Back in July, Machine Design reported on how Europe was pulling away from the U.S. in the electric vehicle market in conjunction with clear market indications that future was in electric vehicles. According to previous market research from IDTechEx, the electric car industry is set to become a $731 billion market by 2027. Meanwhile, the autonomous vehicle industry is set to become a $127 billion industry by 2027, according to a recent market report from Research and Markets.
Major European countries like France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all committed to banning the sale of gas and diesel cars. There have also been several hints that China, which represents the world’s largest car market, and India will soon jump on the “banning gas vehicles” bandwagon. Major foreign car manufacturers like Volvo and Aston Martin have already committed to halt production of gas cars in the coming decade.
Back in the States, it appears that General Motors and Ford may have finally taken notice. Over the past few days, both companies have announced new expansion plans for their electric vehicle lineups. GM released a press release on Monday revealing that two new all-electric vehicles will be introduced into the market over the next 18 months. Both will be based off of learned experiences from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
These will be the first of an all-electric line up in which 20 vehicles in total will be launched by 2023. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”
The all-electric conversion will consist of two major changes: focusing on battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell power. The exact plan of reaching 20 zero-emission vehicles is still being developed, but a GM spokesperson reached out to Jalopnik and reaffirmed the company’s desire to be part of the electric market: “On the infrastructure piece, there are over 1,100 DC Fast chargers in the U.S. that our vehicles can use, a 42% increase in the past 12 months, and we will play a role in accelerating the rollout of additional DC Fast Chargers for our customers.”
On the heels of GM’s announcement, Ford released a similar call to arms by creating a new “Team Edison” to advance electric vehicle design. In January, then-President and CEO Mark Fields announced plans to invest $700 million into the company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan. The purpose was to build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental.
The move was part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles Ford is making between now and 2020, which would result in the expansion of 700 direct new jobs. Ford committed to launching 13 new global electrified vehicles in the next five years, including the F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid, and Transit Custom plug-in hybrid. Sherif Marakby, vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, said that the idea of Team Edison is to think big and move quicker on decisions regarding EV production as demand increases and technology advances.
Current President and CEO Jim Hackett laid out a new plan to cut back on gas car production and push the electric car effort. The plan calls for material cost cuts by $10 billion and engineering expenses by $4 billion over five years and shifting $7 billion of capital costs from cars to SUVs and trucks. The plans relies on partnerships such as its recently announced alliance with India’s Mahindra Group. The goal of the new plan is to help its previous goal of delivering 13 new electric vehicle models in the next five years.