Print 94 comment(s) - last by theapparition.. on Jan 14 at 11:36 AM

Chevrolet Volt  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)

Cadillac Provoq  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)

  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)
GM uses CES to display its highly computerized automobiles

When it comes to General Motors vehicles with advanced powertrains, the 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 keynote address.

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Props to GM
By MadMaster on 1/9/2008 2:11:18 PM , Rating: 1
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.

After 10 years, the engine breaks, starters break, rotors need replacement, bearing need replacement, etc. By that time, nobody is going to care about a battery pack. The car is already too old. Yes, electric motors don't last forever, but they can be made MUCH more reliable than a engine! Trust me, I am working on a regenerative breaking system. It encompasses a electronic switch and a bridge rectifier. That's it! About $50 worth of components. It's not a complex system. Compare it to a fuel injector or the computer for controlling the ICE...

So, I'm glad to see hydrogen technology kicking up with GM vehicles.

Hydrogen technology is not only more complex than hybrid technology, it is not economical. Do your research and you'll understand.

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)

Yeah, you'll get 22mpg. What if gas isn't available? With a hybrid, you can still get around (40 miles with the volt). With this advanced ford engine, if the gas station doesn't have gas, you're screwed! (remember the 70s?)

Toyota thinks Hybrid is the future and wants it in everything, forgetting it is expensive to maintain and only Toyota can maintain it.

Toyota made a profit last year. Did Ford or GM? I don't think so! The Prius is VERY profitable for Toyota.

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.

Please don't bring up Hydrogen. It has been nothing but a hole for research money for the last 15 years (In the billions of dollars). Made a few bucks here and there. Hybrids have already made MUCH more money than hydrogen...again do your research into hydrogen. It is nothing but a dead end technology.

Toyota, good luck. When your customers finally start doing the math, your doomed unless you start using better battery technology ASAP.

Again, who's making money? Toyota or Ford or GM?

RE: Props to GM
By masher2 on 1/9/2008 2:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
> "Please don't bring up Hydrogen. It has been nothing but a hole for research money "

Far more research dollars have been spent on electric and hybrid vehicles and, up until about 5 years ago, both had been "nothing but a hole" as well.

Technology advances, and times change.

RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 2:51:33 PM , Rating: 1
Compare it to a fuel injector or the computer for controlling the ICE...
Fuel injectors are soooo complicated. It either works or it doesn't. That's hard. And the computer? Hook it up to a machine that does diagnostics and that's it. For someone smart enough to build a regenerative braking system you sure are dumb on how a combustion engine works.

BTW, a typical doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

RE: Props to GM
By smaddox on 1/9/2008 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
Thats like saying: "The probability of rolling a 1 on a die is easy! It is either a 1, or it isn't!"

However, that is not really the case. Saying "Hook it up to a machine that does diagnostics and that's it" is a bit of a simplification. How exactly does it perform those diagnostics? Could you design one of those machines in an hour?

Electric motors are much simpler and more reliable than combustion engines.

RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 5:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
Electric motors are much simpler and more reliable than combustion engines.
Saying the above is a bit of a simplification. Can you design an electric motor in an hour?

RE: Props to GM
By masher2 on 1/9/2008 5:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
> "Saying the above is a bit of a simplification"

Its not an oversimplification by any stretch of the imagination. An electric motor has far fewer parts than an IC engine and its associated emissions control system.

Furthermore, many large industrial electric motors are capable of lasting 30-40 years with little to no maintenance. Ever seen a car engine do that?

RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 6:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
I know. I was trying to make a point but failed miserably. You didn't just throw out some info and expect everyone to believe you because you said so. You backed the info up or at least gave us a starting point to research ourselves. That's what I was trying to get him to do.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki