Gm Europe Launches Environment Initiative

by : Iver Penn

General Motors Corp.'s European division announced an affirmation on Friday regarding making its model line more environmentally friendly. The division said that it would put cleaner engines in conventional cars, offer more cars that can use ethanol and move ahead with fuel cell technology.

Company officials said at a news conference in Berlin that the company dubbed the program ecoFLEX and it would offer an ecoFLEX version with lower emissions in each model line, starting with the 2008 Corsa 1.3 CDTI compact from its European Opel brand.

The car will emit only 119 grams per kilogram of carbon dioxide, a figure that is below the proposed EU average standard of 130 grams per kilogram. According to the officials, one key to the new models was that the company aimed to have them driven the same and cost the same as the more conventional vehicles they are based on.

Saab, a Swedish brand, would also expand its range of biofuel engines. Even luxury brand Cadillac will offer a model with an E85 biofuel engine by fall 2007. E85 is a term used for motor fuel blends of up to 85 percent ethanol - an alcohol that can be derived from plants - and just 15 percent gasoline.

Vice Chairman Bob Lutz of General Motors said that the program offers ways to trim down CO2 emissions quickly. He said that E85 has a very strong potential to significantly minimize CO2 from passenger cars in the near term. He added that a pan-European policy is required to make the necessary fuels widely available and reflect the lower CO2 emissions in vehicle taxation.

GM officials said that they would tackle environmental concerns with several technologies instead of just focusing on just one. They continued that they were moving ahead "flat-out" on developing vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells, while other technologies could simply enhance the environmental performance of existing internal combustion engines.

One example was the Eco-Turbo engines that make use of smaller cylinder displacements but yield equivalent power and efficiency through turbo charging.

The company claimed that it would develop 16 new GM Europe engine families and 10 new transmission families by 2012.

About General Motors Corporation

The world's largest automaker, General Motors Corp., has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today has almost 284,000 employees around the world. GM manufactures its cars, auto part like and trucks in 33 countries. With global headquarters in Detroit, the company in 2006 globally sold 9.1 million GM cars and trucks under Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall brands.