Nov 8, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Today's big news is of course about the election; we will have some comments soon. But meanwhile, GM's Bob Lutz continues to suggest that they'll have something to announce about PHEVs (see previous news from June, Sept and Oct at http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html). Along with the sweeping comments: "Tom Stephens (group vice president of GM Powertrain), Rick Wagoner and I believe in the ultimate electrification of the automobile," we hope GM's re-entry into the EV/PHEV market will be more than concept cars and distant promises.
New Step, Same Direction
No way GM will kill the electric car says Lutz
By JAMIE LAREAU | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek | Published 11/06/06
DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner will reveal a new step in GM's alternative-fuel vehicle programs at the Los Angeles auto show this month.
While not saying which direction GM will take, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says GM executives believe electric vehicles are the future. GM's work on fuel cell vehicles may first bear fruit as a "series hybrid" vehicle, he says.
A series hybrid could run primarily on electricity from lithium-ion batteries, with an engine as backup to replenish batteries, Lutz says. The backup engine could be a diesel or gasoline internal combustion engine. Backup energy also could come from a fuel cell.
"Tom Stephens (group vice president of GM Powertrain), Rick Wagoner and I believe in the ultimate electrification of the automobile," Lutz said in an interview with Automotive News. "We believe that's where it's going."
Such a vehicle would require "a much smaller fuel cell stack" than a vehicle in which the fuel cell powers an electric engine, Lutz said. It would be less complex than a parallel hybrid system, which constantly shifts between an electric and gasoline engine to power a vehicle.
Lutz said lithium-ion batteries must be improved to hold a bigger charge and deliver the charge gradually. Lutz believes there will be rapid battery development over the next three to four years that will provide more energy storage.
But, he said, for GM, "what started as a fuel cell project is now an electric vehicle project."