Shifting Gears, GM Now Sees Green

Push for Fuel-Saving Technology Includes Building the Volt, an Electric Car

Published: 29-May-2007

Five years ago, General Motors Corp. gave the world the Hummer H2, a vehicle so fuel-thirsty that GM took advantage of a federal loophole that allowed the company not to publish its estimated mileage.

Today, the No. 1 U.S. auto maker by sales, usually the most conservative of Detroit's Big Three, has assigned hundreds of engineers and millions of dollars to an effort to become the greenest company in the auto industry.
 
Engineering teams at GM's technical center in Warren, Mich., are scrambling to turn a recently unveiled electric concept car into a production vehicle within three to four years. This month, GM kicked off a drive to hire 400 technical experts to work on fuel-saving technology and other innovations, and became the first auto maker to sign up for a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, which are blamed for global warming.

This year, GM's research labs are scheduled to turn its hydrogen fuel-cell technology over to an engineering group that prepares new powertrains for commercial launch, a sign of increased determination to put hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road.

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GM, which donated the now missing EV1 to the National Museum of American History, happens to be one of the Smithsonian Institution's biggest contributors, which seems a strange coincidence on the EVe of "Who Killed the Electric Car?".

Tesla Motors, a four-year-old Silicon Valley start-up, has raised $60 million and spent $25 million developing a two- seat Roadster that will sell for between $85,000 and $100,000.

There are so few green 'stars' at the British International Motor Show this year because there doesn't seem to be that much demand for them. Pictured is Axiam microcar similar to electric version debuted in London this week, along with Smart EV.

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