The Chevrolet Volt has some high standards to live up to: In conversations with Wired News at this week's North American International Auto Show (aka the Detroit auto show), General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that a successful launch of Chevy's plug-in hybrid could have "the same sort of symbolism" for GM and the U.S. auto industry as the Apollo missions and the moon landings did for NASA and American scientific endeavors. (He also talks price, batteries, and looks.)
Hummer doesn't embody environmentalism, but that's the spin GM CEO Rick Wagoner gave when he introduced the Hummer HX concept at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The Hummer HX is smaller and lighter than Hummer's other three models, but, more importantly, uses an E85-capable 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Wagoner extolled the virtues of ethanol as fuel during the press conference, punctuating the point by announcing a partnership between GM and Coskota Inc. to produce ethanol fuel using a new, cost-effective process.
As for the Hummer HX, it is a rugged-looking concept that brings Hummer design cues into … Read more
Underlining the ever-converging automotive and electronic worlds, GM's boss Rick Wagoner arrived on stage here at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in GM's electric-powered Chevy Volt to deliver his keynote speech, marking the first time in the show's history that a leading automaker had addressed the convention. "If the automobile were invented today, I'm pretty sure it would debut here at CES," said Wagoner before launching into an overview of GM's technology, including details of the carmaker's alternative-fuel, telematics, and autonomous vehicle programs, and finally unveiling the latest concept vehicle in GM'… Read more
LAS VEGAS--One of the big complaints from consumers who buy General Motors cars that run on E85 ethanol is the lack of places to fill up.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner, in a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week, says he has received hundreds of e-mails from customers who have bought such cars and are frustrated they can't find ethanol stations.
When GM started selling its flex-fuel cars, there were about 600 stations that sold ethanol in the U.S. Now there are about 1,400 stations.
But there are 170,… Read more
General Motors is unveiling new models that use both of its hybrid-car technologies at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-new Chevy Malibu gets the hybrid-lite treatment with the same Belt Alternator Starter system that we've seen in both the Saturn Vue and Saturn Aura Green Lines. GM saves its more sophisticated 2-Mode hybrid technology for its thirstiest full sized trucks as both the Silverado pick-up and the Cadillac Escalade (yes, that's right, the Escalade) make their hybrid debuts this week. Check out our photos here.
Honda is upping its production of gas-electric hybrid cars, but has no immediate plans to develop the kind of hybrid that would recharge from an electrical outlet, the company announced Tuesday.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui also publicly criticized General Motors for its pursuit of the Chevy Volt at a press conference on Tuesday in Japan.
If that kind of high-performance battery power is possible then carmakers would be better served making a completely electric vehicle from an environmental standpoint, said Fukui, according to the The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Chevrolet is in the midst of launching "Project Driveway," an ambitious program where more than 100 fuel cell electric vehicles will be put in the hands of select consumers for the largest market test ever of its kind.
Testing will take place over the next several months in the Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., metro areas. Drivers range from average consumers to business owners to policy makers. Chevy reps also promise that some cars will go into the hands of "celebrities," but no names have been dropped yet.
The cars are modified Chevy … Read more
Will a new anti-theft tool from General Motors and OnStar be enough to make your car not worth the hassle of stealing?
The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, a new feature added to OnStar, takes away the ability to use a car's gas pedal, while allowing braking and steering controls to work.
OnStar, which already communicates with a car's engine through software, will now use that platform to bypass a driver's foot on the gas pedal and automatically slow down a car by preventing any further acceleration.
OnStar said it will only enable the service if a situation meets … Read more
I had a chance recently to test drive two of the cars whose creators are bent on changing the way we view transportation, a converted all electric Scion eBox by Silicon Valley startup AC Propulsion, and a Saturn Vue Greenline hybrid. Both were highly enjoyable. The first, with a $70,000 price tag and a $10,000 deposit, is clearly an EV targeted at Conspicuous Sustainability consumers. I guess then, that the Saturn Vue Greenline … Read more
If automotive design interests you, take a look at these videos documenting the development of the Opel Flextreme. We covered the Opel Flextreme concept car at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. It's essentially the Chevy Volt for Europe, using the same series hybrid powertrain. The Flextreme is a bit bigger and, most notably, it has a couple of Segways stored in its rear. If you want to find out why, watch the videos.