GM stands by combustion engines — for now

GM stands by combustion engines — for now

Mike Anderson on international combustion technology. “We are going to continue to develop in this space.” Photo credit: GREG HORVATH

General Motors will continue to invest in new internal combustion engine technologies and hybrid systems as it strives to one day exclusively offer zero-emissions vehicles.
Michael Wayland Twitter Facebook
Automotive News | July 31, 2018 – 2:41 pm EST

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Even as General Motors moves more toward electrified vehicles, it will continue investing in new technologies for internal combustion engines and hybrid systems.

Mike Anderson, GM executive director of global transmission and electrification hardware engineering, said Tuesday at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars that the automaker is steaming toward a future of exclusively zero-emission vehicles.

But it will not let its traditional engines sit stagnant, he vowed.

“It’s definitely not the end,” Anderson said of internal combustion technology. “We are going to continue to develop in this space.”

He said that the three propulsion systems will “coexist for some time.” The vast majority of GM’s sales are vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines.

GM sees “three lanes on the road” in the future, he said. They include “more of the same” with additive technologies for internal combustion engines; hybrids, including mild hybrids and plug-ins; and full-electric vehicles, including at least 20 new battery- or fuel cell-powered vehicles globally by 2023.

In the U.S., GM offers three hybrid models — the Chevrolet Malibu and plug-in Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac CT6 — and the full-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV. The automaker this year also unveiled a plug-in hybrid and all-electric car for China called the Buick Velite 6.

The Velite 6 is the first in GM’s planned onslaught of new electrified vehicles, with a substantial amount of them to be introduced for China over the next five years.

GM said last year that it plans to achieve zero emissions as part of what it calls a “triple-zero strategy,” meaning zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Details have not been revealed on how it will reach that level, but Anderson’s comments give the most detailed look so far.

“It’s a profound vision and it’s a challenge,” he said, echoing GM CEO Mary Barra’s comments that EVs and autonomous vehicles will cause more industry change in the next five years than in the past 50.

“We don’t want to just be participating or be affected by that change, we want to drive that change,” he said.

GM plans sell 1 million EVs annually by 2026.

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