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GM plans to drive $35 billion into zero-emission vehicles

GMC Hummer Electric

The GMC Hummer EV pickup goes through rigorous off-road testing on challenging trails near Moab, Utah in the lead-up to its production debut in fall 2021.

GM

General Motors has announced a dramatic increase in its planned investment in electric and autonomous vehicles, pledging to spend $35 billion in support of the transition to zero- and low-emission vehicles over the next five years.

Announcing the new investment strategy last last week, the U.S. auto giant said it had increased its planned investment by 75 percent compared to its initial electric vehicle (EV) strategy, announced prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are investing aggressively in a comprehensive and highly integrated plan to make sure that GM leads in all aspects of the transformation to a more sustainable future," said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. "GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio."

The investments will focus on accelerating the development of GM's Ultium battery platform, Hydrotec fuel cells and Cruise autonomous vehicle (AV) concept, which GM hopes will make it the first company to "safely commercialize self-driving technology at scale."

Barra said the dramatic ramping up of investment was in direct response to fast-accelerating market and policy trends. "There is a strong and growing conviction among our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, unions and investors, as well as policymakers, that electric vehicles and self-driving technology are the keys to a cleaner, safer world for all," she argued.

The new plan marks the third time in a little over the year that the company has increased its investment in EV development. In March 2020 it announced plans to invest $20 billion from 2020 through 2025, including capital, engineering expenses and other development costs, to accelerate its transition to EVs and AVs. Then in November, GM announced it would increase the planned investment program to $27 billion.

GM's announcement is the latest in a string of similar moves from many of the world's leading auto brands, with the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo and others all announcing multi-billion dollar EV development investments in support of plans to decarbonize their fleets over the coming decades.

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