Meanwhile, Ford and Toyota have a different opinion on the matter.
The auto industry is changing rapidly as it moves away from conventionally powered vehicles with pure internal combustion engines to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electrics. On top of that, autonomous driving technology continues to move forward and ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft provided a business model that could all but eliminate private vehicle ownership. Automakers must adapt or else. Some, such as Ford and Toyota, believe a product strategy involving hybrids is essential, alongside EVs and other related mobility technologies. GM and Volkswagen, however, have a different view of things.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, GM president Mark Reuss made clear his company's decision to drop hybrids and PHEVs, specifically the Chevrolet Volt, and proceed with an EV future.
Reuss and co. believe EVs will one day take over. "If I had a dollar more to invest, would I spend it on a hybrid? Or would I spend it on the answer that we all know is going to happen, and get there faster and better than anybody else," he said. Reuss makes an excellent point. Toyota likes hybrids (heck, the Prius started the whole hybrid thing) because they not only help to reduce carbon emissions, but are also cheaper to build and, therefore, cheaper to sell. In short, Toyota thinks it can contribute more to the environment by selling affordable hybrids instead of pricier EVs.
Meanwhile, Ford also has its own hybrid plans, including the F-150 Hybrid. One Ford engineer stated that the automaker does not want buyers who want a green vehicle to automatically be forced to buy an EV which, again, are currently more expensive than hybrids and typically have more limited range.
Volkswagen, however, shares GM's view on this matter. "Our strong performance is to go all-in where the market is heading, as opposed to hybrids as a way to hedge our bets," said VW America CEO Scott Keogh.
So, which automakers have the correct strategy? Well, it will probably boil down to how much EVs will cost. If GM and VW can manage to bring down the EV price tag to a figure that's both affordable and profitable - as well as providing sufficient range - then they win. If not, then both will have to offer new hybrids in order to meet stringent 2025 government emissions standards.
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