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General Motors pushes for National Zero Emissions Program

Key Points
  • GM is submitting recommendations for a zero emissions vehicle program to be adopted across all 50 states.
  • The firm wants to see framework introduced from 2021 to ensure the U.S. is a world leader in electric vehicle use and development.
  • Its proposed program could see CO2 emissions fall by 375 million tons in just over a decade.
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General Motors is pushing for a National Zero Emissions Program to be adopted across all 50 states from 2021.

On Friday the automotive firm will file its proposed scheme – which could add more than 7 million electric vehicles to U.S. roads by 2030 – to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The two agencies are currently accepting comments on a proposed Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles regulation. Together, they are looking to amend fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks, covering model years 2021 to 2026.

Recommended framework

Alongside environmental considerations, GM's national program would aim to "preserve U.S. industrial leadership for years to come."

The company said it anticipated that the program had the potential to place more than 7 million long-range electric vehicles on the road by 2030. If achieved, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 375 million tons between 2021 and 2030.

Modelled on California's Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Program, GM's proposal provides several framework recommendations, such as establishing annual zero emissions vehicle requirements. This would start at 7 percent in 2021 and rise by 2 percent each year, bringing the requirement to 25 percent by 2030.

The firm also recommended the introduction of requirements after 2025 that would make electric vehicle batteries commercially viable – proposing a cost of $70 per kilowatt hour and the development of sufficient infrastructure to support the use and manufacturing of the vehicles.

The establishment of a Zero Emissions Task Force was an additional recommendation, as well as developing electric vehicles in self-driving vehicle projects.

GM suggested that the program should be terminated when its 25 percent target was met, unless it was concluded that the battery cost or infrastructure targets were not practicable within the recommended timeframe.

GM's 'bold vision'

Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president and president of the firm's Global Product Group and Cadillac, said the nationwide program aligned with the company's wider ambitions.

"General Motors has a vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. This is a bold vision and getting there will take bold actions," he said in a statement on Friday.

"We believe in a policy approach that better promotes U.S. innovation and starts a much needed national discussion on electric vehicle development and deployment in this country. A National Zero Emissions Program will drive the scale and infrastructure investments needed to allow the U.S. to lead the way to a zero emissions future."