704Bob Lutz Emphasizes GM's Commitment to PHEVs
- Mar 1, 2007Here are GM's top executives explaining their plans. Below is a blog posting by GM's Vice Chairman. You'll find many comments since he posted two days ago, including ours (reprinted below) -- go to
to read others and post your own.
Getting a Jolt From Volt
GM Vice President Environment and Energy Beth
Lowery and Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Steve Johnson listen to Chevrolet
Volt Chief Engineer Nick Zielinski explain the
inner workings of the Volt at the NAIAS earlier this year.
By Bob Lutz
GM Vice Chairman
The introduction of our Chevrolet Volt concept
car and E-Flex electric propulsion system at the
North American International Auto Show in Detroit
last month created quite a stir, garnering twice
the media coverage as the runner up for us, our Chevrolet Camaro convertible.
The Volt came on the heels of our announcement at
the Los Angeles show that weve begun work on a
Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid, and puts a face on our
efforts to diversify the energy sources we use to power automobiles.
However, some cynics accused us of pulling a PR
stunt, saying the Volt is simply an attempt by GM
to greenwash the public and would never be a
real vehicle. The truth is just the opposite we
are treating Volt just like any other vehicle we
do, giving it a dedicated development team and
designating resources for it. With that in mind,
I thought Id take a moment to update you on the program so far.
As you probably know, the development of
advanced, lithium-ion battery technology is the
key to getting vehicles like the Volt on the
road. For the last few months, weve been
mobilizing GMs global resources to address the
challenges posed by this issue. Weve invested in
an upgrade to our battery testing and development
facilities and weve formed a dedicated battery
team whose staff levels will increase by 30 percent over the next two years.
We have also named GM veteran Denise Gray to the
newly created position of director of energy
storage systems some of us like to call her
GMs battery czar. Denise has more than 20
years of experience in such areas as powertrain,
vehicle integration, electronics and software controls.
We signed two development contracts in January
for lithium-ion batteries with two groups of
suppliers Cobasys/A123Systems and Johnson
Controls-Saft. We also plan to talk to additional battery suppliers as well.
By the end of this year, we will begin testing
the lithium-ion batteries developed in prototypes
of the Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid. In the same
timeframe, we also expect to have our first
demonstration vehicles that use E-Flex. Our
previously announced test fleet of Chevrolet
Equinox fuel cell vehicles also use the E-Flex
system, with a fuel cell stack instead of
batteries as a prime supplier of electricity, a
further demonstration of our commitment to electric drive and energy diversity.
Make no mistake: These programs are a top
priority for GM. We have established aggressive
product development timelines even forming a
special executive leadership council for the
E-Flex program to expedite product decisions and
regularly update those of us in senior management.
Were making progress, and you should expect to
hear more in the near future. At the Detroit show
we emphasized E-Flexs adaptability, from
accommodating different vehicle designs to using
various fuels and types of engines. We will prove
that capability this year. Stay tuned, well
update the program periodically here on FastLane.
Take a look at FYI for an interview with
PodTech.net's Matt Kelly and Rich Lannen,
Advanced Program Engineering Manager for the Volt.
Posted by Lutz on February 27, 2007 02:05 PM
We salute GM for promoting the electrification of
transportation. Proponents of plug-in hybrid
vehicles and all-electric vehicles think the
urgency of the situation from the point of view
of energy security, global warming and economic
development point to the need to get
"cleaner/cheaper/domestically-fueled" vehicles on
the road ASAP. We think GM can do this now with
"good enough" batteries, knowing that by the time
it's at version 3 of the car, ready to sell to
tens and hundreds of thousands, better batteries
will be available and fully validated.
That's why we're hoping GM will put the questions
about its intentions to rest by being first to
get substantial numbers of cars out in
demonstration fleets (we believe exempted from
150,000 mile battery warranty requirements, and
priced higher than they will end up when
mass-marketed). See our 16 points about GM's
PHEVs -- linked from CalCars.org's home page.
Felix Kramer, Founder, The California Cars Initiative
Posted by: Felix Kramer on February 28, 2007 01:55 PM
P.S. Happy 2nd Anniversary to CalCars-News!
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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