PLUG OK license plate
GM's New Focus: Ethanol + California
Jan 5, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
Want more? Become a subscriber to CalCars-News:

Below is GM's very promising announcement to be released today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's encouraging that this plan addresses both more E85-capable cars and more fueling stations, since auto makers get fleet MPG credits for building" flex-fuel" vehicles (FFVs) -- but unless we have places to fuel them, it's a symbolic gesture

Note that the project with Pacific Ethanol is for corn-based ethanol supplies (a good start). Below this news release is information on GM's joint efforts with Canadian company Iogen to promote cellulosic ethanol, which is far more beneficial from both energy efficiency and carbon emissions standpoints.

Auto-makers' increasing commitment to E85 will mean much more once they also embrace the other opportunity: powering most of the driving miles from electricity in plug-in hybrids. When that happens, what is now a primary fuel becomes a "range extender" fuel -- and, of course, we'll need far less E85.

Concerning the nation's 400 existing E85 stations, most are (nor
surprisingly) in the Corn Belt.
Searches at­database/­search.php or­locator/­LocatePane.asp
show one public station in CA: the Regional Transportation Center in San
Diego. That's why,
One place to track developments in commercializing ethanol is­

GM Joins State of California, Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, and Pacific Ethanol to Help Investigate Ethanol as Alternative, Renewable Fuel

State Endorses E85; GM offers vehicles; Chevron Technology Ventures LLC provides blending and dispensing; Pacific Ethanol provides ethanol

LOS ANGELES -- General Motors will help lead a joint demonstration project along with the state of California, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Pacific Ethanol to learn more about consumer awareness and acceptance of E85 as a motor vehicle fuel by demonstrating its use in GM's flexible-fuel vehicles. The announcement was made as a result of a non-binding understanding made public 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 for consideration in the state's annual competitive bid process. 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.

Since California currently imports more than half of its crude oil, it has become a statewide priority to develop and grow diverse energy sources. The ethanol project is designed to explore the merits of E85 to help meet that goal, and its potential to meet and exceed California's high standards for fuel quality and environmental emissions.

"Governor Schwarzenegger strongly supports the development of alternative fuels to improve California's air quality, reduce CO2 emissions, and achieve energy independence," said Cal/EPA Secretary Alan C. Lloyd. "This demonstration program involving E-85 fuel technology insures that California will continue to play a leading role in protecting the environment and public health."

Although somewhat lower in energy content, ethanol delivers similar performance as regular gasoline and is a renewable, domestically-produced fuel. E85, a blend of 85 percent ethyl alcohol and 15 percent gasoline, is produced from the starch and sugar in agricultural products, primarily domestically-produced corn.

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

For GM, this collaboration with the state of California is an important first step in helping create and grow an E85 refueling infrastructure for its E85-capable vehicles currently on the road and in showrooms, according to Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM's vice president of environment and energy.

"We are delighted to work with California, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Pacific Ethanol on this important campaign and we commend the state of California for its leadership," Lowery said. "GM will continue to work to promote the increased use of E85 through partnerships that demonstrate the many benefits that E85 and a diverse energy supply has for the environment, the economy and consumers."

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

"Each plant will create more than 700 new jobs in California, and infuse more than $100 million in capital into the local economy," Jones said. "E85 can help increase the amount of renewable fuel already used in California. Pacific Ethanol is pleased to be a part of the work, and looks forward to helping supply more and more ethanol for the state."

GM has made a major commitment to E85 flexible fuel vehicles in the United States, with 1.5 million of these vehicles on the road today. GM approved the use of 10 percent ethanol blended gasoline in all GM products more than 20 years ago, and produces almost five million E10 capable vehicles annually.

For the 2006 model year, GM offers nine E85 flexible fuel vehicles, including the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Impala, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. In Europe, the GM-owned Saab brand is making significant headway with the E85-fueled Saab 9-5 BioPower, which is now available to consumers in Sweden and Germany. A 310 hp concept version of the 9-5 BioPower debuted at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show to illustrate how Saab might extend this initiative to the United States.

GM's E85 vehicles are capable of operating on either gasoline or 85 percent ethanol without any additional modifications, aftermarket conversions, or cumbersome switches for vehicle users. Currently, there are more than 400 public E85 fueling sites in operation across the nation.

In addition to producing E85 flexible fuel vehicles, GM has also partnered with the Governors' Ethanol Coalition (GEC), a bipartisan group of governors devoted to the promotion and increased use of ethanol. This collaborative effort is designed to increase awareness of ethanol and flexible fuel vehicles, and to promote the increased use of E85 as a renewable, alternative transportation fuel that is able to meet the demands of today's drivers.

More information on GM's alternative fuel product offerings can be found at

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs about 323,000 people globally. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 192 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM, its advanced technologies and environmental initiatives can be found on the company's corporate website at

Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, identifies, develops and commercializes emerging technologies and new energy systems. These include investments for hydrogen-related technologies, advanced energy storage technologies, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Technology Ventures is headquartered in Houston, Texas. More information about Chevron Technology Ventures can be found at


Dave Barthmuss
General Motors

Jerry Martin
California Air Resources Board

Kim Copelin
Chevron Technology Ventures

Tom Koehler
Pacific Ethanol

Christine Milligan
Mullen Public Relations

Iogen and General Motors "Green" UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal

MONTREAL, Nov. 25,2005 - Twelve Canadian-built ethanol flex fuel Chevrolet Impalas, fueled with Iogen's cellulose ethanol, will shuttle conference delegates of the U.N. 11th Conference of Parties Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Montreal from November 28th to December 9th.

The flex fuel Chevrolet Impala is capable of running on fuels blended with up to 85% ethanol. Michael Grimaldi, President of GM, stated, "We are proud to provide the Climate Change Conference participants from around the globe with Canadian built cars powered by Canadian made cellulose ethanol. With this fuel, the Chevrolet Impala has a net CO2 footprint that is less than any vehicle sold by any automaker in North America."

The joint effort between the Government of Canada, General Motors and Iogen is a prime opportunity to showcase recent innovations in advanced vehicle technology, alternative fuel technology and Canada's commitment to its Kyoto Climate Change Plan.

The Hon. John McCallum, Minister of Natural Resources stated, "I am pleased to see GM's auto industry leadership, in showcasing a full size sedan with this ultra low CO2 emissions capability at the COP 11 conference."

"This demonstrates the extraordinary environmental potential of combining advanced vehicle and fuel technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry. "This is a great example of how Canadian business has risen to the challenge of reducing emissions through innovation and environmentally sound technology and the Government of Canada is proud to partner with them on such initiatives."

Canadian-based Iogen Corporation is providing 4,000 litres of its fuel to be used in the vehicles during the Conference. Cellulose ethanol is made from agricultural residues such as cereal straws and corn stover. "Iogen is pleased to demonstrate firsthand to UN delegates that cellulose ethanol is ready to go," says Jeff Passmore, Executive Vice President, Iogen Corporation. "By using straw to make this low CO2 fuel, we are reducing gasoline consumption and GHG emissions without altering our mobility or ability to travel," says Passmore.

GM has been working with the government of Ontario and the Federal government and the fuel industry in the promotion of this vehicle technology in an effort to improve the availability of ethanol based fuels in Canada. GM is the largest producer of ethanol powered flexible fuel vehicles (capable of running on gasoline blends containing up to 85% Ethanol (E-85)) with over 1.1 million vehicles on the road in North America.

Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, General Motors of Canada employs more than 20,000 people nationwide. GM of Canada manufactures a variety of vehicles, engines, transmissions and other components, and markets the full range of General Motors' vehicles and related services through over 785 dealerships and retailers across Canada. Vehicles sold through this network include Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Hummer, Saturn, and Saab.

Iogen is a leading biotechnology firm specializing in cellulose based ethanol - an advanced, renewable transportation fuel made from agricultural residue that can be used in today's cars. The Company also develops, manufactures and markets enzymes used to modify and improve the processing of natural fibers within the textile, animal feed, and pulp and paper industries. In operation since 1974, Iogen is a privately held company located in Ottawa, Canada. For more information, visit

Copyright 2003-09 California Cars Initiative, an activity of the International Humanities Center | Site Map