• All-new V6 diesel for European markets unveiled
  • Fuel Cell demonstration fleet and new Saab 9-3 BioPower announced
  • Further E-Flex concepts to be seen at Shanghai and Frankfurt Motor Shows

GENEVA – General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner today reinforced GM’s commitment to energy diversity through alternative sources of propulsion with the introduction of an all-new high-tech V6 diesel engine for Europe, and the announcement of a next-generation fuel cell demonstration fleet. GM’s multi-tiered strategy, which the company is showcasing at major motor shows around the world, includes accelerated development of electrically driven vehicles, intensified efforts to replace petroleum-based fuels, and enhanced efficiency of gasoline and diesel powertrains.

“The key as we see it at GM is energy diversity – being able to offer our customers vehicles that can be powered with many different sources of energy,” Wagoner said at the Geneva Motor Show. “We must – as a business necessity – develop alternative sources of propulsion, based on alternative sources of energy, in order to meet the world’s growing demand for our cars and trucks.”

In parallel, GM will continue to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines, both gas and diesel. GM’s new 250-horsepower, 2.9 liter diesel V6 for Europe offers a 40 percent increase in power, along with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s V6 diesel.

Wagoner also noted that GM has significantly expanded and accelerated its commitment to the development of electrically driven vehicles, including fuel-cell vehicles like the drivable Sequel Concept making its European debut in Geneva.

“To help us understand the real-world potential for fuel cell technology, we’ll introduce a test fleet of 100 hydrogen powered Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. later this year,” he said. “Today, we’re pleased to announce plans for an additional demonstration fleet of up to 10 fuel cell vehicles in Europe early next year.”

In addition, GM is working on extended-range electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt concept powered by E-Flex – GM’s new family of electrically driven propulsion systems specifically engineered for future small- and mid-sized vehicles. The E-Flex technology provides the flexibility to use electricity from a wide range of sources: a hydrogen fuel cell; a small internal combustion engine running on ethanol or bio-diesel; or the power grid itself, in which case the electricity can be generated by natural gas, wind, hydroelectric and so on. Wagoner announced that additional E-Flex concept applications tailored for local GM brands will be shown at the Shanghai and Frankfurt motor shows later this year.

Wagoner also discussed GM’s intensified efforts to displace traditional petroleum-based fuels with alternatives like E85 ethanol and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), and announced the extension of Saab’s BioPower lineup to include the 9-3 range, with production expected to begin in April.

“We’re big believers in bioethanol, the world’s fastest growing alternative fuel, both as a renewable source of fuel, and for its potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions on a ‘well to wheels’ basis,” he said, while also noting that GM already offers Europe’s best-selling bioethanol flex-fuel vehicle, the Saab 9-5 BioPower.

In addition to Saab’s BioPower range, Opel customers today have a wide choice of clean vehicles that emit between 120 and 140 grams per kilometer of CO2 – not only in small vehicles, but across all categories, in the Agila, Corsa, Tigra, Astra, Meriva, Combo and Zafira model ranges. The Opel Zafira CNG is another example of how GM has successfully introduced cars that use alternative fuels.

GM also affirmed its support for the European Commission’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions, while recognizing these goals can best be accomplished with an integrated approach with fuel providers and governments. “The Commission’s current proposal of 130 grams CO2 per kilometer is a significant stretch,” Wagoner said, “and we’re working hard to do our part to introduce new technologies that improve fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions.”