02/12/2021

Three questions with the Ulupono Initiative about General Motors' electric vehicle goals

February 12, 2021 - General Motors caused quite a stir nationally when it announced in late January that it had set a zero-emission goal for its vehicles by 2035.

GM has already committed to making 30 new electric vehicles by 2025, including an electric Hummer, thanks to improved battery technology.

The announcement was also felt by groups like the Ulupono Initiative, which monitors environmental and renewable energy progress locally. Hawaii's affinity for trucks and SUVs is well known, and a large-vehicle maker like GM committing to EVs turned heads.

According to the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, the share of "true trucks" in the market — mid size and full size SUVs, truck-based small SUVs, pickups, and vans — was at 43.8% in 2020, up 3.1% from 2016.

Hawaii market share of EVs in 2020 was 4.9%, up from 4.2% in 2019, according to HADA's data.

Greg Gaug, Ulupono's senior vice president of investments and analytics, heads up the group's EV initiatives. He recently spoke with PBN about the GM announcement and what it could mean for the local market.

What was your reaction when you heard the news about GM?

My initial reaction was, this is awesome. This is a leading automotive manufacturer in the U.S. that is taking a very strong and committed position to transition to zero-emission vehicles.

From a personal and professional standpoint, this is amazing progress to get that out of a traditional, legacy manufacturer that’s been around for decades and is also known for SUVs and large, arguably gas-guzzling vehicles.

For them to make such a commitment solidifies the fact that EVs are the future. The industry is transitioning.

And even historical industry manufacturers and players are seeing that and making the commitment to move in that direction. Those that don’t see that, and aren’t making that commitment, are going to be left behind and are going to be struggling as the world transitions to this zero-emission future.

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