An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Auto makers for two decades have leaned on hybrid vehicles to help them comply with regulations on fuel consumption and give customers greener options in the showroom. Now, two of the world’s largest car manufacturers say they see no future for them in their U.S. lineups. General Motors and Volkswagen are shifting the bulk of their future investment into fully electric cars (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), seeing hybrids, which save fuel by combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor, as only a stopgap to ultimately meeting tougher tailpipe-emissions requirements, particularly in China and Europe.
GM plans to launch 20 fully electric vehicles world-wide in the next four years, including plug-in models in the U.S. for the Chevy and Cadillac brands. Volkswagen also has committed billions to producing more battery-powered models, including introducing a small plug-in SUV in the U.S. next year and an electric version of its minibus around 2022. VW and GM are focused on all-electric cars largely because of China, where new regulations require car companies to sell a minimum number of zero-emissions vehicles to avoid financial penalties. VW plans to use its electric-car expansion in China to build scale and drive down prices faster in the U.S., said Scott Keogh, VW’s U.S. chief. “If I had a dollar more to invest, would I spend it on a hybrid? Or would I spend it on the answer that we all know is going to happen, and get there faster and better than anybody else?” GM President Mark Reuss said in an interview.