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GM sees an electric future, but it'll take decades to get there

The automaker's CEO Mary Barra believes we won't see EVs displace traditional vehicles for decades.

Mary Barra
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Mary Barra
General Motors

is all-in on electric vehicles and the automaker has big plans to challenge traditional companies and rising stars like Tesla . Yet, it sounds like GM knows the world can't flip a switch and suddenly see demand for EVs skyrocket.

In fact, GM CEO Mary Barra believes it will take decades for EVs to become more common than cars with an internal-combustion engine under the hood. Barra made the comments during Bloomberg Television's Leadership Live program after a question about how long we have until all vehicles on the road are electric. Twenty years time is too soon, Barra said, but GM as a whole sees the process occurring slowly over time.

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Even though by the automaker's best estimate we won't see widespread EV sales until after 2040, GM continues to sink millions of dollars into electric cars

While the automaker only sells a single EV today, the Chevy Bolt EV, we'll see two more soon. An electric SUV, named the Lyriq, will likely debut this year, as will the GMC Hummer EV pickup truck. Eventually, a skateboard platform and GM's Ultium battery technology will underpin at least 20 new electric cars at GM.

But GM won't be the only one venturing into a world where automaker lineups increasingly squeeze in EVs. Volkswagen , Ford , and all have similar plans to continue introducing more EVs, even if US buyers aren't totally ready for them.

Watch this: AutoComplete looks at GM's EV Day announcements
Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.

Article updated on June 9, 2020 at 10:24 AM PDT

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Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
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