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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.



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Eh?
By Oregonian2 on 1/9/2008 3:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
Curious that 95% of the postings here have nothing to do with the article or the car mentioned. Gone off on a hybrid tangent mostly.




RE: Eh?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/9/2008 4:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's quite unforunate really b/c the Provoq is quite a nice vehicle and the 5G fuel cell technology is really excisting.

Jason Mick and I had a ride and drive with the fuel cell Equinox (4G fuel cell) and the DARPA Tahoe earlier this morning -- we got to drive them around Las Vegas. Expect an article later tonight or early tomorrow morning on our experiences coupled with photos... and possibly video :)

Perhaps the comments in that article will stay on track :)


RE: Eh?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/9/2008 7:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
Jason drove a large SUV around for the sheer fun of it? He's going to have a hard time living that down at the next Greenpeace chapter meeting!


RE: Eh?
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/9/2008 11:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
HA! Well it was a hydrogen fuel cell car, I'll have you know.

And according to GM, the hybrid electric tahoe and camry get as good gas mileage as a base Toyota Camry or Mini Cooper -- sort of blows your mind.

And the SUV we drove even had a digital display counting off how many gallons of gas you had saved! How bout that?


RE: Eh?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/10/2008 2:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's probably because many of us probably don't believe we're actually going to ever SEE the vehicle in the article.

Fuel cell vehicles are one of those technologies for 15-20 years from now, have been for the last 30 years and probably will be so for the next 30 years! :)


RE: Eh?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/10/2008 1:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, you will literally SEE the vehicle in the picture within the next nine months, albeit in a traditional RWD-based crossover form with a gasoline engine.

The Provoq is a 95% representation of the next generation Cadillac SRX crossover. GM just happens to be using the Provoq as a showcase for its 5G hydrogen fuel cell tech.

As for fuel cell technology itself, GM already has 100 of the Equinox 4G fuel cell vehicles on the road.

Having driven the Equinox, it drives like any normal vehicle -- albeit MUCH quieter. The only real problem as far as releasing them to the public IMHO is the hydrogen station infrastructure and price.


RE: Eh?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/10/2008 5:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only real problem as far as releasing them to the public IMHO is the hydrogen station infrastructure and price.

Yeah, but those are two BIG problems. Personally I really don't anticipate any real mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the next 30 years. Sure there will be pilot-programs, test vehicles and special show-case models. But in terms of walking into my local GM dealership and plopping down money to buy one, I'm definitely not holding my breath.


RE: Eh?
By clovell on 1/10/2008 5:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't Arnold mandate a hydrogen-refilling infrastructure for automobiles be in place throughout California by 2015?


RE: Eh?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/10/2008 9:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
In a word, no. There are currently 25 hydrogen fueling stations in California with another 10 planned. 35 stations for a state of, what, 35 million people?


RE: Eh?
By clovell on 1/11/2008 12:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, see, I knew there was a plan - I just didn't know if it was worth anything. I guess not...


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