Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said that the company has significantly expanded and accelerated its commitment to the development of electrically driven vehicles, and will show additional E-Flex concept applications tailored for local GM brands at the Shanghai and Frankfurt motor shows later this year.
E-Flex is the vehicle system introduced at the Detroit auto show in which the Chevrolet Volt was the first application. (Earlier post.)
The E-Flex System is a developing vehicle architecture that will encompass a range of compact to intermediate vehicles with all-electric drive systems (the “E”) powered by electricity from a variety of sources (the “Flex”).
The Volt is a series plug-in hybrid with a flex-fuel engine as a genset. The Volt uses the same electric motor as used in the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle in its electric powertrain: a 120 kW peak machine that develops 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. The Volt will use a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 136 kW of peak power. (Earlier post.)
GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters at the Geneva Show that the company would have a running Volt prototype on the road by the end of 2007, and was targeting production of an electric vehicle by 2010. (Earlier post.)
Wagoner also announced plans for an additional demonstration fleet of up to 10 fuel cell vehicles in Europe early next year. GM is rolling out a test fleet of 100 Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles in the US later this year.
GM is combining its projected longer-term move to electric drives with a more immediate focus on enhancing the efficiency of gasoline and diesel powertrains, and replacing petroleum-based fuels with alternatives such as E85 ethanol and CNG. At the show, GM is introducing a new 2.9-liter diesel and extending Saab’s E85 range.
The key as we see it at GM is energy diversity—being able to offer our customers vehicles that can be powered with many different sources of energy. We must—as a business necessity—develop alternative sources of propulsion, based on alternative sources of energy, in order to meet the world’s growing demand for our cars and trucks.—Rick Wagoner
Wagoner also affirmed GM’s support for the European Commission’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions, while recognizing these goals can best be accomplished with an integrated approach with fuel providers and governments.
The Commission’s current proposal of 130 grams CO2 per kilometer is a significant stretch, and we’re working hard to do our part to introduce new technologies that improve fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions.—Rick Wagoner