Activist Investor Engine No. 1 Backs GM’s Electric-Vehicle Push

Engine No. 1 took a stake in General Motors in the first quarter but had not publicly outlined its thinking behind the move.

Photo: rebecca cook/Reuters

Engine No. 1 LLC, an activist investment firm that successfully pushed for change at Exxon Mobil Corp. , said Monday it is backing General Motors Co. GM 2.80% ’s bid to lead in the transition to electric cars.

In a white paper released Monday, the investment firm said it believes GM and other traditional auto makers have the scale and know-how to drive electric-vehicle adoption. The investment firm took a stake in GM in the first quarter but had not publicly outlined its thinking behind the move.

“The scale of the [electric vehicle] transition challenge is beyond what Tesla and other new entrants can surmount in the time frame needed” to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, the firm wrote. “Incumbent auto makers…are fully capable of becoming central players in the transition to [electric vehicles] and are also fully motivated to do so.”

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

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