There is a greener future lying ahead for General Motors, which plans to have up to 500,000 vehicles on the road with some form of electrification by 2017, according to product chief Mary Barra.
On Wednesday, the company’s top product development executive said GM will focus on electric vehicles, and plug-in and mild hybrids instead of conventional hybrids.
“The plug-in offers a unique opportunity to change the way people commute,” Barra told the reporters attending the GM Electrification Experience in San Francisco. “Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward.”
Barra said that the technological and practical lessons learned from the Chevrolet Volt will be applied on future models such as the Cadillac ELR as well as the upcoming Chevrolet Spark EV, which will be presented at the LA Auto Show this month before it goes on sale next year in the U.S. and South Korea, with other markets to follow.
“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,” said Barra.
She continued: “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.”
Naturally, most sales will come from GM's mild hybrid system marketed under the "eAssist" moniker, which doesn't power the vehicle by itself, but instead helps improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.
“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.”