GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner unveiled a collaborative strategy and the first two initiatives under that strategy to support the Chinese government’s pursuit of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transportation that will be based on the principle of “in China, with China, for China.”
The first initiative under the strategy is the establishment of the GM Center for Advanced Science and Research (CASR), part of a new US$250 million GM corporate campus in Shanghai, which is to be home to GM’s operations in China as well as its Asia-Pacific headquarters. The center will carry out advanced research projects in partnership with the Chinese government, industry partners and academic institutions.
The new GM Center for Advanced Science and Research will support China as it undertakes one of the most rapid technological transformations in world history. It is designed to bring together various resources, including SAIC’s new Energy Unit, to accelerate research in the areas of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly automotive technologies, as well as alternative fuel pathways that are socially responsible, economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and technologically feasible.
We see China as being among the first markets and production sites for alternative propulsion systems, including the new flexible fuel, plug-in type of electric vehicles currently under development by GM. This flexible vehicle, which can accommodate a variety of propulsion systems and fuels, is the perfect platform for illustrating the range and diversity of projects this new center will undertake.—Rick Wagoner
GM CASR joint research and development will focus on three main areas:
Alternative fuels. GM will commit “significant” resources to exploring various biofuel options, including the development of non-food cellulosic ethanol technologies.
Advanced alternative energy propulsion systems. Studies will include the development of lightweight materials designed to reduce the mass and improve the energy efficiency of motor vehicles. The center will also work on the electrification of the motor vehicle, reflecting GM’s expansion and acceleration of its commitment to the development of electrically driven vehicles, beyond what it has already committed to with its fuel cell and hybrid programs.
Manufacturing and supplier energy efficiency.
The new GM Center for Advanced Science and Research will also be fully integrated into GM’s existing global research-and-development network. CAERC will also leverage GM’s extensive university relationships in the US and around the world.
The second initiative is the establishment of the China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC), a collaborative effort with Beijing’s Tsinghua University and GM’s strategic partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC). GM and SAIC will jointly provide a five-year, US$5 million grant to Tsinghua University to establish CAERC.
Based in Beijing, CAERC will work with various organizations in government, academia, and related industries in China to develop a comprehensive and integrated energy strategy. Tsinghua University, SAIC and GM will share resources and personnel, and collaborate on numerous projects to develop a strategy for reducing China’s reliance on petroleum-based fuel. The common objective of the partners is to make the center China’s most advanced organization for automotive energy research and strategy development.
More broadly, GM said that it will expand its relationships with Chinese universities and businesses and reinforce collaboration with SAIC, including Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC).