GM Working Overtime to 'Green' Its Image

A 28-year GM executive, Brent Dewar bristles at the suggestion U.S. automakers are coming too late to the game on fuel efficiency and emissions reductions.

Published: 27-Jul-2007

The visit to Madison of a top GM executive finally gave me a chance to ask the tough question.

How come the U.S. auto industry has sat on its butt since the last "oil crisis," building gas-guzzling behemoths, while competitors Honda and Toyota stole market share with fuel-efficient, high-quality vehicles?

"Now, that's a bunch of crap and you know it," said Brent Dewar, vice president of North American sales for the world's largest carmaker.

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The pollution-free technology holds the potential of zero emissions and a sustainable source of energy produced when hydrogen and oxygen are mixed.

To satisfy that demand, GM worked to improve the fuel economy of the redesigned Aveo. The manual transmission version gets up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway. That's competitive with other small cars, including Toyota Yaris, which gets 39 mpg on the highway, and Kia Rio and Honda Fit, which get 38 mpg.

Now badged a Chevrolet, the formula remains the same: hydrogen fuel cells, lithium ion batteries charged via regenerative braking, drive-by-wire controls, and three electric motors to drive the wheels.

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