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GM pledged to go all-electric, including the gas-guzzling Hummer. Here’s how

General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave a tour of the Detroit factory that plans to be producing the carmaker's all-electric fleet in less than 15 years.
/ Source: TODAY

General Motors ambitiously plans to say goodbye to gasoline engines within the next 14 years, which means the work on its future fleet of electric vehicles has started now at the automaker's $2.2 billion Factory Zero in Detroit.

GM CEO Mary Barra gave NBC News correspondent Tom Costello an exclusive look on TODAY Wednesday at the massive new facility dedicated to building battery-powered electric vehicles, including a reinvention of the famous gas-guzzling truck, the Hummer.

President Joe Biden will also be touring the factory on Wednesday as he touts the bipartisan infrastructure bill that he signed into law Monday, which includes funding for a nationwide system of charging stations for electric vehicles.

GM announced in January that it plans to phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks by 2035 in favor of electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions.

GM's new Hummer electric truck was displayed Nov. 7 at the 4th China International Import Expo in Shanghai.Meng Tao / Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

"We believe in climate change," Barra said on TODAY. "It’s real. And so we know that transportation has a huge impact.”

Barra believes there will be consumer demand for electric vehicles, including a Hummer that will be able to travel 350 miles on a single electric charge.

“We see it increasing, and I think we’re actually getting close to a tipping point where consumers now are much more willing to consider an all-electric vehicle because they see the benefit," Barra said.

Ford has also pledged to transition 40% of its fleet to battery power in the next nine years as both companies vie for a piece of the battery car market currently dominated by Tesla.

Barra gave Costello a look at the 3,000-pound battery made of lithium-ion cells that will allow the Hummer to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in three seconds.

Factory Zero, which was built in the 1980s, is a symbol of the shift from gasoline engines to batteries after being reborn as a high-tech robotic hub with 2,000 employees.

"I could go to sleep at night now," Factory Zero employee and United Auto Workers local vice president Monique Watson told Costello. "I don’t have to worry what’s next. I know that I’m going to be able to provide for my family, provide for my children."

An immediate hurdle to the transition to an electric fleet is the shortage of computer chips manufactured in Asia as a result of the global supply chain slowdown due to the pandemic.

"We see dramatic improvement by the end or the second half of 2022," Barra said about the chip shortage. "They’ll probably be a small tail into 2023. But I think by that point in time, we’ll get back to, I’ll call it a 'new normal.'”