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GM's goal is to cut weight by as much as 15 percent to reduce fuel consumption

General Motors (GM) is in the midst of developing an electric vehicle (EV) that can achieve 200 miles of battery-only range.

GM CEO Dan Akerson unveiled the project last week at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference broadcast on

“There will be breakthroughs in battery technology, they’re on the horizon,” Akerson said. “We’re actually developing a car today which is really anathema to the way the auto industry works: We’re running a dual play on the technology to see which one will succeed. One will result in” a 100-mile range, “the other will be a 200-mile range.”

Akerson went on to say that fuel consumption can be reduced by 6.5 percent if the vehicle weight is cut by 10 percent. GM's goal is to cut weight by as much as 15 percent.

GM CEO Dan Akerson
Further, Akerson described GM's previous plans to put 500,000 green vehicles on the roads by 2017. It's doing this with its Chevrolet Volt, the new all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark and a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze.

GM hopes to increase Volt sales by 20 percent this year alone.

“Everywhere you look there are opportunities to seize the energy high ground,” Akerson said. “Indeed, our leaders have been presented with an historic opportunity to create a national energy policy from a position of strength and abundance. The pillars of such a plan must include energy diversity, so we do not become dependent on any one fuel or energy source.”

Last week, Akerson called for a consumer-driven national energy policy where he'd like President Barack Obama to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission (which would lead to the development a 30-year policy framework for energy security with progress reviews every five years).

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: Diesel is not green
By Solandri on 3/11/2013 12:00:40 PM , Rating: 3
"Simply because" it burns as clean as gasoline? You missed where he pointed out that diesels were also more efficient.

Diesel isn't that much more efficient that gasoline. You can't look at MPG to compare efficiency because diesel is a denser fuel. It weighs more per gallon than gasoline, or put another way if you processed a gallon of diesel to convert it to gasoline, you'd get about 1.15 gallons of gasoline. That's why chemists do their calculations by mass, not by volume.

After you account for that, diesel is a litte more efficient than gasoline primarily because of the higher compression ratios used in diesel engines. In that respect it's similar to a high-octane gasoline. Also, most of the vehicles which use it (trucks) are not general-purpose. They have one task (hauling loads of x tons) and their engines can be designed with that exact load in mind.

That said, diesel is refined from the same petroleum as I understand it and, therefore, it's not a substitute. More demand for it doesn't make things more or less green because the other refined products WILL be used.

There's some wriggle room in the refining process, and you can to some extent vary the amount of diesel vs. gasoline you get out of a barrel of oil. It's partly dependent on the type of crude oil (e.g. heavy Alaskan crude favors diesel, Texas light sweet crude favors gasoline, though diesel and gasoline are very similar in the hierarchy of things you make from petroleum). And heavier fuels like diesel can be "cooked" to break up its molecules into lighter fuels like gasoline. Going the other way is harder.

That's also why reusable shopping bags aren't "green" in any way, shape or form. The plastic is a BYPRODUCT of oil production.

I always figured they weren't "green" because they're being thrown away in landfills after a single use. I'd rather we use plastics for semi-durable things like car body panels and TV exteriors, instead of single-use disposable items.

RE: Diesel is not green
By CZroe on 3/11/2013 3:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
A great read. Thanks. BTW, I think you missed "reusable" when you responded to that last quote of mine. ;)

Also, as I understand it, the plastic from plastic bags isn't appropriate for most durable/semi-durable uses or else there would be demand for it and it would be used for it. That's not to say that the market won't find a suitable use, but a more suitable use after we stop using it for shopping bags would either be completely new/novel (how convenient) or now financially viable only due to the drop in demand/price.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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