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GM REVEALS FAMILY OF
EARTH-FRIENDLY VEHICLES

General Motors leaders opened the doors of the company's research and development operations and drove out a family of advanced-technology cars, including an extended-range EV1 and an 80-mile-per-gallon, all-wheel-drive hybrid performance car.

“Our family of clean-car options is growing fast,” said Jack Smith, General Motors chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This year, we’re phasing in nickel-metal-hydride batteries to our pioneering electric vehicles, the EV1 and S-10 Electric truck, and we plan to have a production-ready hybrid electric vehicle by 2001 and fuel-cell electric vehicle by 2004, or sooner.”

General Motors’ advanced-technology vehicles include:

“These cars are clean, safe and fun to drive,” Smith said. “General Motors will continue to leverage its size, expertise and global resources to build on the valuable lessons we’ve learned from launching the first designed-from-the-ground-up electric vehicle, EV1.”

The EV1’s lightweight structure with the world’s most advanced electric drive system and regenerative braking system laid the foundation for a portfolio of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell products.

Smith said GM’s marketing plans for the advanced-technology vehicles would depend on the global transportation infrastructure, affordability and customer acceptance of new technology. He underscored the imperative of balancing sound science with sound economics. “General Motors is committed to developing long-term sustainable market solutions that balance the interests of environmental stakeholders and corporate stockholders, and most importantly, customers.” In light of the recent Kyoto global climate agreement, Smith noted that General Motors’ strategy of pursuing a family of options provides the most promise of increasing fuel economy and lowering emissions. However, Smith cautioned that mandating target emissions levels and dates is risky. “Innovation, not regulation, is the answer to reducing emissions. Regulation can divert an automaker’s resources and attention from fully exploring the range of technologies, like those we are showing today.”

Highlights of GM’s family of advanced-technology vehicles:

Advanced Battery

Series Hybrid

Parallel Hybrid

Fuel-Cell Electric

Compressed Natural Gas

“Combining advanced propulsion systems with EV1’s high-efficiency vehicle architecture allows us to investigate the full potential of these emerging technologies,” said Ken Baker, vice president, Global Research and Development Operations. “These new technologies not only must be environmentally friendly, but must deliver customer value. Clean cars such as the EV1 may be niche vehicles now, but in the future they’ll be produced for mass markets.”

Baker acknowledged, “We need to partner with the petroleum industry to make our family of advanced-technology vehicles even more viable. In particular, we need low sulfur, cleaner-burning gasoline and a new formulation of diesel fuels which reduce particulate and nitrous oxide emissions. Amoco has already agreed to work with us.”

In the spirit of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), GM is pioneering these options to develop a new class of vehicle with up to 80 miles-per-gallon performance without sacrificing the affordability, safety, utility and comfort of today’s midsize cars. Collaborative work with the U.S. government contributed to the technologies unveiled by GM. Written by: Greg Elliott


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