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Old 01-08-2008, 08:19 AM   #1
Mr. Wyndham
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Cadillac Provoq

GM to roll out vision of cleaner, safer ride

Electrically driven vehicles that could even drive themselves
January 8, 2008
BY KATIE MERX
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

LAS VEGAS -- General Motors Corp. hopes the vehicle and message it plans to unveil today in Las Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.

The automaker is set to make history today when Rick Wagoner, GM's chairman and chief executive officer, becomes the first automotive CEO to present a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show -- and when he is the first to reveal a vehicle at the show.

As GM begins its second century, the automaker is seeking to lay out its vision of a future where drivers are not so dependent on volatile oil prices, the air is not polluted by cars and trucks, and vehicles that drive themselves make passengers everywhere safer.

As a hint of that future, Wagoner is scheduled to introduce the new Cadillac Provoq fuel-cell concept crossover vehicle.

GM sees its planned firsts today as the next step as it pushes its message of energy diversity and works toward making electrically driven vehicles broadly available around the globe.

For the past year, since it unveiled its Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last year, the automaker has been peddling its vision of energy diversity: the idea of expanding what powers the world's cars beyond petroleum and diesel, to include lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and cellulosic ethanol.

Wagoner is expected to expand upon that vision today by showing another version of the Volt's propulsion system in the Cadillac concept and talking about how the kind of connectivity made possible by consumer electronics can advance safety and fuel economy.

"It's pretty clear the auto industry is entering into a period of radical acceleration in the shift of the car's DNA from being mechanically centered to being an electronically centered machine," Larry Burns, vice president of research, development and strategic planning, told the Free Press in an interview last month.

Automakers can't think about the automobile now without thinking about integrating electronics, such as navigation systems, phones and entertainment, Burns said.

So Wagoner is expected to explain that automotive connectivity -- in the near future -- will mean much more than just integrating your personal music playlists into your car stereo.

Some at GM say the connectivity made possible by consumer electronics and GM's vision of electric-drive vehicles -- such as its new Cadillac fuel-cell concept and the range-extended electric Volt -- are the keys to creating vehicles that can drive themselves, don't crash and ultimately are more fuel efficient."I believe autonomous driving is the most important fuel-economy technology we're working on," Burns said. "If vehicles don't crash, think how much mass you can take out of them. Think how much cost you're carrying around on the car in terms of material, and structure, and passive protection because of the low frequency that that car is going to crash at speeds severe enough so that airbags would deploy."

GM can see the day in the not-so-distant future, Burns said, when self-driving -- or autonomous -- vehicles are a reality, allowing consumers to read, sleep or eat while they ride.

The automaker has already worked with other companies and the Carnegie Mellon Tartan Racing team to develop an SUV that can drive itself in urban environments, recognize traffic signals and avoid crashes. The automaker is providing demonstrations of the vehicle outside the show this week.

When you tie that together with vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, which is already a possibility, Burns said, "we can keep you moving all the time," without congestion.

"You take the combination of radically reduced mass enabled by cars that don't crash with much smoother flowing traffic and you can begin to conclude that this is a big energy efficiency story, it's a big environmental story, and it's a big customer experience story," Burns said.

Beyond safety and freeing time for drivers, GM is working toward a time when people won't have to allot time to park their cars, because the cars can find a spot and park themselves after dropping passengers at the door, Burns said.

The necessary technologies are either already available or will be by 2015 with minimal changes to America's roadways, Burns said.

Using its Onstar telematics system, GM can already perform remote diagnostics on vehicles and, in some cases, can fix them without touching them.

Other key technologies already at least partly available are lane-departure warning systems, blind-spot indicators and adaptive cruise control, Burns said. Using Onstar and traction control, Burns said, GM also is working toward making its cars and trucks that are losing control capable of warning nearby vehicles of the situation.

While GM is aware that privacy and policy questions will arise with such technologies, Burns said GM believes that the potential life-saving, energy-saving and environmental benefits of such advances will ultimately move society to make autonomous, fuel-diverse and fuel-efficient vehicles broadly available.

The introduction of the Cadillac Provoq takes GM's vision one step further, said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. It would run using a hydrogen fuel-cell version of the Volt's E-flex electric propulsion system and could drive 300 miles on a single fill of hydrogen.

GM decided to unveil it at the Electronics Show, Taylor said Monday in a flight to Las Vegas, in an effort to change negative perceptions.

"There's an unfortunate misconception in this crowd that we're not as concerned about the environment and fuel economy as we are," Taylor said. "We want to make sure these guys aren't misinformed about the amount of concern this company has for the environment, fuel efficiency and technology."

LOTS more pictures than the ones below...(check out the headlights )
http://gm.wieck.com/forms/gm/*query?...voq&source=all
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:35 AM   #2
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As I said over on GMInsideNews I think it's a great looking smaller SUV.

Based on the Saturn Vue, but completely distinct. Looks nice inside and out.

Time to replace that ugly suv/crossover they've had with this new, more attractive, one.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:31 AM   #3
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Looks kinda like the vibe/matrix but I take it that this is a bit bigger?
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:47 PM   #4
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Nice SUV. Now, first thing I notice is that INTERIOR!!! Holy crap is that lookin' good. I recall that the guys over at Caddy were helping design the Camaro concept. Now...if they are still helping design the Camaro concept, imagine what the final decision and look could be on the interior!

Per the article, it is very strange to KNOW that this will eventually happen. Just when will it happen? I figure, I'll live to about 2060 or so....scary to look at it like this....but, I'm sure there's going to be some HUGE changes and improvements by then. As long as I can press my "GO" peddle when I really want to mash it, I'll be fine!
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