GM wants to build a million hydrogen cars
Yup. GM’s thinking a tad further than the Volt. They’re apparently dead serious about hydrogen powered vehicles. And soon.
Speaking from Shanghai, China, one of General Motors’ vice-presidents, Elizabeth Lowery, told Reuters that “"You have to make sure that any of these technologies are out there in great volume to make a difference for the environment.” Her remarks came after Larry Burns, GM’s vice president of research and development, had earlier predicted that the company would introduce a hydrogen powered vehicle by 2011, with production increasing quickly to a predicted one million vehicles worldwide.
Though Lowery said that GM had initially targeted 2010 as the date for making competitive fuel cells, whether GM will meet that target remains doubtful. However, it is clearly serious, according to Lowery, about the one million vehicle target. "You have to bring the technology along before you know when you are going to get to a million vehicles," she said, adding that “[w]e want to be the first automaker to produce a million fuel cell vehicles, and be profitable doing so"
Lowery also disclosed that General Motors will introduce a gasoline/electric hybrid in the Chinese market next year. That the hydrogen vehicle is targeted at this market, as well, is indicated by Lowery’s presence in Shanghai when she made her statements. If the company were to produce hydrogen vehicles on a large scale by 2012 or shortly thereafter, as Burns has previously said is the schedule, it suggests that General Motors has been giving serious thought to the problem of creating an infrastructure that would support these vehicles. While they produce water vapor as exhaust, they require hydrogen to run, and hydrogen is a rather expensive product to produce, transport, and store.
Still, the statements clearly indicate a corporate commitment to alternative fuel vehicles in the very near term. But not necessarily for the United States. The implication is that GM sees these as practical for a country like China, which has no established fuel infrastructure for gasoline vehicles, and so can have a new infrastructure built by the government to suit whatever is most expedient.
It is yet another indication that GM’s new motto is, “What’s good for China is good for GM, and vice-versa.”