General Motors is revisiting its stance on hybrid technology, announcing a shift in its product lineup strategy to include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The revelation was made by GM CEO Mary Barra during an investor briefing on Tuesday.
This change marks a departure from GM's earlier position, notably in 2018, when the company's President, Mark Reuss, declared that GM would not invest in hybrids, emphasizing a focus on battery electric vehicles. Three years later, in an interview with The Washington Post, Reuss said the automaker had decided “a couple of years ago that we weren't going to get into a large hybrid or plug-in hybrid play but rather go right to pure battery electric vehicles.”
Gallery: 2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier
However, the landscape has evolved since then, prompting GM to reconsider its approach. While Barra did not disclose detailed plans, she indicated that PHEVs would be introduced on "select vehicles" in North America. The decision is driven by the need to comply with increasingly stringent federal fuel economy regulations.
During the quarterly and 2023 earnings call, Barra reassured investors and the public that GM remains committed to its goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles by 2035. However, the interim strategy involves deploying plug-in technology strategically in specific segments. Barra highlighted the environmental benefits of PHEVs, citing their contribution to reducing emissions as the nation continues to build the necessary charging infrastructure.
"We know the EV market is not going to grow linearly," GM's CFO Paul Jacobson added. "We are prepared to flex between ICE and EV production."
Barra also hinted at leveraging plug-in hybrid technology that GM has successfully implemented overseas, particularly in countries like China. Currently, the only hybrid option offered by GM in the United States is a traditional hybrid version of the Chevrolet Corvette. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured in the gallery) was discontinued in 2019 and is the company's last plug-in hybrid to date. The manufacturer is also facing some issues with its new generation electric vehicles, including a stop-sale order for the Chevy Blazer EV from December last year.