GM CEO Barra discusses consumer choice and EV mandates

When General Motors CEO Mary Barra talked recently about consumer choice and electric vehicle mandates, she was talking about China. But her point could apply to the United States or any other country with a consumer market for cars.

Barra was talking about the importance of consumer choice, even in a place like China where the government has said it plans to ban gasoline-powered vehicles, though it has not set a target deadline.

“At the end of the day you still have to make customers happy and you have to meet their needs,” Barra said. “And so we’ve encouraged the Chinese government to work with us and work with the industry to make sure we’re creating the excitement and demand for electric vehicles as opposed to it just being mandated.”

Barra was speaking at a conference in Washington honoring her for winning the top spot on Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women List. GM has shown its commitment to the EV market with its recent announcement that it would launch 20 new EVs by 2020 as part of its move to an all-electric future. Ford also recently announced its commitment to an all-electric future. There have been reports, also, that California is planning to ban gasoline-powered cars.

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