Kicking off the recent GM Electrification Experience in San Francisco via a satellite broadcast, Mary Barra, senior vice president of Global Product Development, voiced unwavering support for the automaker's e-centric future product plans. "Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward," noted Barra, who sees their potential as being key to meeting the goal of having up to half a million GM vehicles with some form of electric power in the hands of customers by 2017.
In addressing various elements that will facilitate meeting that benchmark sales volume, Barra cited the importance of the development of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. "What started out as a technology proof point... has turned into a real-world starting point to push EV technology further and faster than we thought possible five years ago. The unique propulsion technology pioneered in the Volt - the same technology that will be featured in the Cadillac ELR - will be a core piece of our electrification strategy going forward."
While the upcoming 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV and other pure battery-powered models also will play an increasingly larger part in the overall game plan, Barra emphasized the fundamental importance of GM's eAssist system. This low-cost, "mild hybrid" package offered on the current Buick LaCrosse and Regal as well as the Chevrolet Malibu and on the new 2014 Impala when it debuts next year is expected to be part of the mileage-maxing/emissions reducing technology found on "hundreds of thousands of GM vehicles annually by 2017."