It’s a big risk but it might work
How much of a risk is it to make this claim about what the product mix will be in fifteen years? Plenty of time to change course if it turns out fossil fuel engines work better for some vehicles.
Yes, this is like politicians claiming they will achieve something in 15-20 years.
(They probably won’t be around then)
We should have commercially viable fusion reactors by then, yes? Yes?
On the contrary, this is precious little time to swing such a big ship. I’m sure the schedule was driven by the various governments that say they are going to ban the sales of gasoline vehicles about then. And it will change what research and development they fund starting now. Some of their product line could be converted fairly simply, some is going to take a lot of work. And they are going to have to redo their supply chain, their repair facilities, and support charging stations or else lose market share.
I’ve worked on some really big (billions of dollars) long term projects. Nothing compared to the size of this, though.
I think it is a great goal; let’s see what steps they make each year towards achieving it.
I think you’re exactly right. The ridiculous amount of capital expenditures and ridiculously long product development cycles are very characteristic of the auto industry.
They truly are the antithesis of ‘agile.’
They love to claim that they just “sell the vehicles that people want to buy,” but that’s rarely true. The above characteristics virtually ensure that they push rather than pull – they have to create the demand for the products that they sell, rather than try to create products to meet existing demand.
Which leads to such situations as the behemoth SUVs where sales really tanked, forcing significant lobbying dollars and efforts to increase the tax deductibility of the largest of these land yachts in order to bolster sales.
It’s a tough business, and definitely a tough one to forecast out for a decade or more. If the price of crude oil continues to basically rise, then this bet may be a winner.
But if oil gets cheap, then the American appetite for horsepower (and towable toys) could cause significant problems for GM with such a high stakes wager.
I think it’s a bold move and a good move. Whether or not it’s smart business is totally TBD.
ETA: another source for info about the tax deductibility of behemoth SUVs
Well, General Motors has been selling the Chevy Bolt for more than four years and from what I’ve heard, it’s a pretty good car. They could start by adapting the platform they already have for other models, like a small SUV. That seems to be what VW is doing; taking the same basic design and using it for various model types.
Right. 1.21 jigawatts of them…
Is it all electric, or just the cars and SUV’s? All their pickup trucks, too? Also, does GM make much large vehicles as well and if so, are they going electic?
Their statement talks about all “light-duty vehicles”, which presumably includes pickup trucks.
They make things on the scale of ambulances, box trucks, and dump trucks. But not long haul trucks. They used to make locomotives, but sold that division a few years ago.
I for one am looking forward to driving a all-electric Corvette. Giddy up.
Edit: I think the only way GM achieves this across it’s entire product lineup is by spinning off a handful of brands. The big industrial and commercial vehicles are almost certainly going to at least have some diesel engines still running in 15 years. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see GMC being spun off as the legacy ICE truck brand for the meathead climate deniers that are inevitable.
Some places, like the UK, say that they’re going to ban sales of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. The US president said that he wants all vehicles bought by the US government (hundreds of thousands of them) to be domestically produced zero-emissions vehicles. So yes, as @Voyager says, this is acknowledging what is being forced on them.
Tesla has talked about licensing their tech to others but I don’t think that has happened yet
I think that was an early plan, but they’ve largely scrapped that idea now they the money machine is cooking. I think the suggestion that they could license their tech was a line of shit they sold to investors back when people were freaking out about profitability.
Tesla’s patent pledge is still active.
I suspect no one has taken them up on it because the “good faith” requirement essentially acts as a cross-licensing agreement. I.e., don’t sue them and they won’t sue you. Existing automakers may have felt that the opportunity to sue Tesla in the future was worth more than their patent portfolio.
In practice, I haven’t seen any giant lawsuits like those in the computer industry. So they may just be passively agreeing that big lawsuits aren’t in anyone’s interest. Again like computers, I doubt it’s possible to build a significant product without stepping on some patent or other. But as long as everyone has a portfolio of their own, they can always threaten a counter-suit. I.e., mutually assured destruction.
I figure it’s simpler than that. No one who isn’t a start-up wants to be dependent on someone else. Software companies are killing themselves to divorce their products from any 3rd party IP. I figure the big automakers simply fear the unknown here, the lawyers see dragons everywhere. Licensing is not in their DNA.
Not Invented Here syndrome is certainly rampant everywhere. Sometimes for good reason.
There are a lot of truck guys that are very excited about the new EV hummer truck. I (just bought one) and most of my friends drive 3/4 ton pickups and we’ve been following it fairly closely. If they make a long bed version and it gets decent range when towing a lot of guys will switch their work trucks.
For my friends on ranches being able to charge at home is a big deal and will save them the hassel of dealing with deliveries of farm diesel and the construction workers don’t commute in their work truck so it’s all local driving perfect for an EV. Once you add in 1k hp, 5 sec 0-60 and huge amounts of torque it’s got most of what they need.
The off road guys like me are a tougher sell but Rivian (in a much smaller truck) and GM both are making their first offering off road focused and have me excited. I’ve got a deposit on the hummer but I ended up not being able to wait until fall.