HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A major move by Michigan car giant General Motors has the automotive industry ramping up for the future.
GM announced Thursday its going all-electric by 2035, meaning in about 14 years, the automotive company will no longer make gas-powered cars.
While this announcement may have caught consumers by surprise, auto analyst Mike Wall with IHS Markit told News 8 automakers and suppliers have already begun preparing for this change.
“There’s the shock value of 2035,” Wall said. “We’re going to go all electric, but the reality is General Motors has been marching along this strategy for some time now.”
Wall said auto manufacturers know they’ll have to adapt to survive and that most have already started to pivot toward an all-electric future.
“If we talk about it from West Michigan and West Michigan suppliers, I’ve got a lot of suppliers that I work with … (that) really do supply a lot of internal combustion (work),” Wall said. “But do you want to know what else they’re doing? They’re going after a lot of that electric vehicle activity and electric vehicle business.”
In Holland, one manufacturing plant is ahead of the curve. LG Energy Solution, formerly known as LG Chem, has a facility there that exclusively produces automotive batteries — the same ones used in GM’s current electric vehicles.
Officials with LG Energy Solution’s Holland plant told News 8 they’re excited about this forward momentum, seeing this as an opportunity for growth as they’re looking to add 200 team members over the next two months.
While all-electric vehicles currently make up less than 5% of GM’s overall fleet, Wall said that’ll soon change.
“2035 may seem like a long way away … but the reality is that’s only about two vehicle cycles, in terms of vehicle redesigns,” he said.
In the meantime, consumers will also have to adapt as many drivers are still coming around to the idea of buying an all-electric vehicle.
“We all hear about when you get an electric vehicle … you don’t have a charging infrastructure on every corner — yet,” Wall said.
A spokesperson for United Auto Workers also responding to GM’s announcement, sending News 8 the following statement:
“UAW members have never shied away from working with new technology. That is why the UAW has been working closely with President Biden’s Transition Team and now the Administration on policies regarding the long-term development of Electric Vehicles in the marketplace. Even with these new product goals, it will be some time before the transition occurs. But the important thing is that President Biden agrees with our position that any new jobs replacing combustible engines are union wage and benefit jobs that are created right here in the U.S. And we believe the Detroit-3 will locate these new products right here in the U.S.”