G.M. Will Sell Only Zero-Emission Vehicles by 2035

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The days of the internal combustion engine are numbered.

General Motors said Thursday it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035, a seismic shift by one of the world’s largest automakers that makes billions of dollars today from gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

The announcement could put pressure on automakers around the world to make similar commitments. It could also embolden President Biden and other elected officials to push for even more aggressive policies to fight climate change. Leaders could point to G.M.’s decision as evidence that even big businesses have decided that it is time for the world to begin to transition away from fossil fuels that have powered the global economy for more than a century.

Several other automakers, most of them European, have previously pledged more modest steps in the direction that G.M. says it is headed. Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz cars, has said that it would have an electric or hybrid version of each of its models by 2022, and Volkswagen has promised an electric version for each of its models by 2030.

Electric cars represent the fastest-growing segment of the auto industry, but they still make up a small proportion of new car sales: about 3 percent of the global total, according to the International Energy Agency. Sales of such cars jumped last year in Europe and China but they remain niche products in the United States. They are bought primarily by affluent early adopters who are drawn to the luxury models made by Tesla, which dominates the business, and by environmentally conscious consumers.

The company said it was working with the Environmental Defense Fund to build charging stations for electric cars and to convince drivers to switch to electric cars.

“E.D.F. and G.M. have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America — one where serious collaboration to achieve transportation electrification, science-based climate progress and equitably shared economic opportunity can move our nation forward,” the president of the group, Fred Krupp, said in a statement.

Jack Ewing contributed reporting.

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