Likewise, Karl-Thomas Neumann, president of GM Europe, said that "I think that it is very clear that individual mobility is moving toward carbon-neutral." He said that the Opel Ampera-e, a sibling to the Chevrolet Bolt, is a first step in that direction.
"It is a major milestone for us for our transformation on the long-term horizon to become an all-electric company," Neumann said. (In the NEDC test, the Ampera-e has a range of over 480 km, he said; the U.S. EPA puts the Bolt at a 385-km range.)
Mercedes-Benz's EQ concept heralded the debut of an ambitious plan to introduce at least 10 battery-powered cars in the coming years, bundled under the new EQ brand.
The first new all-electric model will be a coupelike SUV that will be for sale before the end of the decade.
"We're now flipping the switch," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said. "We're ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class."
Automakers still differ on the best way to get free from CO2 emissions. A notable exception to the battery-range bragging was Toyota, which favors electric drive powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Still, Toyota Executive Vice President Didier Leroy said: "If there is some need to move in our lineup to a pure [battery] electric car, EV car, we will do it. And we are ready for that.
"But today we are really convinced that the fuel cell is much more promising."
Ryan Beene contributed to this report.