In brief: The automotive industry is gradually starting to shift toward the use of electric vehicle motors over traditional ICE alternatives. Though ICE vehicles aren't going to die off anytime soon, EVs are now an everyday sight. However, using EVs alone isn't enough for some companies -- self-driving car tech firm Cruise has made the commitment to use "100 percent renewable energy" to power its fleet of cars.
On the surface, that might sound like Cruise won't be powering its cars with electricity generated from coal, natural gas, petroleum, or other fossil fuels. In practice, though, the situation is a bit more complex. The Verge reports that Cruise has indeed made the transition to "100 percent renewable sources of energy" (as of Q4 2019), but it isn't necessarily harnessing that power directly.
Instead, Cruise will be relying on a hybrid approach. In addition to developing "12 solar projects" on "school sites" in Southern California, a Cruise spokesperson told The Verge that the firm will rely on purchased environmental offset credits to reach the 100 percent renewable energy mark. In other words, Cruise's claims are not entirely straightforward, but they are typical in the tech industry: the likes of Google and Amazon purchase similar energy offsets quite frequently.
For now, it's simply not feasible for many corporations to power their businesses entirely through renewable energy sources, though that might change over the coming decade. Either way, for the time being, Cruise's alleged commitment to renewable energy isn't that important. With the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the globe, the company's autonomous vehicles are grounded, and it's not clear when they'll be able to get back on the roads.
Update: A previous version of this headline implied that Cruise was wholly owned by GM. This is inaccurate, and we've updated the headline to reflect this.