaving things like hydrogen and biofuels behind, just that, "The plug-in offers a unique opportunity to change the way people commute. Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward." The Volt, Barra said, is fulfilling its role as technology leader, spawning not just the Spark EV but also the planned production version of the Cadillac ELR concept shown above. Right now, only those privy to GM's secret future plans binders know how many "children" the Volt will have by 2017.
To read more about GM's proclamation, scroll down to read GM's official press release.
eAssist will be on 'hundreds of thousands' of vehicles
DETROIT – General Motors will have up to 500,000 vehicles on the road with some form of electrification by 2017 with a focus on plug-in technology, the company's top product development executive said Wednesday.
"The plug-in offers a unique opportunity to change the way people commute," Mary Barra, senior vice president of Global Product Development told media attending the GM Electrification Experience in San Francisco. "Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward."
The plug-in Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle, introduced in 2010, has become more than a statement for GM in the electric vehicle space, Barra said by satellite from Detroit.
"What started out as a technology proof point... 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 unique propulsion technology pioneered in the Volt – the same technology that will be featured in the Cadillac ELR – will be a core piece of our electrification strategy going forward."
Learning from the Volt is being liberally applied to the Chevrolet Spark EV, which will go on sale next year in the certain U.S. markets and South Korea with other markets to be announced soon.
"We'll meet requirements set by certain regulatory agencies, but we're not building the Spark EV to check a regulatory box," Barra said.
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.
"Our commitment to eAssist is unwavering," Barra said. "In fact, our future portfolio calls for eAssist to be on hundreds of thousands of GM vehicles annually by 2017."
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.