EV Sales and the End of the Internal Combustion Engine



A Chevy Bolt parks next to a Tesla. Photo by Steve Rainwater

General Motors Chair, Mary Barra, announced on Thursday, January 28th that GM will completely phase out the manufacturer of vehicles using internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. The auto company is ahead of the pack committing to phase out all gas and diesel for light-duty vehicles, cars, pickups, and SUVs. GM plans to invest $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025. It’s the end of ICE cars!

Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) have served us well for some 160 years, powering our cars, planes, ships, and more. Karl Benz had the patent for the world’s first car powered with a gas combustion engine in 1886. Today, however, ICE cars are nearing extinction, obsolescence is on the horizon. Powerful and macho — they don’t work well in a carbon-conscious world. Internal combustion engines have four strokes: intake, compression, power, and exhaust. The last spells their demise. Meanwhile, Bloomberg NEF reports that the cost of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) has dropped 87% from 2010 to 2019. The writing is on the wall as one technology falls and the other rises.

Chevy Bolt Leading a New Generation

GM wants market share in the growing EV space, and is no doubt keen on tackling Tesla while fending off other EV upstarts including Rivian. GM produced its first “long-range” battery electric vehicle in 2016, the Bolt. It has been competing nicely with the Tesla Model 3; the Bolt being sold at less cost while offering similar performance.

GM is working in partnership with LG Chem to drive down costs further. By opening a new plant in Ohio to manufacture its new Ultium batteries, GM hopes to cut the costs of its Bolts by another $4,000.

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