Farago dumps on GM fuel cell program

Over at the Truth About Cars site today Robert Farago dumps all over Bob Lutz and General Motors over their emphasis on fuel cells. Farago takes issue with Lutz's efforts to direct even more development resources toward fuel cells. The article goes on to discuss how GM has lost much of its technological development prowess. Where he makes his best points is discussing the fact that while GM is putting all it's eggs into the baskets of hydrogen and developing their own unique hybrid drive-train at the expense of developing more fuel efficient smaller engines, particularly diesels for smaller cars. Although, he is largely correct on the lack of small diesels - which GM and all the other makers really need as the best near-term hope for serious mileage improvement - he does miss that GM is actually developing their hybrid system jointly with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. The system they are developing also has some very interesting elements that may take it a step beyond current hybrids. Also in-spite of the hurdles, hydrogen at least potentially provide the best long-term way of reducing or eliminating carbon emissions.

Perhaps the biggest mistake GM is making is focusing their hybrid efforts on the SUVs which are really a dead end anyway. Since they have already announced that the Zeta rear wheel drive platform will be built from the 2009 model year, they should refocus on developing a hybrid version of the Camaro and whatever else they build on that platform. This would give them a tech and potential economy advantage over the Mustang and Challenger. How about a diesel Camaro? Pony cars have always been about torque and this is where diesels shine. Since most Camaros have traditionally been sold with automatic transmissions and GM has 6 speed auto-boxes now with more gears to come, mate one with something like a refined 4.0L turbo-diesel V-6 as an efficient alternative to the V-8. If a diesel can win LeMans, why not a drag race?

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

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