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EV News & Notes: If you hear about GM's EVs, Will Ferrell and Norway this weekend, here's why

By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ

Norway leads all nations in electric vehicles sold, becoming the first country to sell more EVs than gasoline or diesel vehicles in a given year. The statistics are eye-opening: EVs made up 54.3 percent of new passenger vehicle sales in 2020. In December alone, more than 13,000 EVs were registered in the Nordic country, with more than 4,200 of them being Tesla Model 3s.

Apparently, the fact that Norway sold more EVs per capita than the United States is enough to make actor Will Ferrell mad enough to punch the world in General Motors’ new Super Bowl ad set to run during the big game Sunday.  

As he steps into Cadillac’s new Lyriq SUV, he lets out the war cry, “With GM’s new Ultium Battery, we’re going to crush those losers – Crush them! Let’s go America!”

The United States – and all other countries – have some catching up to do, because Norway’s government plans to ban the sale of all gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles in just four short years, MarketWatch reported. The country also offers generous incentives for buyers. Norway remains the exception because, globally, electric vehicles only make up around 3 percent of the cars on the road.

In the United States, Edmunds reports that EV sales are expected to make up 2.5 percent of U.S. retail sales in 2021, up from 1.9 percent in 2020.

GM’s Super Bowl ad pulls on your patriotic heartstrings rather than talking about the environment, financial or all-around fun benefits to driving an EV.

For GM to make EVs patriotic is certainly a departure from what it usually advertises during sporting events – big, beefy gas-guzzling trucks driving through dirt or hauling trailers. 

Just a year ago, GM supported the Trump administration’s relaxed fuel efficiency standards, a step back for EVs. After President Joe Biden won the election in November, GM reversed its position on fuel economy. After taking office, President Biden made several executive orders related to climate change and reducing pollution and greenhouse gases. Not long after that, GM CEO Mary Barra made the bold proclamation that GM would stop selling gasoline- and diesel-powered cars, trucks and SUVs by 2035.

GM’s current goal is to have 30 all-electric vehicle models worldwide by 2025.

Though GM’s position on electric vehicles and climate change seems to change with the political winds, in her column, Harvard Professor Jody Freeman calls this latest move a “sea change” that could put pressure on every other traditional automaker to move faster.

EVs also made a splash in last year’s Super Bowl with big ads from GM, Porsche and Audi. GM’s ad offered just a tease at the GMC Hummer EV, which was fully unveiled during Major League Baseball’s World Series in October.

Ultimately, the push for EVs changes how people live and the entire structure of the economy in oil-rich places like Texas. As demand for gasoline drops, oil profits will drop with it, as we’ve already seen during the pandemic.

At the same time, electric utilities – including your friendly neighborhood cooperative CoServ Electric – could see demand increase as more people swap internal combustion engines for batteries and electric motors.

“In areas with high electric vehicle use, they will have to upgrade local distribution equipment,” Professor Freeman said. “Utilities must also help customers acclimate by making charging seamless, ensuring it is widely available and affordable for everyone.”

 

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