At the 2007 North American International Auto Show Sunday, General Motors' head Rick Wagoner unveiled the Chevrolet Volt concept sedan and announced that production work has begun on a new generation of electric vehicles that could eliminate gas stations for Americans who live close to their workplaces.
Built on a platform that GM calls the E-flex System, the Volt is a battery powered electric car that has a range of 40 city miles after a six-hour charge from a household electrical outlet. GM says it would be a viable, gas-free daily driver for Americans whose one-way work commute is 20 miles or less. That's 78 percent of all American workers, according to GM Vice Chairman, Product Development Bob Lutz.
The car also has a flex-fuel gasoline engine that extends the range to up to 640 miles. The gas engine does not drive the wheels – instead, it creates electricity that powers the wheels.
Hydrogen as a motor fuel is the answer to many environmental problems since there are no harmful emissions, no depleting of resources, no danger to the atmosphere, and it can be produced from a variety of renewable resources.
Toyota will unveil a hybrid sports car, its FT-HS concept, at the North American International Auto Show, NAIAS 2007. The FT-HS concept was a joint project of Calty, Toyota's research and design center located in Newport Beach, California, and Toyota's California-based Advanced Product Strategy Group.
The design team was assigned the task of creating a mid-priced sports car that integrates ecology and emotion in a concept that addresses the question "What is a suitable sports car for the 21st Century?"
Officials from the Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA are meeting with manufacturers GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota while at the show. Also attending in 2007 are the Office of Aerospace, the Washington Foreign Press, Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs and the Michigan Renewable Fuels Commission.
In November, Michigan launched the Renewable Fuels Commission, a public-private team to help develop the state's alternative fuel industry. "The work of the Renewable Fuels Commission is a critical part of our effort to make Michigan the nation's leader in developing and producing alternative energy," said Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. "As more E-85 and flex fuel vehicles are produced, it is essential that we make biodiesel and ethanol products more widely available and encourage their use."