GM promises 20 electric or fuel cell vehicles by ’23

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Auto giant General Motors said it will begin selling two new all-electric vehicles in the next 18 months and will have at least 20 new zero-emission electric vehicles in its lineup by 2023.

Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, making the announcement in Detroit, said the new cars are part of a sweeping plan to move toward an automotive world that of zero emissions, zero congestion and zero crashes.

The two new cars will be based on technology derived from the company’s Bolt EV, the 238-mile-range electric sedan that Chevrolet introduced late last year.

They will be plug-in electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that have no internal combustion engines and do not burn gasoline or emit harmful vapors from their tailpipes.

“GM is committed to a zero-emission future,” said the company’s advanced-technology spokesperson, Kevin Kelly. “We said the Bolt EV would be a platform for electric vehicles going forward. Today we are showing the next chapter of that.”

The new vehicles could be closer to SUVs or crossovers than standard passenger cars, Kelly said.

The company said it is developing a new fuel cell architecture that will allow twin electric motors, powered by compressed hydrogen, that could drive a heavy-duty truck, delivery vehicle or ambulance.

Analyst response was guardedly positive.

“General Motors has drawn a line in the sand: Its future will be all electric,” said Autotrader’s Michelle Krebs. However, GM was a little coy about what the new vehicles will be, and when they’ll start getting here.

“The automaker wisely gave no timeframe for when its full line of product would be electric because, frankly, no one knows how the EV future will evolve,” Krebs said.