GMs vision for a more sustainable and equitable future by Kristen Siemen

The Next 30 Years: GM’s Vision for a More Sustainable and Equitable Future

By Kristen Siemen, General Motors

 

 

Kristen Siemen GM - GreenMoneyOver two years ago, businesses were forced to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world experienced disruptions on a massive scale, which pushed companies like General Motors to find new and more tactical ways of doing business.

For GM, the pandemic became an opportunity for even more company-wide innovation. With the development and launch of electric vehicles like the Bolt EUV, the Cadillac LYRIQ and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, we showed ourselves and the world just how agile and creative we could be, even during a difficult and challenging time for everyone across the globe.

Today, we’re using what we’ve learned during these unprecedented times to propel forward our vision of an all-electric, more sustainable and more inclusive future.

Here’s what we see happening in the next 30 years.

Putting Everyone in an EV

We know climate change is an urgent priority, and we know EVs can be a critical part of the solution. It will take millions of new EVs hitting the road every year to reach the zero-emissions future we’re striving for.

Understanding that our customers want and need options, GM is addressing multiple aspects of what it takes to help put everyone in an EV, and we envision a future in which EVs fit a wide range of lifestyles and price points. We are rapidly building out our own batteries, software, manufacturing, and customer experience to make that a reality while also laying the critical foundations for customer education and charging infrastructure.

GM’s versatile Ultium platform provides the building blocks for everything, from mass market to high performance vehicles – all from a single, common cell in most markets and a set of interchangeable propulsion components. © 2020 Steve Fecht and General Motors

A key part of GM’s strategy is our Ultium EV Platform, a combined EV architecture and propulsion system, from which GM will quickly be able to scale a full lineup of ground-up EVs. Instead of designing a new battery system for each new EV, GM is using its Ultium Platform for many of its future EVs — from high-volume crossovers like the recently revealed 2024 Chevy Equinox EV at an estimated MSRP around $30,0001, to the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV pickup truck, Cadillac LYRIQ and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup. Ultium affords GM’s EVs competitive range and performance, sporty driving and will help expedite the company’s transition to an all-electric future.

GM has announced significant battery capacity expansion at four battery cell manufacturing plants and already has binding agreements securing many battery raw materials and precursors to support our goal of one million units of EV capacity in North America annually by 2025. We plan to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 and convert 50 percent of our manufacturing footprint to EV production by 2030.

GM 2024 Equinox Interior
General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra confirmed during her 2022 CES keynote address that Chevrolet will launch the Chevrolet Equinox EV in the 2024 model year. © 2020 Steve Fecht and General Motors

Because we can’t help everybody have access to an EV if we don’t ensure everybody has access to EV chargers, we’re building out charging infrastructure and creating a convenient charging experience with Ultium Charge 360. Ultium Charge 360, which gives customers access to more than 100,000 charging stalls in the U.S. and Canada through agreements with 11 different operators, GM vehicle mobile apps and other products and services, will make charging your EV at least as easy as filling up a tank of gas, if not even simpler.

Autonomizing Transportation

Imagine a world with no car crashes and no traffic, where you’re free to get around no matter your age, your stage of life or your physical capabilities. Self-driving vehicles offer promising potential to contribute to this future and support all three pillars of GM’s zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion vision.

GM is investing in Cruise, which became the first company to offer a fully driverless commercial ride-hailing service to the public in a major U.S. city. This first-of-its-kind service in San Francisco is provided in the fully autonomous Cruise AV, which is a zero-emission vehicle based on the Chevy Bolt EV. The Cruise AV has already logged over a quarter of a million driverless miles and thousands of driverless rides in San Francisco an effort to make the dream of self-driving a reality. The next step in GM and Cruise’s self-driving journey is the Cruise Origin, a purpose-built, zero-emission, shared autonomous vehicle designed to operate without a human driver. The Cruise Origin represents the pinnacle of GM’s leadership in automation, electrification and mobility.

Cruise AV, ©Bax+Towner

Cruise’s AVs represent a significant step in the journey towards achieving a zero-emissions future, in addition to offering accessible mobility options for seniors, people who are blind or have low vision and other communities that have traditionally faced barriers to accessing reliable transportation. Self-driving vehicles like these that remove the human driver aim to significantly reduce or eliminate the risks associated with human driver error, with the goal of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities on our roadways. GM and Cruise are working hard to deploy autonomous vehicles at scale to help create a safe, less-congested future for all.

HD Cruise Origin, ©Vasyl, stock.adobe.com

Electrifying Everything

Our vision of an all-electric future encompasses so much more than just personal electric vehicles; it even extends beyond the transportation industry. One of the things we are most excited about for the future is that we want to broaden the application of our technology to electrify everything: planes, trains, semi-trucks, boats, and more.

Through our hydrogen fuel cell technology, which is a great compliment to our Ultium batteries, we want to help other industries meet their clean energy targets.

We’ll aim to get there by leveraging both our Ultium Platform and our HYDROTEC fuel cell power cube.

Ultium’s capacity to power many types of vehicles is already being proven with BrightDrop, a connected ecosystem of electrified delivery products and fleet management services helping make last-mile deliveries smarter, safer and more efficient. HYDROTEC fuel cell generators could ultimately replace diesel-burning generators with fewer emissions at worksites, buildings, movie sets, data centers, outdoor concerts and festivals. They could also back up or temporarily replace grid-sourced electricity for residential and small commercial enterprises at times of power disruption.

Innovation in how we use these platforms will help extend the zero-emissions mission across land, air and sea.

Cadillac LYRIQ pairs next-generation battery technology with a bold design statement which introduces a new face, proportion and presence for the brand’s new generation of EVs. © 2020 Steve Fecht and General Motors

Prioritizing an Equitable, All-Electric Future

We recognize that no two communities experience climate change in the same way and that some are more vulnerable to climate impacts or lack the resources to fully participate in and benefit from the transition to a more sustainable future. As the effects of climate change take hold across the globe, it has never been more urgent to ensure our sustainability solutions are guided by inclusion and equity.

We envision an all-electric transition that includes our current and future workforce, customers and communities that may be more likely to experience the impact of climate change disproportionately. At GM, that means prioritizing Equitable Climate Action.

GM’s Equitable Climate Action initiative is rooted in four key areas:

  • The Future of Work – This includes our current workforce and the pipeline of future talent. We will help our current workforce transition to an all-electric future, and we will help support the future workforce as the market shifts to more clean energy jobs through education, training and investments in STEM.
  • EV Access – We want to put everyone into EVs, so we’ll offer a wide selection of EVs across a range of price points. GM was the first company to introduce an affordable, high mileage EV with the Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2017, and that vehicle is now more affordable than ever. We believe this will increase EV accessibility and adoption so more consumers can enjoy the benefits of affordable EV ownership.
  • Infrastructure Equity – We want to see ubiquitous charging solutions that can help meet customer needs wherever they are. We must address concerns about charging deserts and other scenarios that can hinder EV ownership and are working with our dealers and 3rd parties to accomplish this.
  • Climate Equity – We are committed to helping fund organizations that are closing the climate equity gap at the community level and across these four key areas. Through our $50 million Climate Equity Fund, to date we’re working with a total of 39 grantees to accelerate the transition to an inclusive zero-emissions mobility future.
Cadillac Lyriq-GM
Cadillac LYRIQ pairs next-generation battery technology with a bold design statement which introduces a new face, proportion and presence for the brand’s new generation of EVs. © 2020 Steve Fecht and General Motors

It’s no secret — GM is driving towards an all-electric, more sustainable future and moving faster than ever. We’re committed to driving the industry forward with a range of EVs in several sizes and styles that meet customers where they are on price, while prioritizing sustainable solutions, diversity, equity and inclusion as we transition.

Our sights are set on continuing to excite and inspire everyone about the road ahead and we know that our culture, strong values, robust strategies and proven execution will allow us to accelerate towards the promise of a more equitable, all-electric future, together.

 

Article by Kristen Siemen  Appointed to Chief Sustainability Officer in February 2021, Kristen Siemen helps to lead General Motors to a future with zero emissions as the company continues to take bold actions against climate change, including GM’s commitment to become carbon neutral in its products and operations by 2040. Under Siemen’s leadership, GM has received numerous recognitions including JUST Capital’s MOST JUST Companies, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Gold Class for corporate sustainability leadership, and Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies for demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to business integrity.

Siemen is also passionate about promoting inclusion and gender equality. She was instrumental in creating GM’s career reentry program, “Take 2,” serves as GM’s key executive for the Society of Women Engineers and is the co-lead for the GM Women Ally Program. Since transitioning into her role as CSO, Siemen has garnered several individual recognitions for exemplary leadership, most notably including Crain’s Notable Leaders in Sustainability, Future 50 Tech, and Sustainability Mag’s Top 100 Women in Sustainability. Siemen serves on the Oakland University School of Engineering & Computer Science Advisory Board, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Footnote:
[1] MSRP excludes DFC, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment and is subject to change.

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