GM and the Electric Car

Whoever saw the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car? will have a tough time understanding why GM “killed” the car.

However, Jeff McIntire-Strasburg on Sustainblog was one of the bloggers who were invited to GM recently to check out the Volt, the new electric car from GM. I specifically want to quote from what GM CEO Rick Waggoner said about E-Flex.

What exactly do we mean by E-Flex? Well, the “E” is no surprise – it stands for “electric,” because no matter how an E-Flex vehicle is configured, it will always be driven exclusively by electricity.

This is the major difference between E-Flex and hybrids. Hybrids can be driven by an internal combustion engine, or an electric drive, or both systems simultaneously. E-Flex vehicles will always be driven by electricity.

What about the second half of the name? Well, that’s the really interesting part of all this. E-Flex is “flexible” because the electricity it uses to drive the vehicle can come from a wide range of fuel sources. It can come from a hydrogen fuel cell; it can be generated by a small motor running on ethanol or bio-diesel or synthetic fuel; or it can come from the power grid, and be stored in a battery. And, when the electricity comes from the grid, it can be generated by natural gas, coal, nuclear power, wind, hydroelectric, and so on.

In short, E-Flex vehicles will enjoy one of the really outstanding benefits of electricity: the opportunity to diversify fuel sources for the vehicle.

E-Flex is also flexible because it offers flexibility around the globe. Europeans rely more on diesel fuel than North Americans, Brazil has gravitated to E-100 ethanol, and we see tremendous opportunities with bio-fuels here in the U.S. China, meanwhile, may well be the first country to develop a broad-based fuel cell infrastructure.

By setting up a propulsion system that allows us to power vehicles with any of these fuels, E-Flex provides us with a single elegant solution.

In short, E-Flex creates options. It’ll allow GM to leverage a range of electrically driven propulsion systems, as well as benefit from the inevitability and the promise of energy diversity.

I think this is an important strategic move by GM. Powering automobiles by electric technology is far more suitable than even a hybrid. In the end, diversity of electricity sources will make this a greener option.


2 thoughts on “GM and the Electric Car

  1. Hi Suhit

    E-Flex is good in terms of ‘E’, but when it comes to ‘flex’, the article says that it can obtain the power source from grid which on other hand produces power through Coal etc. That is defnitely not sustainable green strategy as far as green goes.

    Another quick positive critic is

    Lately your blog is becoming like a ‘News Feed’ than a blog. I like to see more of your thoughts and less of news. I guess there are other sources for that. I hope this is understood in positive note.


  2. Pingback: World is Green : Business Strategy and Sustainability Reader Survey : WorldisGreen's Direction «

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