When oil prices drop, the knee-jerk response of many analysts is to forecast doom for sales of electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and other green cars.
That's not something General Motors recognizes as an issue, though.
It plans to forge ahead with an expansion of its electrified-vehicle range, regardless of how low oil prices get.
Tightening global emissions standards will make this a necessity, Mark Verbrugge--director of GM's Chemical and Materials Systems Laboratory--said at the 32nd Annual International Battery Seminar, as reported by Charged EVs.
The GM battery czar explained that the company's current strategy--which ranges from start-stop-equipped "microhybrids" to all-electric cars--is a response to those standards.
And regardless of what gas prices do, those carbon-emission limits and fuel-economy requirements through 2025 remain.
2016 Chevrolet Volt
The U.S. requires carmakers to reach a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) goal of 54.5 mpg (equivalent to about 42 mpg on the window sticker) by 2025.
Other important markets, including Europe and China, mandate lower average tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, a climate-change gas--which has the same effect.
Verbrugge said there are three ways to reach these efficiency targets: electrification, lightening, and reducing functionality. The last one obviously isn't very appealing.
In terms of electrification, GM is already committed to building a production version of the 200-mile Bolt electric-car concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
The Bolt is expected to enter production in October 2016 and go on sale sometime in 2017 at an estimated starting price of $37,500, before incentives.
At the 2015 New York Auto Show next week, GM will also unveil the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.
Teaser for 2016 Chevrolet Malibu debuting at 2015 New York Auto Show
The first full-hybrid Malibu, it will use powertrain components from the 2016 Chevy Volt to achieve an estimated 45 mpg combined, GM says.
As far as cutting weight, Verbrugge said GM is willing to pay a premium of between $5 and $15 per kilogram of weight saved on individual parts.
The upcoming 2016 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan will also feature a body that's 64-percent aluminum, with some high-strength steel as well.
Set to debut alongside the Malibu in New York, the CT6 will also be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain to launch at the Shanghai Motor Show later in the month.
For decades, carmakers have tried to follow the immortal words of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, who urged designers to "simplify, and add lightness."
With fuel economy overtaking performance as the main motivator for lightening, perhaps it's time to amend that statement to "add lightness, and an electric motor."