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GM’s CEO Mary Barra Advocates for a Slower Phase-Out of Gasoline

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General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra

Last week brought news that China is taking the lead when it comes to phasing out petroleum-fueled cars. Mary Barra, chief executive of General Motors, spoke in Shanghai this past Friday both in response to this industry news and to share the company’s current emphasis on rolling out EV technology.

First, Barra articulated the need for China to slow its planned ban of petroleum-fueled vehicles. Her perspective is that consumers, not the government, should initiate a shift in technology, as she put it: “I think it works best when, instead of mandating, customers are choosing the technology that meets their needs.”

The proposed ban on petroleum-fueled models could thwart GM’s plug-in hybrid initiative since these models run on both battery and gasoline power. Petroleum fuel produces greenhouse gases, which would be prohibited under China’s new regulation. Considering that other mainstream brands like Volvo are also adopting vehicles that run on both gas and electric, not just electric, GM is definitely not alone in its moderate stance on EV technology implementation.

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2017 Volt

2017 Chevy Volt
Photo: KelleyBlueBook

GM’s current offerings cater to both hybrid and EV-only trends. The Volt has been a widely-successful hybrid model. The all-electric Bolt pushes green technology a step further since it eliminates the need for traditional gas altogether.

Both models pave a great foundation for future technology advances as GM fine-tunes its more eco-friendly engine systems. As Barra puts it, “G.M.’s vision is a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

GM is particularly sensitive to any policy changes in China, especially considering that GM sold about 1.8 million vehicles in the first six months of 2017 due to an American-Chinese joint initiative. Only time will tell what impact Barra’s feedback and other industry leaders’ voices will have on China’s timeframe for phasing out gas-fueled vehicles.

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News Source: NY Times