General Motors on the Future of Green Fleet

General Motors company logo, courtesy of General Motors Global Media.

General Motors company logo, courtesy of General Motors Global Media.

For this installment of “5 Questions on the Future of Green Fleet”, we received answers from the granddaddy of the Big Three, General Motors.  After seeing Susan Keenehan, Regional Director – North Central Region, GM Fleet and Commercial speak at Chicago Green Drives 2015, we reached out.  A few weeks later, we were very happy to receive the thoughts on the future of green fleet from one of the largest automotive and fleet companies on the planet.

Q: What do you see as the top 3 challenges to growing a sustainable fleet?

I think our fleet customers (like any consumer) view the top challenge as trying to get the most fuel-efficient vehicle for their money. It has to impact their bottom line, or else it isn’t going to be adopted. After that, reducing emissions and figuring out how technology can help their fleet to be more sustainable are, in my opinion, the next two issues at the top of the list. But fuel economy and overall value will always be at the top of the customer’s list. At GM, we continue to broaden our offerings to provide our customers with a wide-range of vehicles to meet their diverse needs, including the building of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD CNG.  Image courtesy of GM Global Media.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD CNG. Image courtesy of GM Global Media.

Q: Between hybrid, electric, biofuel, natural gas, propane, and dual-fuel do you see a leader emerging?

There is no single silver bullet. What works best for one customer will not work as well for another. That is why we are not married to one particular type of innovation when it comes to alternative fuels. Our engineers are busy reinventing the automobile, focusing on the innovations that make vehicles more efficient. As such, we strive to lead in delivering new fuel-saving technologies in cars and trucks that our customers want to buy and can afford, regardless of the type of advanced propulsion technique. We also believe the future is electric, with billions of investment to support an all-in-house approach to the development and manufacturing of electrified vehicles.

Q: 5 years ago, where did you expect green fleet and alternative fuels to be by now; and where do you see it in 3 years?

Our view of alternative fuels hasn’t changed much from five years ago until now, and we don’t see our strategy changing as we move ahead. From a GM perspective, our goal is to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles, regardless of how that comes about, and every day brings with it new advancements. For instance, three years ago, about 16 percent of the vehicles we sold achieved at least 30 mpg. Today, that number is closer to 40 percent. Since 1970, we’ve improved fuel efficiency 180 percent for cars and 93 percent for trucks. Those numbers will continue to grow in the years ahead.

Chevrolet Unveils Next -Generation Volt at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Image courtesy of GM Media.

Q: How can politicians help or hurt the advances that green fleet has made so far?

Politics and public policy have significant impact on the automobile industry. Regardless of the decisions made in the political arena, the automotive industry has to move forward and find ways to reduce emissions while also increasing the fuel economy of our vehicles. Those are two of our values as an OEM that align very well with our customer’s desires as well as those of most politicians.

Q: What is the one technology, issue, opportunity or problem that the industry is either under- or over-estimating?

I think mobility has to be up there as far as an opportunity that needs to be looked at more closely. Mobility defines GM’s approach to sustainability. Personal mobility means freedom. It means economic advancement. It means connected families and communities. It also means a world of safer and smarter vehicles — cars, trucks and crossovers that use less fuel; that have less environmental impact; and that are programmed to help drivers avoid accidents and reduce congestion.

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Sebastian James

Accept no substitutes

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