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General Motors to ramp up electric vehicle plans, 20 new models planned over next 6 years

  • General Motors has long tried to position itself as a leader in electric vehicles.
  • The automaker plans to roll out 20 all-electric vehicles over the next six years.
  • Two new EVs will be launched within the next 18 months.
Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), stands next to a Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving test car while speaking during a news conference at GM's headquarters in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.
Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), stands next to a Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving test car while speaking during a news conference at GM's headquarters in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

General Motors, which has long tried to position itself as a leader in electric vehicles, is planning to roll out up to 20 all-electric vehicles over the next six years, including two new EVs in the next 18 months.

"General Motors believes in an all-electric future," said Mark Reuss, General Motors 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 company's all-electric Chevy Bolt went on sale earlier this year in California and select markets and has recently begun nationwide sales. With a starting price of $36,620 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Bolt has been hailed by GM as the car that will show mass-market buyers are ready to go all-electric.

This year, GM has sold just under 12,000 Bolts in the U.S.

GM's move comes one day ahead of Ford CEO Jim Hackett outlining his plan for transforming his company. That strategy is expected to include a substantial investment into developing electric vehicles.

Ahead of Hackett's presentation to analysts, the automaker said it has formed "Team Edison" to speed up development and implementation of electric vehicles.

The announcements by Ford and GM follow similar moves by other automakers like Volvo and Volkswagen, which plan to rapidly expand their line-up of electric vehicles.

The surge in EV development is partly due to the commitments some countries have made to ban the sale of new gas- or diesel-powered vehicles two or three decades from now. Among them is China, which is reportedly looking at banning the sale of fossil fuel vehicles after 2030.

Another factor is the falling cost of EV batteries.

When asked about the impact of GM's EV plan on the bottom line, Reuss said "it will be profitable."

The GM news comes as the company's stock surged to an all-time high after a Deutsche Bank research note said its meeting with GM management "confirmed" expectations that the automaker was poised to launch self-driving vehicles soon.