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GM to introduce two new electric cars in the next 18 months

03 October 2017

Shares of General Motors (NYSE: GM) jumped on Monday, after the Detroit auto giant announced that it had an expanded electric-vehicle development program well underway.

"General Motors believes in an all-electric future", said Mark Reuss, the executive vice president who oversees purchasing and supply chain operations, as well as product development. Carmakers have apparently gotten the electrification message and many have recently announced major electrified additions to their fleets over the next several years.

The biggest USA automaker said it will introduce within 18 months two new models built on the learnings of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which was launched in December 2016. And he said GM did not expect to be hurt financially by a move toward electric models, which can carry higher price tags than comparably sized gasoline-powered vehicles.

General Motors is going all electric.

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To that end, the company revealed a design for a new heavy-duty vehicle platform that would be powered by fuel-cell and dual electric motors, called "SURUS", or "Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure".

There have been a lot of new pushes to take the electric cars to the next level. Musk has said Tesla plans to produce 500,000 electric cars annually by the end of 2018, and 1 million by 2020, though so far it operates just one factory, the former GM-Toyota joint venture that never built more than 430,000 per year. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance-all emissions free.

The automaker said arriving at a "zero emissions future" will require a two-pronged approach - battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric depending vehicles.

The company wouldn't allow photographs of the vehicles, and it wouldn't say if any of the vehicles it showed were the ones coming in the next 18 months.

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GM's announcement is the latest in a string of statements from big automakers promising a broad transition to electric vehicles over the next decade or so.

GM has set up a joint venture with Honda (NYSE: HMC) to mass-produce fuel cells at a facility in MI.

The company plans to offer a fuel cell vehicle to retail customers within five years, it said. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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GM to introduce two new electric cars in the next 18 months