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BusinessFuelNewsTruckingTrucking Regulation

In reversal, General Motors withdraws support for Trump emissions rollbacks

One of the world’s largest OEMs to back California and Biden transportation electrification agendas

General Motors (NYSE: GM) will no longer support President Donald Trump’s battle to roll back California’s fuel economy rules designed to slow global warming, CEO Mary Barra wrote in a letter on Monday.

In the correspondence, delivered to leaders of environmental groups, Barra sided with  President-elect Joe Biden, who has expressed strong support for vehicle electrification.

“President-elect Biden recently said, ‘I believe that we can own the 21st century car market again by moving to electric vehicles.’ We at General Motors couldn’t agree more,” Barra wrote.

Barra said GM is withdrawing support for a Trump lawsuit that aims to undercut California’s ability to set its own fuel economy standards.

“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions.

“We are confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future. To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the pre-emption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

In October 2019, GM had joined Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and other automakers in backing the Trump administration in its attempt to prevent California from setting its own auto emission standards.

Today’s letter comes less than one week after Barra said during the Barclays Global Automotive Conference that the OEM would ramp up its electrification goals, and bring to market 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade. 

GM had previously said it would bring 20 electric models to market by 2023.

The company’s truck electrification plans include ongoing negotiations to take a stake in electric truck maker Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA), as well as supply advanced batteries and fuel cells for Nikola’s Class 7 and 8 trucks. 

An electric delivery van is also reportedly in the works.

According to The New York Times, Barra on Monday also spoke by telephone with Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and a leading candidate to helm the Environmental Protection Agency in a Biden administration.

Related story:

What a Biden presidency means for zero-emission and autonomous vehicles

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to lbaker@freightwaves.com.

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