General Motors CEO, Rick Wagoner, just wrapped up his keynote address to the salivating throngs of journos within the LA convention center and the crux of his comments centered on the flexibility of GM's future vehicle's fuel systems.

The major announcement was the development of a plug-in hybrid setup on the Saturn Vue Green Line's front-wheel drive platform. It will be based on the front-wheel drive two-mode hybrid drivetrain that GM also announced today. Although no time frame was cited, Wagoner insists that development is underway with battery manufacturers to develop the technology as quickly as possible.

We'll have more information as the day progresses.

On a comical side note: two well dressed gentlemen in their 20s grabbed the podium after Wagoner's remarks and pulled out a large banner that pledged that the CEO would commit to making GM the most fuel efficient automaker by 2010. When asked to sign, Wagoner commented that his speech spoke for itself, at which point both gentlemen were escorted off the stage by security. Never a dull moment on this side of the planet.

The full press release can be found after the jump, as well my notes from the speech as it was being given.

The mayor of LA openned up the show. Antonio villaragossa?

Mayor offers up la as a base of operations for GM to Wagoner. Applause. Natch. 10 percent of total car sales in the us. 15 auto design centers in la. Wants la to be the biggest green city in the us. Presents award for the 100th anniversary of the la auto show to the head of the autoshow.

Matt stone of motor trend setup wagoner to speak.

A century ago there were three prevailing forms of power battling it out to power cars.

"Edison might have had a great idea. "

Everything in the past 5 years
Uncertain energy future
Energy security
35 percent of energy needs provided by petoleum
70 percent more energy necessary by 2030 than in 2003

"Energy diversity"
Strategy - increase efficiency and use E85 and biofuel and ethanol. 2 mil E85 GM vehicles on the road. Double that figure by 2010 for all domestic automakers. Then hybrids. Then hydrogen.

Half of cars bio fuel capable by 2012

"Keep an open mind" on ethanol.

Within the next 3 years bioethanol will be made avail on all hummer models and future models.

Gm expanding and accelerating devel of electrical vehicles. Why? Diverse fuel sources upstream of vehicle. Increased performance and environmental sustainability.

Hybrid 2 mode system with bmw and dc for suvs.

Plugin hybrids - want it, but battery tech isn't there.

FWD Saturn Vue 2008 will have two mode hybrid and will serve as the platform for PLUGIN CAPABILITY. No dates firm on introduction. Announced later today. Partnering with battery companies to develop capacity.

Fuel cells still best long term solution.

Equinox will be a fuel cell fleet car for next year.

More announcements to follow in detroit and next year.

Mayor push for flexibility of fuel sources on GM's products. Electricity is the major power source to be used.


GM Announces Intention to Produce Plug-in Hybrid SUV

Saturn Vue Green Line Will Use Modified 2-mode Hybrid System, Lithium Ion Battery

LOS ANGELES – General Motors Corp. intends to produce a Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV, the automaker announced at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show.

This hybrid SUV will use a modified version of GM's 2-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology, a Lithium Ion battery pack when ready, highly efficient electronics and powerful electric motors to achieve significant increases in fuel economy.

"GM has begun work on a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid production vehicle," said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. "The technological hurdles are real, but we believe they are also surmountable. I can't give you a production date for our plug-in hybrid today. But I can tell you that this is a top priority program for GM, given the huge potential it offers for fuel-economy improvement."

A plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle differs from non-plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles by offering extended electric-only propulsion, additional battery capacity and the ability to be recharged from an external electrical outlet.

The Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid is expected to offer electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles. At higher speeds or when conditions demand it, such as brisk acceleration, a combination of engine and electric power or engine power only will propel the vehicle.

In addition to plug-in capabilities and the modified 2-mode hybrid system, the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV's powertrain will feature Lithium Ion battery technology, two interior permanent magnet motors and GM's 3.6L V-6 gasoline engine with direct injection.

When ready for production, the Lithium Ion energy storage system will be replenished when the battery charge is depleted to a specified level by utilizing the 2-mode hybrid system's electric motors and regenerative braking systems. When the vehicle is parked, the battery can be recharged using a common household exterior 110-volt plug-in outlet.

The 2-mode hybrid system will be altered for use with plug-in technology. It maintains two driving modes – one for city driving, the other for highway driving – and four fixed mechanical gears to maximize efficiency while maintaining performance. In addition, special controls will be utilized to enable higher speeds during electric-only propulsion and maintain electric-only propulsion for longer periods of time.

The Saturn Vue Green Line SUV, featuring the modified 2-mode hybrid system with plug-in capabilities, is part of GM's ambitious effort to offer consumers a broad choice of hybrid systems at various levels of affordability:

* This year, the GM Hybrid system, an affordable belt-alternator starter hybrid technology, debuted in the Vue Green Line front-wheel-drive SUV.

* In 2007, the GM Hybrid system will expand to the Saturn Aura Green Line and Chevrolet Malibu front-wheel-drive midsize sedans.

* In 2007, the 2-mode hybrid system will debut in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs. Rear-wheel and four-wheel drive will be offered.

* In 2008, the 2-mode hybrid system will expand to the Cadillac Escalade full-size SUV and the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra crew cab full-size pickups. The Escalade will offer all-wheel drive, while the Silverado and Sierra will offer rear-wheel and four-wheel drive.

* In 2008, the first front-wheel-drive application of the 2-mode hybrid system, will debut – without plug-in technology – in the Vue Green Line. The Vue Green Line will offer customers a choice of the GM Hybrid system or the 2-mode hybrid system.

* In 2009, an electric all-wheel-drive, 2-mode hybrid system will be introduced in the Vue Green Line.

"GM plans to introduce a new hybrid system annually for the next several years, each offering different levels of affordability, fuel savings and performance," said Tom Stephens, GM group vice president, GM Powertrain. "This strategy will allow more consumers to benefit from our hybrid technologies, while providing the opportunity to reduce our country's petroleum consumption."

GM is committed to a comprehensive and cost-effective, three-tiered advanced propulsion technology strategy focused on producing commercially viable and sustainable products. These include alternative fuel vehicles, ongoing improvements to conventional internal combustion engines and transmissions, the electrification of the automobile through a broad portfolio of hybrid models on high-volume car and truck platforms, and commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 318,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit , GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall.

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