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What's ahead? The opportunity to making positive and meaningful change in our world. But we can’t do it alone. Here are ways you can help us increase our impact.

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Fuel Efficiency & Emissions At-A-Glance

Fuel Efficiency & CO2 Vehicle Emissions

Delivering value for our customers and the environment

  • Increased the number of U.S. vehicles with some form of electrification by 9 percent to 196,861 vehicles.
  • Increased the number of U.S. models that can achieve EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway or better from six to nine models.
  • Reduced average CO2 tailpipe emissions of U.S. fleet by 7.4 percent against a 2011 baseline; of Opel/Vauxhall fleet by 5.7 percent against a 2012 baseline and China fleet by 4.3 percent against a 2013 baseline.
  • Offer a variety of fuel economy choices in each segment to allow consumers to select the most cost-effective vehicle based on their needed utility and driving habits.
  • Gather and provide cost, technical and market adoption information and data to the U.S. EPA and NHTSA for use in their midterm reviews of 2025 light-duty fuel economy and greenhouse gas goals, as well as the Heavy-Duty Phase 2 fuel economy and greenhouse gas rulemaking.
  • Encourage and educate customers on the benefits of advanced vehicle technologies available to them.
  • Advancing new technologies to achieve increases in our corporate average fuel economy in the face of lower gasoline prices and limited, but growing, customer acceptance of advanced propulsion technologies.
  • Executing a global strategy in a fragmented environment of increasing regulation at the country and regional levels.
  • Global movement of vehicle testing toward real driving emissions in place of current standardized test protocols.

The Bolt EV builds upon Chevrolet’s experience gained from both the Volt and Spark EV to bring an affordable, long-range, all-electric vehicle to market.

Approach

Fuel-efficient vehicles provide value to our customers by decreasing their
total cost of ownership.

Vehicles with higher fuel efficiency also provide us with the opportunity to positively impact climate change by reducing the CO2 emissions of our global vehicle fleet, which accounts for 77 percent of our annual carbon footprint based on life cycle data that analyzes our entire multitiered supply chain.

We are navigating these opportunities and challenges by fielding one of the largest and most experienced teams of automotive engineering talent in the world. This team is focused on both expanding the efficiency performance of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) technologies and developing advanced propulsion technologies, such as electrification, that have the potential to transform personal mobility in the future. This dual approach is enabling us to realize progress across all markets, economic conditions and vehicle categories around the world today.

During 2015, relatively low oil prices continued to translate into low global average gasoline prices. With this price deflation, fuel economy as a customer purchase consideration, though still important, has decreased relative to other options. This makes it more challenging to increase sales of fuel-efficient models and gain broad market acceptance of higher-cost, advanced fuel-saving technologies, like electric vehicles.

In less-developed markets, the situation is compounded by fuel economy mandates and regulations that are often as stringent as those in the U.S. or Europe, but where average household incomes are significantly lower. Incomes in these regions often cannot support the higher upfront cost of advanced fuel-saving technologies and lighter-weight materials. Furthermore, demand for these technologies often does not exist until government policies and/or regulations are put in place to change or incentivize consumer purchasing behavior. In these conditions, we are challenged to provide fuel-efficient products and to introduce new advanced technologies that address regulatory frameworks within the prevailing market conditions. Given that emerging markets represent the most significant area of industry growth in coming years, solving this challenge successfully is a business priority for GM.

With weight savings of up to 390 pounds (177 kg), the all-new Camaro resets performance benchmarks for the segment.

Conventional Technologies

Conventional powertrain vehicles will continue to comprise the vast majority of global automotive sales for the foreseeable future.

Reductions in vehicle mass and enhancements to the ICE are the keys to improving the efficiency of these vehicles. During the past decade, GM has made significant progress on both fronts across our global fleet.

Through more efficient aerodynamic design and the combining of materials, such as high-strength steel, carbon fiber and aluminum, GM is realizing weight reductions across its global product portfolio. The consumer benefits are clear. Mass reduction on the order of 10 percent translates into fuel efficiency gains of approximately 5 percent. These advancements can be seen in some of our best-selling models:

  • The Opel Astra five-door model is up to 441 pounds lighter.
  • The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro has shed almost 400 pounds and improved fuel efficiency by 7 percent, thanks to an investment of 9 million hours of computer-aided engineering time to make the chassis lighter.
  • The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, our top-selling global model available in 40 markets, is nearly 250 pounds lighter and gets an estimated 40 mpg on the highway with automatic transmission.
  • The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has shed nearly 300 pounds and improved fuel efficiency by 5 percent through the use of aluminum in body structure and lighter-mass engines, seats and instrument panel.

In 2015 alone, these and other models with more efficient designs and lighter-weight materials helped GM eliminate $2 billion in material costs. Mass reduction is being achieved not only through lighter material inputs, but also through new proprietary and patented manufacturing techniques, such as aluminum spot welding technology, self-piercing rivets, flow drill screws, friction welding and advanced adhesives. In 2015, we announced a breakthrough in resistance spot-welding technology that allows us to weld aluminum to steel – an industry first that will be introduced in assembly plants this year.

Engine Efficiency

We continue to invest in technologies that push the limits of ICE efficiency, because gasoline will likely remain the primary fuel in most of the world for the near future.

We employ a suite of technologies, including downsizing, turbocharging, “stop-start” technology, direct injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation, in improving the thermodynamic efficiency of gasoline engines. These technologies are leading to a portfolio of GM engines that are considerably smaller, cleaner and more efficient than in the past, while maximizing usable power and performance characteristics important to our customers.

We began rolling out a new technologically advanced engine family in model year 2015 that streamlines and simplifies our global powertrain portfolio. This enables a broad deployment across a variety of global markets and price points. Designed to achieve segment-leading efficiency, these new engines are powering many of our highest-volume small cars and compact crossovers, including the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, specifically tailored for China. We are building more than 2.5 million of these engines around the world, introducing them across five GM brands and 27 models cumulatively by the 2017 model year. At that time, the result will be a GM fleet that sets a new performance level in fuel economy and carbon emissions around the globe while reducing overall material usage, costs, and development time and expenses compared with the previous generation of engines.

The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze – a larger, lighter, more efficient and more sophisticated evolution of the brand’s best-selling global car.

Advanced Technologies

GM’s focus on efficiency improvements for conventional powertrain technologies is complemented by our leadership in alternative fuel systems
and advanced technologies.

This commitment is underscored by our investment in an expanding portfolio of electric vehicles, as well as our internal development and manufacturing capability for electric batteries, motors and power controls – the same capabilities that we have for traditional propulsion technologies. These capabilities provide us with a range of technologies that can operate on alternative fuels and adapt to different markets around the world where fueling infrastructure varies. Read more about electrification technology here.

During 2015, we advanced our electrification portfolio in several important ways by:

  • Introducing the second generation of our popular plug-in EV, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, with 40 percent more EV range.
  • Committing to produce the Chevrolet Bolt EV, making “all-electric driving available for everyone” with a range of more than 200 miles and a target price of around $30,000 after U.S. Federal incentives; this builds off GM’s first-generation all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Spark EV.
  • Announcing the addition of a plug-in hybrid electric propulsion system to the Cadillac CT6 sedan in China and U.S. markets.

Our investments in advanced technologies are a critical part of our long-term fuel economy strategy, a driver of future personal mobility solutions and an enabler of more mainstream fuel-saving solutions today. These solutions include Stop-Start technology, which helps customers conserve fuel by automatically shutting off the engine when the vehicle comes to a full stop, improving city fuel economy up to 14 percent depending upon the application. Stop-Start technology is standard on both the Chevrolet Impala and Malibu 2.5-liter ECOTEC® base engine. Similarly, our eAssist technology is an electrification solution that combines Stop-Start technology with regenerative braking and an on-board lithium battery to provide an electric boost in certain conditions that improves fuel economy by as much as 25 percent. In total, Stop-Start and eAssist technology account for 7.4 percent of our volume in the U.S.

Cadillac CT6

Product Commitments

2015 Progress to Date

  • Commitment: Vehicle Deployment Commitment – Trailing
    Our outlook currently projects us, along with the broader automotive industry, to fall short of expectations for 2017 due to market impacts of lower fuel prices and the increased saturation of electric model offerings in the marketplace. However, our commitment to electrification remains steadfast as evidenced by our being the manufacturer to introduce the industry's first long-range affordable all-electric vehicle, continued R&D investment in one of the largest battery labs in the world, and leading manufacturing capabilities for electric powertrains and batteries.
  • Commitment: U.S. Models with 40+ MPG – Ahead
    We would project this progress continuing as fuel economy improvements through our vehicle light-weighting strategies are encompassed in new model introductions.
  • Commitment: U.S., Europe and China CO2 Emissions Reduction – On Track
    The glide path for both Europe and China comprehends that most gains will come from new product launches and technology introductions, thereby maintaining year-over-year progress.

Opel Ampera-e (pre-production model)

Regulatory Review

Currently, we estimate that nearly 90 percent of our global volume is sold in countries
where there are aggressive fuel-economy and carbon-emissions regulations.

Many countries around the world are adopting standards similar to either those of the U.S., which are based on a footprint metric or size of the vehicle, or those of the European Union, which are weight-based. In many cases, fuel-saving solutions under one system do not necessarily translate to another, which presents a regulatory inconsistency.

In addition, many regulations escalate fuel-economy and carbon-emissions standards over a period of time. For example, when we introduce a new model with the latest powertrain technology, the model is most likely above compliance levels in its initial deployment years, but may not keep pace with escalating regulation by the fourth or fifth year in the product cycle. Shorter product cycles that are more aligned with regulatory cycles present both research and development challenges, as well as financial obstacles.

At the end of 2015, carbon-pricing programs were in place in some countries and subnational jurisdictions. Though CO2 pricing varies widely around the world, all are intended to encourage consumers to purchase vehicles that emit less carbon or, at a minimum, to help raise public awareness about the importance of CO2 reduction.

Within GM, we have embedded institutionalized governance processes that predict, plan, measure and monitor our fleet’s fuel economy and emissions performance on a dynamic and country-by-country basis. This requires significant resources and an enormously complex algorithm that calculates the fuel economy of dozens of models sold across nine markets with finalized regulation and two more with proposed regulation. These calculations and the subsequent plans around them are now an intrinsic part of our business that impacts nearly every operational function from product development through delivery on a daily basis.

The current regulatory environment related to mobile CO2 emissions and fuel economy varies greatly throughout key business regions in the world. Like many other stakeholders, we believe harmonized standards would be in the best interests of our business, customers, competitors and the environment. This would require, however, consensus among countries on the policies and standards that apply to the auto industry – consensus standards that may take years to develop, if ever. Accordingly, we advocate mutual recognition agreements, a practice by which two or more markets agree to recognize each other’s standards and eliminate costly and nonbeneficial redundancies.

Outlook for global fuel economy and greenhouse gas requirements