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Flextreme design videos

If automotive design interests you, take a look at these videos documenting the development of the Opel Flextreme. We covered the Opel Flextreme concept car at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. It's essentially the Chevy Volt for Europe, using the same series hybrid powertrain. The Flextreme is a bit bigger and, most notably, it has a couple of Segways stored in its rear. If you want to find out why, watch the videos.

Flextreme design Part 1 This video is mostly an interview with Mark Adams, vice president of design for GM Europe. He talks in general terms about … Read more

2007 Frankfurt auto show: Day one roundup

We've been trawling the floor on the first day of the Frankfurt auto show, and there have been plenty of new model launches and concept-car unveilings to keep us busy. Mercedes-Benz delivered on its promise to take the wraps off a fleet of new cars, including hybrid versions of its C300 wagon and its ML450 SUV, as well as its F700 research vehicle. Volkswagen and BMW also took advantage of being on their home turf, with the latter unveiling its partnership with Google for a local-search-enabled in-dash navigation system, and VW showing off its Up concept, an ultra-compact rear-engined … Read more

GM goes electric in Frankfurt

We're not convinced about the wisdom of this one. GM is using this week's Frankfurt auto show to reiterate its commitment to alternative fuel cars with the unveiling of the Opel Flextreme, a concept plug-in car that builds on the buzz of the E-Flex drive train from the Chevy Volt. The car itself relies on a series hybrid drive train, which combines a lithium-ion powered-electric motor with a biodiesel combustion engine that is used solely for running the electric motor when the battery's charge runs out.

However, as blue-sky as the vehicle's power train may be (… Read more

GM to unveil compact hybrid concept in Frankfurt

We're just a couple of weeks away from the first major auto show of the new season, and the buzz around concept cars and new model launches is already in full swing. According to Just Auto, GM is planning to use the Frankfurt show to unveil a concept hybrid version of its compact Opel Corsa. The Corsa Hybrid concept will make use of the same belt-alternator starter system that we've seen recently in the Saturn Vue Green Line and the Saturn Aura Green Line. Unlike the production Saturn models--but similar to the much-hyped Chevy Volt--the Corsa Hybrid … Read more

GM chairman to keynote CES

General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will be a keynote speaker at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show, the Consumer Electronic Association announced Monday.

This will be GM's first keynote at the trade show, which is known for attracting celebrities eager to see the latest in high-tech gadgets, as well as the world press.

Wagoner joins technology leaders Bill Gates of Microsoft, Paul Otellini of Intel, and Panasonic's Toshihiro Sakamoto, who have also confirmed as speakers for the international trade show that takes place annually in Las Vegas.

While Wagoner might seem like a stretch for a … Read more

Photos: GM's 2-Mode 2008 Yukon Hybrid

Full hybrids have to date been almost synonymous with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system, which, in addition to being the technology behind all Toyota and Lexus hybrids, is licensed by Nissan for its Altima Hybrid and is used in a modified version by Ford in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids. This hybrid monopoly is about to change, however, as GM readies its 2-Mode hybrid system for introduction later this year in the Yukon Hybrid and Tahoe Hybrid SUVs. Like HSD, GM's 2-Mode system enables cars to run just on electricity, just on gasoline, or a … Read more

Chevy Volt batteries may be leased

General Motors may lease the battery packs for its Chevy Volt electric car to make it more affordable, according to a news report.

GM's electric car will take lithium-ion batteries which are known to be expensive and have a limited lifespan compared with the life of a car.

Bob Lutz, GM's global product chief, has said that the company hopes to make the car available in the $30,000 price range.

While GM has several leading battery technology developers and manufacturers onboard in its effort to build an affordable, long-range rechargeable battery for the car, critics have pointed … Read more

Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon go hybrid

General Motors is banking on the increasing demand for fuel-efficient cars by launching hybrid versions of two of its full-size SUVs: the GMC Yukon and the Chevy Tahoe. And although the cars aren't slated to go on sale until this fall, GM is already busy building buzz.

The new models, available in both two- and four-wheel drive, use a "two-mode" powertrain designed jointly by GM with BMW and Daimler-Chrysler. This Hybrid Operating System (HOS) allows the car to operate either on electricity or gasoline, depending on the power needs of the car.

Allocation of electric power versus … Read more

Chevy Volt to test this spring

General Motors announced Thursday that it will begin testing for its electric rechargeable car, the Chevy Volt, in spring 2008.

The lithium-ion battery packs planned for the Chevy Volt should be ready as soon as October 2006, Bob Lutz, GM's global product chief, told Reuters.

The company still maintains that the Chevy Volt it introduced at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show will be ready for sale by late 2010.

The company also announced Monday it has signed another contract with battery manufacturer A123Systems to help it develop the lithium-ion battery cells for its E-Flex electric drive train.

GM already … Read more

Photos: GM, Transformers' product placement marketing match

Imagine you're a huge automobile manufacturing company. (Imagine harder! You're a complex of buildings, factories, offices and... Oh, never mind. Bad metaphor.)

OK, specifically: Imagine you're a marketing exec at GM. Now imagine the ginormous year-end bonus you're going to get as a result of your collaboration with Paramount Pictures and toy-maker Hasbro on this summer's Transformers movie. Are you imagining swimming in cash? Good job.

All of the Autobots--the "good guy" Transformers battling to keep humans safe from the "bad guy" Decepticons--are robots that turn into vehicles manufactured by General … Read more