In January, GM became the first large US auto manufacturer to commit to stop manufacturing gasoline-powered passenger cars and switching entirely to zero emissions vehicles for passenger cars, vans, and SUVs by 2035. The news made a major splash around the world. GM also committed to making its facilities neutral by 2040. As we reported back in 2017, GM had planned to introduce 20 new EVs by 2023. GM announced this year it will up that number, planning to will launch 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025 in its process towards its all-electric fleet.
Now, more automakers are following suit. Audi is the latest automaker to announced that it plans to end launches of new gas-powered engines in 2026. In the early 2030s, Audi plans to switch entirely to electric vehicles. Honda also announced it will phase out sales of gas-powered vehicles in 2040. Honda previously partnered with GM on battery technology. Ford committed to electrifying 40% of its vehicles by 2030.
These automakers collectively own a large percentage of the US market, and will have a major impact on emissions and vehicle trends in the US. Bloomberg estimates that EVs will be 58% of global passenger vehicle sales by 2040.
Infrastructure will need to catch up by then. As recent news reports highlighted, gas stations are not in a hurry to switch to, or even add, charging stations. Charging times will need to speed up significantly with broader uptake of vehicles.
Dealers will also need to work to transition to electric vehicles—everything from training service technicians and serving both gasoline and electric vehicles for a lengthy period of time, to working with their sales teams on the different benefits and features important to EV buyers. With automakers’ commitments, that effort to shift resources, investments, and training will be shifting into overdrive.
© 2021 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 175