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Chevy Announces 2014 Spark EV Pricing Starts at $27,495

May 23rd, 2013

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Electric Vehicle buyers in the US looking for a good deal now have three models to choose from, as General Motors just announced that pricing for the 2014 Chevy Spark EV starts at $27,495. Buyers can also lease the EV for as low as $199 a month, which is the same monthly rate as the Fiat 500e and the Nissan Leaf.

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Dashboard, Take a Memo: New Cars Text, Take Dictation

March 29th, 2013
Automakers including Chrysler, BMW and General Motors are racing to make driving less distracting for those who want to text, e-mail and even check social media behind the wheel.

"Integrating certain apps into a vehicle limits eyes off the road and will remove the temptation to hold, look and manipulate the phone," says Tom Baloga, the recently retired engineering VP at BMW.

Among automakers' text/voice initiatives:

--Several Chrysler models, including the Dodge Dart, can turn text to voice or allow drivers to read messages on dashboard screens. Drivers can respond with a few select responses, such as "I'm on my way," spokesman Eric Mayne says.

--GM announced last month that 2013 Chevrolet Sonic and Spark vehicles with the Chevrolet MyLink communications system can translate voice to text and text to voice for drivers with compatible iPhones with iOS 6. GM also plans to add 4G LTE WiFi in some 2015 models.

--When phones are paired with BMWs, drivers can get e-mail messages on dashboard screens that are limited to three lines. Text to speech will read the whole e-mail back.

--Audi, which uses voice recognition for "points of interest" and full street addresses, is working on voice-enabled features to allow drivers to send or receive text messages or use social networks in the car "without having to handle a device," says Anupam Malhotra, Audi of America's manager of connected cars.

Focus group research by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers late last year found that 90% of drivers with smartphones keep them in their hand, lap, cup holder or on the passenger seat.

"So, clearly, having access is really important to them," Alliance spokesman Wade Newton says.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents also said the government shouldn't ban the use of hands-free, voice-activated phone systems. If the government did ban these systems, almost half of those with smartphones said they'd use...



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Q&A: John Lauckner, General Motors chief technology officer

February 25th, 2013

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, At Witz End

2011 cadillac elr concept

john lauckner gmJohn Lauckner, one of the masterminds behind General Motors' breakthrough Chevrolet Volt EREV, has a full bag of big responsibilities these days that he calls the "technology trifecta." First, he is GM's chief technology officer. Second, he's R&D vice president. Third, as if those two jobs were not enough, he's president of GM Ventures, the company's venture capital subsidiary. "Basically," he says, "I'm deeply involved in technology."

I caught up with him for a brief chat at the Detroit North American International Auto Show in January and started with the same big question I've asked a lot of industry executives lately:

ABG: How will GM, or any full-line manufacturer, meet future Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates, and California's ZEV mandate? You will be required to sell increasing numbers of zero-emission EVs and other electrified vehicles regardless of consumer demand for them?

JL: We're going to have to schedule some invention. If you look at the technology we're working with today, you have one view of what's possible. But the technology is rapidly changing, so we focus on five areas where we think important breakthroughs will likely occur:
  • One, automotive clean tech and propulsion-related technologies. That means batteries. motors, power electronics, emissions control devices and fuel economy technologies.
  • Two, connected vehicles and infotainment, where information and entertainment intersect.
  • Three, advanced materials - lightweight, eco-friendly and space-change materials, and forming technologies - the kinds of materials that cars and trucks of the future will be made of.
  • Four, sensors, processors, and memory. There is a lot of capability that more advanced sensors, processors and memory will let us unlock.
  • And five, manufacturing-related technologies.

"Within the fuel-economy regulations, there is a "check-up" in 2017."

Those are not the only areas where we will see new technology, but those are the ones where we believe that having a competitive advantage will probably drive longer-term and more sustainable benefits. Also, within the fuel-economy regulations, there is a "check-up" in 2017, where we will see where we are and figure out what that means for the regulations in place for beyond that time.

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Q&A: John Lauckner, General Motors chief technology officer originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 25 Feb 2013 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why GM’s 2.0-liter diesel is cleaner in America’s Cruze than it is in Europe

February 8th, 2013

Filed under: Diesel, Chevrolet, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, Chicago Auto Show

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 Turbo Diesel Engine

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze will have three different engine options soon, including the new 2.0-liter diesel powerplant that is debuting here at the Chicago Auto Show. The other powertrain choices include the made-in-Toledo 1.4 turbo gas engine used in the Eco and upper trim models and the 1.8-liter gas engine (made in Toluca, Mexico; it is also built elsewhere for other vehicles). The diesel is made in Kaiserslautern, Germany. In short, this is an example of GM's global network, and the oil-burner is a long-term player in the game: the basic architecture of this engine has been sold since 1985. GM sold over a half-million diesel-powered cars around the world in the last year, including 33,000 Cruze diesels. In Europe, 40-percent of Cruze sales are diesel. The engine is currently used in a number of General Motors vehicles in Europe, including Zafira, Astra and Insignia models from Opel.

Well, almost. Mike Siegrist, chief engineer behind the US engine, tells AutoblogGreen that Chevrolet engineers in the US worked with GM's team in Torino, Italy to adapt the powerplant for GM's first US diesel passenger car since the 1986 Chevette. To do this, the team tinkered with four main aspects: emissions, diagnostics, environmental conditions (that is, how hot or cold it is outside) and altitude. Siegrist notes the US has higher paved roads - Mount Evans in Colorado, for example - than Europe does, and it also has stricter emissions regulations, all of which necessitated the changes.

Thus, the US Cruze TD has a new intake manifold and throttle body system and an increased capacity exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler that offers better NOx control, Siegrist said. A common rail piezo injection system running at 1,600 bar (the European engine runs at 2,000 bar) offers "really, really good fuel control," Siegrist says. To start in colder conditions, the US diesel engine has ceramic glow plugs while the Europeans get metal glow plugs. There is also an engine oil heater that can be plugged in if you're trying to start the Cruze in frostbite conditions.

With all of these changes, the US 2.0 turbodiesel engine actually ends up being cleaner than the European model. Siegrist wouldn't venture a guess as to how much cleaner, exactly, but he did say it meets the stricter US standards and that, "the margin's bigger than what you think." So, for all those times when we wished we could taste the forbidden fruit of a European powertrain, this is a chance for America to get the better - or at least cleaner - end of the bargain. Unfortunately, tuning for US emissions and fuel also means we get less power. The estimated power output of the 2.0-liter diesel in the US is 148 horsepower, but its European counterpart enjoys 163. The price of progress.

Why GM's 2.0-liter diesel is cleaner in America's Cruze than it is in Europe originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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General Motors Teases the 2014 Cadillac ELR Extended-Range EV Ahead of Its Detroit Auto Show Debut

December 18th, 2012

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If you’re a fan of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, but have wanted a bit more style, General Motors might have something for you. Next month GM is going to unveil the 2014 Cadillac ELR extended-range electric vehicle, which shares its electric drivetrain with the Volt, but is wrapped in a much sexier exterior. We’re just under a month away from its official debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, but GM has released a teaser photo of the new electric luxury coupe.

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Cadillac, General Motors, Cadillac ELR, Cadillac Converj, 2013 Detroit Auto Show, electric vehicle, Chevy Volt, green transporation, plug-in hybrid, hybridThe Cadillac Converj concept

The 2014 Cadillac ELR will borrow its design heavily from the Cadillac Converj concept. From this single teaser photo we can tell that the production version will retain the concept’s side profile, but we will have to wait until next month to see what has changed. GM hasn’t released any other details about the 2014 ELR, other than stating that it will enter production by the end of 2013 and be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

“The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology,” General Motors North America President Mark Reuss said in a keynote address at the SAE Convergence Conference in Detroit. “People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design.”

The 2014 Cadillac ELR will have its world debut on January 15th.

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General Motors Repurposes Expired Chevy Volt Batteries to Power Homes

November 15th, 2012

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As more and more electric and hybrid cars are sold, there is a growing concern about what to do with the batteries that power these vehicles once they reach their expiration date. General Motors and ABB have unveiled a new modular unit that uses the power from five used Chevy Volt batteries to provide up to two hours of electricity for three to five average homes.

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General Motors unveiled the new modular unit at its Electrification Experience in San Francisco, California. The prototype unit provided 25 kW of power and 50 kWh of energy to power all the support lighting and audiovisual equipment in an “off-grid” structure used for the event.

GM’s battery development extends throughout the entire life of the battery, including secondary use,” said Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of battery lifecycle management. “In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.”

The energy storage system could could one day be used to power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage, allow for storage of power during inexpensive periods for use during expensive peak demand, or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

“The ABB-GM Volt battery system is the world’s first use of car batteries as possible back-up power for homes and other commercial uses. We will be installing it on the grid soon to complete the technical evaluation, and this will tell us all what smart grid applications are possible, like back-up power, reducing energy cost, strengthening utilities’ distribution systems and storing surplus renewable energy,” said Allen Burchett, ABB’s senior vice president for Business Development in North America.

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GM cuts European jobs, shares spike

October 31st, 2012
DETROIT (AP) -- Shares of General Motors surged Wednesday after the company announced big job cuts in Europe and reported third-quarter earnings that were far better than Wall Street expected....


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Can Windsor help in GM’s high-tech hiring spree?

October 10th, 2012

A local information technology and software company is wishing General Motors good luck in finding 1,500 computer professionals in the Windsor-Detroit region.



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GM plans to hire 10,000 computer professionals

October 10th, 2012

General Motors is moving past layoffs and the Motor City's rusty, low-tech image. It's setting out on its own to develop software and invent the most advanced gizmos for your car.



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