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GM “Aspiring” To Stop Gas Powered SUV, Light-Duty Vehicle Sales

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
GM “Aspiring” To Stop Gas Powered SUV, Light-Duty Vehicle Sales

General Motors is signaling its desire to stop selling gas and diesel powered SUV’s and light-duty passenger vehicles by 2035.

Tennessee Tech Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Pingen Chen said we are in the early stages of electric vehicles. However, he sees a number of barriers before a full transition can occur.

Chen said for one, changing infrastructure to manufacture the volume of batteries needed.

“I think the real challenge is coming from the manufacturing side,” Chen said. “If you look at the volume of vehicles sold every year in the United States and how many electric vehicles can be manufactured in the United States and they didn’t match up.”

Chen said we will see a ramp up of electric vehicles in the automotive marketplace, but gas powered and hybrid vehicles will still be in the market for decades to come. He said perceptions will need to shift in the public about buying an electric vehicle.

“How perceive electric vehicles, may not be exactly right,” Chen said. “Electric vehicles are historically considered as luxury vehicles, like Tesla. A lot of people really consider electric vehicles as expensive as Tesla. However, the market shows that a lot of electric vehicle is as affordable as a lot of conventional vehicles. So, we need to change the perception of electric vehicle, it is not just a luxury vehicle. It can be a daily commute car.”

Chen said electric vehicles are seeing a growth in popularity in major cities and in Europe. However, he said Tennessee Tech is working to provide more education on these vehicles around the Upper Cumberland.

“We launched an electric vehicle pilot demonstration project in the Upper Cumberland region,” Chen said. “We are trying to provide general education to our community. Regarding how electric vehicles operate, how the charging of an electric vehicle is done. And what are the benefits, what are the lessons we can learn from electric vehicle operation. A lot of these things need to be provided to our community to help them change their perception actually, to reflect the current vehicle technology.”

Chen said that he does expect all automotive manufacturers to be selling electric vehicles at some point. Chen said that American manufacturers like GM got into this market early with the Chevrolet Volt. However, more are making the transition, like Ford with its Mustang Mach-E SUV.


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