In recent years automakers were divided about emissions requirements, with some supporting the easier, less stringent requirements set by the Trump administration while others sided with California and its tougher mandates.
As time has gone on, some companies have switched sides on the debate, perhaps most notably General Motors. With its focus on shifting to an all-electric line-up by the end of the decade, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that GM would now fall in line with the tougher rules.
However, the Detroit-based auto company now wants some flexibility in trying to meet what’s expected to be a tougher standard from the now-in-charge Biden administration. The proposed carbon emissions rules as well as fuel economy standards are expected to be revealed in July.
CEO Mary Barra made her pitch for some wiggle room in meeting the now through 2026 rules in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan.
That letter was followed by a phone call between the pair, according to Reuters, which noted that similar calls were held with leaders of Stellantis and Toyota on Monday.
“These conversations have been constructive as the agency moves forward on actions to address emissions from cars and light duty trucks,” EPA spokesman Nick Conger told Reuters.
Barra’s proposal is basically a “give a little now, but get a lot more later” type of set up. The CEO proposes keeping the Trump-proposed targets in place for the next two years, convert to California’s 2023 requirement for 2023 and finally exceed the Golden State’s mandate for 2024-2026.
This would allow automakers some time to ramp up to a tougher set of requirements without penalizing them since they were all geared toward the Trump administration numbers. However, it would also force automakers to meet California’s tougher emissions-reduction mandate for the 2020-2026 timeframe.
But wait, there’s more!
Since most automakers are implementing aggressive zero-emissions vehicle plans, the vast majority centering on electric vehicles, the trend line would put them on a glidepath to meet even more difficult rules that essentially force automakers to be all-electric — or zero emission — by the end of the next round of requirements from 2027-2035, she posited.
“We believe an electric vehicle compliance pathway is a key component to setting the industry on an irreversible path towards a zero-emissions future, which can only be achieved with a tailpipe-free light duty fleet,” Barra wrote, according to the Reuters report.
It certainly fits in Barra’s plans for GM, which is investing $27 billion to produce 30 new all-electric vehicles by 2025 with a bigger goal to eliminate tailpipe emissions from all GM vehicles by 2035. That push started with the Chevrolet Bolt, which is now in its second generation, and is being followed up with the GMC Hummer electric truck and SUV as well as the Cadillac Lyriq by the first quarter of next year and more to come after that.