Despite the criticism that GM has undergone in being late to the game on hybrids, the company is working on a program that many believe is much better late than never. As Lutz asked yesterday at an Automotive Press Association luncheon, why would you make a little car that already gets great gas mileage into a hybrid? Why not develop big trucks and SUVs — the vehicles Americans like — that get better gas mileage?
Among the technologies GM is working on or already offers in its vehicles, Autoblog has already had extensive coverage of displacement-on-demand (otherwise known as cylinder deactivation) and coverage of the hybrid Silverado. But also in the works is advanced diesel technology and E85, which is 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline. While Lutz admits that the world doesn?t have the infrastructure to support it (when?s the last time you saw E85 at your local gas station?), he claimes that we could potentially save 45 million barrels of oil a year on the cheaper fuel.
Oh, and about the hybrid deal with BMW and DaimlerChrysler, Lutz dropped a big hint about bringing another company on board, the identity of which is to be announced shortly? ?and it?s not Japanese.?