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GM in E85 Project Partnership in California

General Motors will join the state of California, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Pacific Ethanol in a project designed to learn more about consumer awareness and acceptance of E85 (an 85% ethanol blend) as a motor vehicle fuel. The partners announced their non-binding understanding today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

GM intends to offer between 50 to 100 of its E85-capable Chevrolet Impala passenger cars and Silverado pickup trucks. Flexible-fuel vehicles will be used by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) at various operations in Northern California and the state’s Central Valley.

Chevron Technology Ventures intends to work with CalTrans to provide E85 fuel and install the necessary refueling pumps in these locations. Pacific Ethanol, a California-based ethanol production and marketing company, intends to provide the ethanol to Chevron Technology Ventures for the project.

Chevron is exploring a variety of energy sources, including ethanol. We expect this effort will help us learn more about consumer acceptance of E85 as well as issues surrounding its production and distribution.

—Greg Vesey, president, Chevron Technology Ventures

GM views the collaboration with the state of California as a step in helping create and grow an E85 refueling infrastructure for its E85-capable vehicles.

Pacific Ethanol is constructing a large-scale ethanol facility in Madera, California, and has plans to build four ethanol plants in the state during the next two years, according to Bill Jones, Pacific Ethanol’s Chairman.

For the 2006 model year, GM is offering nine E85 flexible fuel vehicles: the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Impala, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

In Europe, GM-owned Saab is making good headway with the E85-fueled Saab 9-5 BioPower, which is now available to consumers in Sweden and Germany. (Earlier post.) Saab is showing a 310-hp concept version of the 9-5 BioPower at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show to illustrate how Saab might extend this initiative to the United States.

Comments

Frank Giovinazzi

Hello all -- I interviewed Beth Lowery, GM's Vice President in charge of this project for the Car Buyer's Notebook podcast. Here's the link to the show:

http://www.carbuyersnotebook.com/archives/2006/01/gm_announces_ca.htm

adrianna zeneberg

I was wondering what the outlook was as far as a time line in getting "green fuel" into the public consumer market. How far out will the wait be before we start to see "green fuel" pumps available at reliable distances in the midwest, making the purchase of one of these vehicles worth considering? (I have two years to go on the lein on my current Chevy S10, and am starting to plan for my next vehicle. I will keep my S10 as a backup)

JEWEL CHRISTENSEN

i HAD SEEN THE COMMERCIAL ON T.V. ABOUT lIVE GREEN GO YELLOW PROGRAM. HOW DO i GO ABOUT GETTING A TEE-SHIRT?

Kevin Peralta

Is GM selling E85 vehicles to California general public consumers at this time? If not, when and why not? It's obvious E85 will snowball through California as E85 fuel and it's production ramps up here. It's long overdue. It has been nothing short of a God send to Brazil and their economy. I have no doubt it will do the same for good old U.S. of A. I'd like to by a new '06/'07 Impala but will wait until Chevy sells the E85 models in California. I guess I'll just have to keep driving our old '95 family Buick Le Sabre until then.

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