Wagoner said this center "will support China as it undertakes one of the most rapid technological transformations in world history. It is designed to bring together various resources, including SAIC's new Energy Unit, to accelerate research in the areas of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly automotive technologies, as well as alternative fuel pathways that are socially responsible, economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and technologically feasible."
A second part of the announcement dealt with the new China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC), which is a place for Beijing's Tsinghua University researchers and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC) engineers to work together. SAIC is GM's strategic partner in China.
The partnership between GM and the Chinese government is, according to GM, based on the principle of "in China, with China, for China." Biofuels, lightweight materials and better electric vehicles are all part of GM's plan for the research center. Read more after the break.
GM Launches Strategy to Support China with Energy, Environmental Challenges
Announces US$250 Million Research Hub, Energy Center
Shanghai, China – General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced today a far-reaching collaborative strategy to support the Chinese government's pursuit of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transportation that will be based on the principle of "in China, with China, for China."
Wagoner was joined for today's announcement by Xu Dingming, Vice Chairman of the Office of China Energy Leading Group; Chen Hong, President of SAIC Motor; and He Jiankun, Vice President of Tsinghua University.
GM also announced the first two major initiatives of its long-term strategy.
The first initiative is the establishment of the GM Center for Advanced Science and Research. The facility will be part of a new US$250 million GM campus in Shanghai. The center will carry out advanced research projects in partnership with the Chinese government, industry partners and academic institutions.
The second initiative is the establishment of the China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC), a collaborative effort with Beijing's Tsinghua University and GM's strategic partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC). CAERC will work with various stakeholders in government, academia and related industries to develop a comprehensive and integrated automotive energy strategy for China. GM and SAIC will jointly provide a five-year, US$5 million grant to Tsinghua University to establish CAERC.
GM Center for Advanced Science and Research
"The new GM Center for Advanced Science and Research will support China as it undertakes one of the most rapid technological transformations in world history," Wagoner said. "It is designed to bring together various resources, including SAIC's new Energy Unit, to accelerate research in the areas of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly automotive technologies, as well as alternative fuel pathways that are socially responsible, economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and technologically feasible."
The state-of-the-art facility will be situated at GM's new corporate campus in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, which will be home to GM's operations in China, including its Asia Pacific headquarters. The first phase of construction is slated for completion in late 2008.
According to Wagoner, joint research and development will be focused on three main areas: alternative fuels, advanced alternative energy propulsion systems, and manufacturing and supplier energy efficiency.
Alternative Fuels – GM will commit significant resources to exploring various bio-fuel options, including the development of non-food cellulosic ethanol technologies .
Advanced Alternative Energy Propulsion Systems – Studies will include the development of lightweight materials designed to reduce the mass and improve the energy efficiency of motor vehicles. The center will also work on the electrification of the motor vehicle. GM is significantly expanding and accelerating its commitment to the development of electrically driven vehicles, beyond what it has already committed to with its fuel cell and hybrid programs.
"We see China as being among the first markets and production sites for alternative propulsion systems, including the new flexible fuel, plug-in type of electric vehicles currently under development by GM. This flexible vehicle, which can accommodate a variety of propulsion systems and fuels, is the perfect platform for illustrating the range and diversity of projects this new center will undertake," Wagoner said.
Manufacturing and Supplier Energy Efficiency – GM is committed to environmental leadership in China in both its products and facilities. "We will proactively work with our partners, joint ventures and suppliers to reduce energy consumption and increase the recyclability of materials, reduce emissions and eliminate plant waste throughout the manufacturing chain," Wagoner said.
China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC)
GM and SAIC will jointly provide a US$5 million grant over the next five years to Tsinghua University to establish the China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC). Based in Beijing, CAERC will work with various organizations in government, academia, and related industries in China to develop a comprehensive and integrated energy strategy. Tsinghua University, SAIC and GM will share resources and personnel, and collaborate on numerous projects to develop a strategy for reducing China's reliance on petroleum-based fuel. The common objective of the partners is to make the center China's most advanced organization for automotive energy research and strategy development.
According to He Jiankun, Vice President of Tsinghua University , "Our university has long been known as one of the world's great educational institutions. GM and SAIC are among the world's great companies. Bringing our organizations together to work on a comprehensive and integrated automotive energy strategy for China will be invaluable to the country's sustainable mobility. This, in turn, will create tremendous value for China's people by greatly improving the quality of life they and their children will enjoy. We're very excited about the potential for our cooperation."
According to SAIC Motor President Chen Hong, "The establishment of an energy research center illustrates the importance of partnership to the future of our country – partnership among companies, partnership among universities and partnership among countries. As the automotive industry grows, we have a responsibility as industry leaders to ensure we understand the opportunities and the challenges ahead of us. This center will help."
Partnership, Collaboration and Connectivity
Underpinning GM's long-term strategy are partnership, collaboration and global connectivity. GM will work to help strengthen links between the Chinese and U.S. governments through technology and environmental science exchange. GM will expand its relationships with Chinese universities and businesses and reinforce collaboration with SAIC, including Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC).
"Our ability to work with SAIC and our joint ventures will be greatly enhanced," Wagoner said. "With today's research center announcement and the recent announcement of the US$200 million Shanghai GM/PATAC proving ground in Anhui province, we intend to make PATAC an even stronger product development resource."
The new GM Center for Advanced Science and Research will also be fully integrated into GM's existing global research-and-development network. CAERC will also leverage GM's extensive university relationships in the U.S. and around the world. "GM will act as a catalyst, a facilitator and a conduit to support the development and sharing of the latest technologies to address energy and environmental issues," Wagoner said.
Wagoner added, "There are significant challenges and opportunities in China and around the world related to energy and the environment. By applying our joint resources and by working together, the GM Center for Advanced Science and Research and CAERC will help address these challenges. They will combine the best that GM and our partners such as SAIC, China's universities and government agencies have to offer."
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 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. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.