For GM and Volkswagen, the hybrid car is, or will soon be, a thing of the past. The two automakers stated this week they simply don’t believe in a long-term future for hybrid systems, and they are focusing mainly on all-electric vehicles to tackle the quickly changing global markets.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, executives from both companies affirmed that full-on EVs are a better long-term strategy, in part because it will allow them to attain fuel-efficiency norms for the whole of their vehicle lineups more easily.
"Our strong preference is to go all-in where the market is heading, as opposed to hybrids as a way to hedge our bets."
- VW of America CEO Scott Keogh
GM big boss Mark Reuss made largely the same point, saying that it’s better to invest money and resources in “the answer that we all know is going to happen.” The company is counting on this approach to help it attain a leading role in the movement towards electric mobility.
Industry-wide, of course, there’s no real consensus on the way to go. Some like GM and believe that consumers, once they do accept the reality and possibilities of electric power in their car, are more likely to take the bigger leap to all-electrics rather than rely on some temporary solution they feel will be outdated within a few years. Others are more skeptical, and see vehicles with hybrid systems as a crucial transitional step that will allow the industry – and consumers - to get to an all-electric future.
And then there are those who are hedging their bets:
"We can't say to the customer 'You have to take an all-electric vehicle'.”
- Ford powertrain engineering VP Dave Filipe
That company’s strategy is to work on development of a hybrid version of its F-150 truck, at the same time as it’s planning to produce an all-electric pickup. In its view, the two solutions can clearly coexist.