Mary Barra says GM plans to boost production of its Chevrolet Bolt in response to strong demand, and called on Congress to expand the federal EV tax credit. “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefit going forward,” Barra told an energy conference in Houston. “We believe in an all-electric future.”
The $7,500 credit phases out over a 12-month-period once an automaker surpasses 200,000 deliveries. GM has sold more than 160,000 plug-in vehicles to date, and is expected to pass the 200k milestone later this year.
GM sold about 26,000 Bolts worldwide last year, mostly in the US. It plans to boost production later this year at an assembly plant north of Detroit, but declined to say by how much.
After a nail-biting few weeks, Congress opted not to kill the tax credit as part of its tax cut package in December, but another threat to the nascent EV industry is looming. Automakers have been lobbying for the federal fuel efficiency standards for model years 2022 through 2025 to be relaxed, a proposal that is receiving a warm welcome in Washington. The EPA must decide on April 1 whether to review the standards, and the administration is expected to propose a significant reduction in the requirements.
Ms. Barra said that any new standards should take the trend toward ride-sharing into account. “We also feel the regulations need to comprehend new developments in the industry – like the move away from one owner, one vehicle – that have taken place since the rule was finalized in 2012. Current standards did not comprehend increased shared and autonomous electric vehicles.”
However, she added that GM’s “commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future is unwavering, regardless of any modifications to future fuel economy standards.”