Nov. 7, 2006: Auto Week—New Step, Same Direction

Summary: "General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner will reveal a new step in GM’s alternative-fuel vehicle programs at the Los Angeles auto show this month.

While not saying which direction GM will take, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says GM executives believe electric vehicles are the future. GM’s work on fuel cell vehicles may first bear fruit as a "series hybrid" vehicle, he says.

A series hybrid could run primarily on electricity from lithium ion batteries, with an engine as backup to replenish batteries, Lutz says. The backup engine could be a diesel or gasoline internal combustion engine. Backup energy also could come from a fuel cell."

GM continues to churn out ugly, old-fashioned gas guzzlers while floating great ideas at auto shows and giving lip service to new technology. It has yet to sell a full hybrid. Even this series hybrid idea is doable now, if the company would get off the fence.

Electric vehicles may be the future, but they are also the past (EV1) and the present (Tesla roadster). If this new step is really in the company’s same old direction, don’t count on driving this dream machine any time soon.

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