GM to release plug-in hybrid vehicles, backtracking on product plans

General Motors reveals the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt to the media at the 2015 North American International Auto Show on January 12, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.

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DETROIT – General Motors is changing its product lineup strategy to include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, CEO Mary Barra told investors Tuesday.

Barra did not disclose specific details of the plans other than that PHEVs, which include an internal combustion engine along with battery technologies, will be rolled out on “select vehicles” in North America to assist in meeting more stringent federal fuel economy regulations.

More companies are reconsidering the viability of hybrid vehicles to appease consumer demand and avoid costly penalties related to those federal fuel economy and emissions standards. Most of GM’s main competitors offer traditional hybrids as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

“Let me be clear, GM remains committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from our light-duty vehicles by 2035, but, in the interim, deploying plug-in technology in strategic segments will deliver some of the environment or environmental benefits of EVs as the nation continues to build this charging infrastructure,” Barra said during the automaker’s quarterly and 2023 earnings call.

Barra alluded to the automaker using PHEV technology that the company has already adopted overseas in countries such as China. The only hybrid GM currently offers in the U.S. is a traditional hybrid version of the Chevrolet Corvette.

GM led the way for plug-in electric vehicles with the Chevrolet Volt during the 2010s. The company discontinued the vehicle in early 2019, citing demand and cost concerns.

The shifting strategies are counterintuitive to the industry’s recent messaging on EVs. Many auto companies have begun to invest billions of dollars in all-electric vehicles, and the Biden administration has made a push to get more EVs on U.S. roadways as quickly as possible.

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