2017-10-02 13:45:03
G.M. Lays Out Plan for 20 Electric Models by 2023

DETROIT — In a push to produce cars powered by batteries or fuel cells, General Motors on Monday laid out a strategy to vastly expand the number of electric models in the marketplace.

G.M. said it would introduce two new all-electric models within 18 months as part of a broader plan toward what the company says is the ultimate goal of an emissions-free fleet. The two models will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that G.M. plans to bring out by 2023.

G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, announced in September that the company, America’s largest automaker, expected the industry to move aggressively toward an automotive future with zero emissions, traffic accidents and highway congestion.

The company has set no time frame for an all-electric portfolio of products, and expects to continue making cars and trucks powered by gasoline engines for an indefinite period of time.

But with governments from China to California considering stiff future regulations to encourage the production of emissions-free vehicles, G.M. is responding with big promises to shift its business more toward cars propelled by batteries and fuel cells.

Mark Reuss, the company’s chief of global product development, said Monday that G.M. would introduce two new all-electric vehicles derived from its current battery-powered Chevrolet Bolt sedan.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Mr. Reuss said at a media event at the company’s technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, G.M. is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”

He declined to specify what type of new models will be built off the Bolt’s underpinnings, but the chief of G.M.’s electrification strategy, Pam Fletcher, said the company is focusing on the development of sport utility vehicles and car-based crossover models.

Ms. Fletcher said the Bolt, a compact hatchback that was introduced late last year and is now on sale nationwide, has helped G.M. “see what is possible” in a future lineup of all-electric models.

Major automakers besides G.M. are also stepping up efforts to broaden their electric offerings. The German automaker Volkswagen has pledged to introduce a number of new battery-powered models in the next few years, and Ford Motor is expected on Tuesday to specify its plans for battery-powered models.

And the electric car maker Tesla is ramping up production of its new Model 3 sedan, which has generated huge interest in the form of $1,000 deposits from hundreds of thousands of potential buyers.

Mr. Reuss said that achieving a zero-emissions future would require more than battery technology, and stressed that G.M. is also moving forward with hydrogen fuel-cell equipment that can generate electric power.

“There is a transition going on,” said Mr. Reuss, adding that G.M. has no set timetable to eliminate gasoline engines from its vehicles. He said that by the 2023 target date for the new electric models, G.M. will still be building cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles with internal combustion engines.

He also said the company was not expecting job losses based on a shift away from gasoline engines, which currently account for a vast majority of the company’s production. And he said G.M. did not expect to be hurt financially by a move toward electric models, which can carry higher price tags than comparably sized gasoline-powered vehicles.

“The future will be profitable,” he said.