Things are changing over at General Motors, and we aren’t just talking about the logo. America’s largest automaker is fully embracing the idea of a fully electric future, with plans to invest some $27 billion in EV and autonomous vehicle development over the next five years. This investment promises to bring some 30 new electric vehicles to the global market by mid-decade, utterly transforming the lineup we see on offer today. But GM’s plans aren’t limited to building cars as it seems, as the company has just announced that they plan to be carbon neutral by 2040.
According to the company statement, General Motors has teamed up with the folks at the Environmental Defense Fund and the Business Ambition Pledge for 1.5⁰C in order to plan out this transition. The plan starts by decarbonizing the current General Motors lineup, as 75 percent of their emissions footprint comes from their light-duty vehicles. GM noted in the announcement that 40 percent of the company’s U.S. models will be electric vehicles by the end of 2025, which should help to curb this figure.
“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” said Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”
Of course selling exclusively electric vehicles doesn’t entirely remove a company’s carbon footprint. In order to tackle the decarbonizing challenge on the manufacturing side, General Motors has accelerated their timeline for using renewable energy at their plants. The automaker states that they will now source 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S. sites by 2030, and its global sites by 2035.
GM has also teamed up with EVgo in order to triple the size of the United States’ largest public fast charging network. The partners plan to install some 2,700 new fast chargers by the end of 2025, all of which are slated to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. They hope that this will help to speed up EV adoption across the country.
This move by General Motors is significant, as it may spell the future for the rest of the industry. That said, there are still a few issues that automakers are going to need to work out. Last time we checked, GM still uses ships to move vehicles across the ocean, which is responsible for an enormous amount of pollution. Then there is the issue of carbon offsets and credits, which allow automakers to fudge their actual emissions figures. The automaker says they plan to use these credits sparingly, but we wonder how many of those will go towards the supply chain’s dirty behavior. It may be a little while before the world actually sees a carbon neutral automaker, but that day is coming.