In brief: General Motors on Thursday announced plans to become carbon neutral across its products and operations by 2040. Moreover, the largest US automaker said it aspires to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles five years sooner, by 2035.

To realize the latter goal, GM said it will need to work to build out the necessary charging infrastructure and to promote consumer acceptance. The automaker plans to invest $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle tech over the next five years, money that'll be used to help develop its Ultium battery technology and update facilities in Michigan and Tennessee to build EVs.

GM set a target date of 2030 for its US facilities to be running on 100 percent renewable energy, and 2035 for global sites.

Equally important is ensuring that the electricity used to charge EVs be generated from renewable sources like solar and wind, the company said.

Transitioning to zero emissions for its entire fleet is a lofty objective. According to analyst estimates cited by CNBC, electric vehicles are a niche segment of the global automotive industry that account for less than five percent of total sales.

In the meantime, GM said it will continue to improve fuel efficiency in its internal combustion vehicles through the use of smaller boosted engines, more efficient transmissions and by enhancing aerodynamics.