How Detroit Will Reach 35 MPG

Expect automakers to use a lot more aluminum, magnesium and lightweight steel to reduce the weight of all their cars.

Published: 22-Dec-2007

It's taken more than two decades of fighting, but the auto industry finally has a new fuel economy standard it can live with. The magic number is 35 mpg, and automakers have 13 years to get there. Now the question is: How?

Meeting that benchmark will require developing new technology, investing billions in new manufacturing and shunning the "bigger is better" mentality that has guided the auto industry for 20 years. It will be an unprecedented challenge and a seismic change for an industry that has never had much interest in either.

"This is the automotive equivalent of the moon shot," Ron Cogan, the editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and, told us. "They know they have to reach these goals. They know it won't be easy. They'll have to marshal all of their resources, and those of their suppliers, to do this."


The system operates from the Calor Gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane that is already on board for cooking. The system will fit comfortably in an aft locker, normally used for a conventional generator.

The Cadillac Provoq fuel cell concept uses GM's E-Flex propulsion system, combining the new fifth-generation fuel cell system and a lithium-ion battery to produce an electrically driven vehicle that uses no petroleum and has no emission other than water.

Powered by a 100 kW electric engine and fuel cell stack, the i-Blue is capable of running more than 370 miles per refueling and achieves a maximum speed of more than 100 miles per hour.


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