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GM Demonstrates Hybrids And Fuel Cell Vehicles In Green Transportation Event: Tour De Sol

Saturn Vue

Photo: GM

DETROIT - General Motors Corp., one of the leading sponsors of this year's Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival, will publicly showcase an array of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles that reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency during the multi-city Northeast region tour beginning May 12.

"We are pleased to be a part of this event because we share a common goal -- educating consumers about the environmental benefits of alternative fuel vehicles," said Larry Burns, vice president of Research Development and Planning.


The 2003 Tour de Sol runs from May 12-14 during the National Transportation Week Festivals, which are free and open to the public, and will be held in Trenton, N.J., (May 12), Philadelphia (May 13) and Washington (May 14). In conjunction with the festivals, more than 30 alternative fuel vehicle teams represented by OEMS and students from high schools and universities will compete for the championship trophy in a road rally competition.

The GM Hy-wire, the world's first drivable vehicle that combines by-wire technology with a fuel cell propulsion system, will be showcased in each of the three Tour cities.

All of the touring sedan's propulsion and control systems are contained within an 11-inch-thick skateboard-like chassis, maximizing the interior space for five occupants and their cargo. There is no engine to see over, no pedals to operate -- merely a single module called the driver control unit that is easily set to either a left or right driving position.

The Saturn VUE with a belt alternator starter hybrid system, a 'mild" hybrid-electric system which improves fuel economy 12 to 15 percent in stop-and go driving, will serve as the pace vehicle for the Trenton road rally (May 12). The system, which combines sophisticated engine controls with GM's VTi variable transmission and a precision electric motor/generator, shuts the engine off at "idle" and enables early engine fuel cutoff during decelerations. Regenerative braking and efficient charging are also part of the system.

The belt alternator starter hybrid system debuts in the 2006 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV and will be offered in the Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan in 2007.

GM's advanced hybrid system will be on display in Washington (May 14). The system, which will debut in a 2005 Saturn VUE compact sport utility, features a dual electric motor system that will boost composite city/highway efficiency by more than 50 percent or nearly 40 mpg. The highly sophisticated system features the most advanced components and control electronics and was designed to maximize efficiency with strong performance.

Also in Washington on May 14, GM will offer the public rides and drives in its HydroGen3 fuel cell prototype, which is based on a five-seater Opel Zafira. The HydroGen3 demonstrates how fuel cell propulsion can be optimized for the existing automotive package. The electrical energy needed to operate the 60-kilowatt, 82 horsepower asynchronous three-phase engine is produced on board the HydroGen3 by a fuel-cell stack consisting of a total of 200 interconnected individual cells. With its virtually silent propulsion system, the HydroGen3 accelerates from zero to 100 in around 16 seconds.

(May 11, 2003)

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