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GM turns to China for electric vehicle production

GM is bringing the Chevy Volt to China as the Buick Velite 5. It was announced last year, but they officially debuted the vehicle in Shanghai this week.

The company also confirmed that they plan to start manufacturing all-electric vehicles in China within two years.

Matt Tsien, president of GM China, made the announcement during a news conference at the Shanghai auto show. AP reported:

“He said GM expects annual sales of 150,000 electric and hybrid cars in China by 2020 and possibly in excess of 500,000 by 2025.”

The Buick Velite 5 will be part of that and it will be manufactured in China.

An all-electric vehicle will follow by 2019 and 10 new electric (BEVs and PHEVs) cars by 2020. Tsien continued:

“In the next several years, out to 2020, we expect to launch at least 10 new energy vehicles into the marketplace. We have a pipeline that is going to materialize, that’s going to put us in a very good position from a fuel economy requirement perspective.”

Those are pretty significant commitments – bigger than in the US and like Tsien said, it’s in preparation for the fuel economy requirements, which GM is trying to get the EPA to review down in the US because like in China, they can’t meet them.

In China, automakers need electric vehicles to represent at least 8% of their sales in 2018, 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

Last year, GM sold almost 4 million vehicles in China, which means that if they want to follow the requirements, they will have to sell more EVs in China in 2019 alone than they have cumulatively around the world over the past decade.

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