Stuart has reported that a large theme of GM’s press conference at the L.A. auto show was E85 and the flexible-fuel vehicles capable of running on the mixture of ethanol and gasoline. Mark LaNeve, who hosted GM’s press conference today, took the opportunity to dig on hybrids a bit when he said that flex-fuel vehicles "are free to the customer, not like hybrids,” where a customer pays a premium.
One of the major announcements by the General was its collaborating on a joint demo project with the state of California, Chevron Technology Ventures and Pacific Ethanol. The project would involve evaluating 50 – 100 E85 Impalas and Silverados in the state’s annual competitive bid process for fleet vehicles. The vehicle’s would be used by the CA Dept. of Transportation in northern CA and the Central Valley. Pacific Ethanol will provide the ethanol and Chevron will provide the final fuel and pumps to deliver it.
Pacific Ethanol is currently building a large ethanol facility in Madera, CA, with plans for four more plants in the next two years, each creating at least 700 jobs.
GM now offers nine FFVs, including the Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, Yukon XL, Silverado, Sierra, Avalanche, Impala and Monte Carlo. The company also unveiled the Saab 9-5 Aero BioPower concept in L.A., an FFV that produces 310 hp on E85.