Today’s Pickup: GM ditching combustion engine in favor of electric, fuel cells

Good day,

General Motors is joining the growing list of automakers that are divorcing themselves from gas and diesel and building an electric future. The company announced yesterday that it will stop developing new gas-powered vehicles and instead will invest in electric and fuel-cell vehicles, including a truck platform that could potentially serve as a package delivery vehicle in last-mile operations.

 “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

GM said it will introduce two electric vehicles in 2018 and 18 additional electric models by 2023. The announcement also included the SURUS – the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. SURUS is a fuel cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance — all emissions free, GM said.

Did you know?

According to the Institute for Energy Research, if electric vehicle sales reached 20% of all new vehicle saves by 2030, the government would collect $3 billion less in fuel taxes. If that number reaches 60%, there would be $10 billion less.


“The new 4PL providers can conquer the market using the power of modern IT while exposing themselves to only minor risk. The software required to manage all the various stakeholders was once a barrier, but all that has changed: Register, customize, and you’re good to go – including end-to-end visibility.”

Frauke Heistermann, chief digitalization officer, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, on the rise of 4PLs – businesses that manage supply chains without using their own physical assets

In other news:

ATA supports maintaining cross-border trucking program

The American Trucking Associations has sent a letter to Congress supporting the continued inclusion of cross-border trucking program with Mexico in NAFTA talks. (Fleet Owner)

Manufacturing activity reaches new high

The Institute for Supply Management said its September index of manufacturing activity rose to 60.8, its highest reading since May 2004. Any reading over 50 indicates manufacturing expansion. (Wall Street Journal)

Diesel prices nudge up

Diesel prices for the week ending Oct. 2 moved up slightly, rising four-tenths of a cent to $2.729. (LandLine Magazine)

The growth of the 4PL

According to a report from AXIT, 4PLS – those businesses that manage supply chains without any of their own assets – will grow in popularity due to digitization. (Inbound Logistics)

NFI grows port presence with acquisition of California Cartage

NFI Industries has acquired California Cartage, a large container company serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. (Transport Topics)

Final Thoughts

News that GM will develop a fuel-cell powered truck platform is potentially good news for companies working in last-mile delivery. While hydrogen infrastructure is limited, these companies could benefit from onsite filling that gives them additional last-mile vehicle options. 

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.