When it comes to General Motors vehicles with advanced
Chevrolet Volt led the charge. The attractive four-door sedan
uses a lithium-ion battery pack to travel 40 miles on a charge. It
can also be plugged into a household outlet to charge over night.
Yesterday, GM announced its Cadillac Provoq concept vehicle,
another plug-in, which couples the E-Flex propulsion system with the
company's fifth generation fuel cell stack. GM CEO Rick Wagoner today
rolled the vehicle out on stage at CES alongside the Volt during his
Wagoner stated that the Provoq and its successors are the second
big card in GM's hand in terms of protecting the environment, and
saving consumers thousands in fuel expenses. Wagoner stated, "The
auto industry can no longer depend entirely on oil... It is critical
as both a business necessity and as an obligation to society to
develop alternative energy."
Developing alternative energy, performing desirably, and looking
good at the same time are among the Provoq's abilities.
The Provoq features two 10,000 psi composite storage tanks under
the rear cargo floor which store the hydrogen. The dual tanks feed
the fuel cell stack which in turn provides up to 88 kW of power. The
9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers a 70 kW co-axial motor which
powers the front wheels while a single 40 kW motor is mounted in the
hub of each rear wheel.
Thanks to its advanced powertrain, the Provoq can travel 300 miles
with a full load of hydrogen -- it can travel a total of 20 miles on
battery power alone. Likewise, the Provoq can reach 60 MPH in just
8.5 seconds and race to a top speed of 100 MPH.
GM also added additional touches which may find their way into
future fuel cell and hybrid vehicles. The Provoq contains solar
panels on the roof which are used to power electrical accessories
within the vehicle. The front grill features louvers which remain
open under low speeds to provide maximum cooling for the fuel cell
stack, yet close to create a more streamlined shape for optimum
aerodynamic performance. Finally, the Provoq features charging ports
on either side of the vehicle ahead of the front doors -- this makes
it more convenient to charge the vehicle at home.
While the fuel cell technology is definitely an incredible
achievement for GM's Advanced Systems Integration team, the Provoq
also foreshadows the styling of the next generation Cadillac SRX
crossover utility vehicle (CUV).
The current generation SRX is built on the previous generation
Cadillac CTS chassis. The second generation CTS was recently launched
which means that the SRX is due for its own makeover. The fact that
the Provoq looks very close to production-ready and that the interior
looks like a heavily stylized version of the second generation CTS'
interior leads to the pretty obvious observation.
DailyTech asked two members of the Chevrolet Volt team
about the relationship between the Provoq and the second generation
SRX -- they looked at each other with a smile and laughed knowingly,
although their official stance was a textbook "no comment."
In addition to the Provoq, Wagner also talked up GM's OnStar
system which will have the ability to slow down a vehicle at the
request of pursuant law enforcement in the event of a vehicle theft.
Offiers can call OnStar which can then beam a signal to the car's
engine control unit (ECU) – the vehicle then safely slows to a stop
while a pleasant voice tells the driver to steer the vehicle to the
shoulder and remain in the vehicle. That segment of the keynote got
quite a rise from the crowd.
Theft deterrence was not the only
new OnStar feature, however. GM is developing a mobile phone
OnStar application which will allow you with a simple click to unlock
your car, start your engine, check your car's status, or even help
you locate it in a parking lot by turning on your lights and beeping
the horn. In the case that you lost your phone, GM engineers
personally assured DailyTech that would-be thieves would not
get out of the parking lot -- the car won't shift into gear, even if
pre-started unless the key is inserted.
Wagner also talked about the self-driving Chevrolet
Tahoe which recently won the DARPA
Urban Challenge and the Chevrolet
Equinox fuel cell vehicle which will soon be available to
southern California and fortunate east coast residents.
DailyTech will have one-on-one sessions with both the DARPA
Tahoe and the Equinox fuel cell vehicle along with the Chevrolet Volt
tomorrow. Stay tuned for more coverage.
quote: These Hybrids are a complete maintenance nightmare. Who's going to drop $3000-5000 on batteries every 10 years? Electric motors don't last forever, either. I just talked to a friend who spent $1000 on a brake job for his Prius because of the complex and expensive components in the regenerative breaking feature.
quote: So, I'm glad to see hydrogen technology kicking up with GM vehicles.
quote: However, I think Ford's approach is going to beat everybody's, especially Toyota's.Ford's plan is to make smaller, efficient, turbo-charged engines that sip fuel. Volvo will likely help them make reliable turbo engines, as Volvo has legendary reliability in the turbo deisel field.Honda plans to go the deisel route, which is almost as good as Fords solution, except that'll be a harder push on Americans that Ford saying you're getting a 4-cylinder in your Explorer, but its turbo-charged with 220hp (as much as their V6 4.0, which gets 18mpg)
quote: Toyota thinks Hybrid is the future and wants it in everything, forgetting it is expensive to maintain and only Toyota can maintain it.
quote: Overall, Honda and Ford have my support with their plans. For GM, if they can push Hydrogen into the market, I'll gladly accept something that will become commonplace.
quote: Toyota, good luck. When your customers finally start doing the math, your doomed unless you start using better battery technology ASAP.
quote: Compare it to a fuel injector or the computer for controlling the ICE...
quote: Electric motors are much simpler and more reliable than combustion engines.