General Motors has shed some light on the reality of its race against the clock to develop and test lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in car, which is scheduled for production in 2010. The automaker announced yesterday that it had created a new computer algorithm to test the batteries, which will be required to propel the four-seater Volt up to 40 miles under electric power alone. According to the project's engineers, the T-shaped prototype battery for the Volt is around six feet long, weighs a hefty 375 pounds, and will be built into the structure of the car, … Read more
Which came first? Hydrogen fuel-cell cars or hydrogen filling stations? The answer depends on who you ask. General Motors yesterday called for a "collective resolve" to address the problem of infrastructure to support fuel-cell powered cars. Speaking at the National Hydrogen Association's annual meeting, GM's R&D honcho Larry Burns said that the situation with regard to fuel-cell cars had "now reached a point where the energy industry and governments must pick up their pace so we can continue to advance in a timely manner."
The other problem--which Burns failed to mention-- is … Read more
Remember how Robert Lutz, vice chairman and design guru at General Motors, a few weeks back called global warming a "crock of s---?" Well, his boss, GM CEO Rick Wagoner, wishes Lutz hadn't made that comment, saying it does not reflect the auto giant's position.
Wagoner on Tuesday spoke to reporters in Washington, where he was lobbying for government policies to promote alternative energy efforts such as ethanol production and research on batteries.
He said he regretted Lutz's remarks, which were widely discussed on the Web. "The comments weren't coming out of our … Read more
Comments from General Motors Vice Chairman Robert Lutz calling global warming "a total crock" sparked a storm on the Web, prompting Lutz to ask outsiders to judge GM on its actions, not his words.
A report from D Magazine dated January 30 quoted Lutz saying that global warming is a "total crock of ****." And "I'm a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn't matter...I'm motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the (carbon dioxide argument)." The statements were later verified by a GM … Read more
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid gave us a strong sense of d?j? vu. We read the accolades accorded to the gas-only version, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, after its launch late last year, which reminded us of the good press received by the Saturn Aura the year before. And the Malibu Hybrid, with its belt alternator starter (BAS) hybrid system, reminded us of the mild hybrid system of the Saturn Aura Green Line. It seems that GM pioneered a good car launch story with the Aura, and chose to repeat it with the Malibu this year. We've started taking … Read more
We've gathered photos from our Car Tech reviews of every major automaker's software interface. These interfaces are what you see on a car's LCD, and we've covered manufacturers from Mercedes-Benz to GM. Many of the interfaces are poorly designed, probably taken straight from the original equipment manufacturer who built the car's navigation system and stereo interface. For our comparison, we concentrated on music screens, as these show on-screen buttons and fonts. Take a look and tell us which company you think offers the best and worst interface.
It's Valentine's Day and the GSMA World Congress is coming to a close. It's been a busy few days for the CNET team. Bonnie Cha and I journeyed from San Francisco with CNET TV's Ariel Nunez, CNET UK's Andrew Lim flew in from London, and John Chan of CNET Asia came all the way from Singapore. As one of the biggest mobile shows on the planet with more than 55,000 attendees, GSMA produced a lot of interesting news, from new smartphones to the first prototypes of the Android platform. Barcelona was a good host, … Read more
Many in the auto industry are touting ethanol as the solution to the challenge of post-petroleum transportation. Major carmakers advertise many new cars can run on E85--a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline--and they trumpet the fuels environmental benefits relative to gasoline. But the ethanol story is not as straightforward as it sounds. Aside from the lack of infrastructure--only around 1,400 out of 170,000 U.S. filling stations have ethanol available--the production of ethanol from corn has drawn criticism for its cost (in terms of food-stocks and land usage) and the relative inefficiency of the … Read more
Following the buzz from last week's Detroit auto show at which many major automakers underscored their commitments to alternative-fuel cars, General Motors has announced that it is setting up a new engineering organization dedicated to the development of hybrids, extended range electric vehicles, and advanced battery technology. The new division will focus on developing production vehicles based on GM's E-Flex gasoline-electric hybrid system--including, presumably, the Chevy Volt, which is scheduled for production in 2010--as well as vehicles based on GM's 2-Mode gasoline-electric hybrid architecture.
To date, GM has unveiled several concept cars based on the E-Flex system, … Read more