Although General Motors currently offers a number of so-called mild hybrids, the Detroit automaker has largely avoided full hybrid systems like the ones used by Toyota and Ford. That trend will continue indefinitely as the Detroit automaker revealed on Wednesday that it will skip over hybrids to focus on plug-ins and electric vehicles.
Although GM acknowledges the merits of hybrid systems, the automaker believes its resources will be best spent on plug-in and electric vehicle technologies. Product chief Mary Barra revealed the automaker's future direction at an event in San Francisco.
"A major focus for GM's electrification strategy will center on the plug," Barra told Automotive News. She added that plug-ins offer "a unique opportunity to change the way people commute.”
GM's previous strategy included the development of several different powertrains, including hybrids. However, that plan of action has proven to be too expensive and inefficient.
"We need to make educated bets on which technologies hold the most potential for creating values for our customers and our company," Barra said.
GM's mild hybrids, branded under the eAssist banner, won't get lost in the shift. While not as beneficial in terms of miles per gallon as hybrids, GM's mild hybrid systems offer up to 25 percent better fuel economy with minimal added costs. In fact, GM predicts that its global mild hybrid sales could increase to 500,000 units by 2017, up from the approximately 31,000 eAssist vehicles GM is on pace to sell this year.