This is not necessarily unexpected news, but key to the success of upcoming plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt. It’s also another reason why it takes big corporations like GM with enough influence (and promises of huge increases in revenues) to create this type of drastic investment/change in infrastructure…as well as modification of consumer behavior.
General Motors and Electric Utility Industry Launch Major Collaboration to Commercialize Plug-in Vehicles
· Paves way for customers to realize the benefits of plug-in electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid
· Further progress on road to electrification of the automobile
San Jose, CALIF – General Motors announced today that it will collaborate with the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) – more than 30 of the top electric utilities in the United States and Canada — to accelerate the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles.
General Motors will work with EPRI and the utility companies on everything from codes and standards to grid capability to ensure that when the Volt goes to market, the infrastructure is ready – and customers can realize the full potential of these revolutionary vehicles as soon as they leave the showroom.
Details of the alliance, which is by far the largest and most-comprehensive between an automaker and the electric utility industry, were announced today in San Jose during the Plug-In 2008 Conference.
Among the many things the coalition will address include ensuring safe and convenient vehicle charging, raising the public awareness and understanding of plug-in electric vehicles, and working with public policy leaders to enable a transition from petroleum to electricity as a fuel source.
“Together with EPRI and the utility companies, we can transform automotive transportation as we know it, and get our nation and the world past oil dependence – and heading toward a future that is electric,” said Jon Lauckner, GM VP of Global Program Management. “This group is taking significant steps toward making electric vehicles a reality and in helping our customers enjoy the tremendous benefits these vehicles will provide.”
Using electricity to power vehicles such as the Volt and the Vue Plug-in is attractive to GM because it can simultaneously reduce the industry’s dependence on petroleum and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers will also see a tremendous benefit as the cost per equivalent mile of a vehicle powered by electricity is roughly one-fifth of the cost per mile when powered by gasoline.
The coalition of utility companies plays a critical role in developing universal technical standards that will facilitate ease of use and commercial feasibility of electric vehicles.
“EPRI is pleased to collaborate with GM and utility leaders in electric transportation to work together in advancing plug-in hybrid electric vehicle transportation,” said Arshad Mansoor, Vice President of EPRI’s Power Delivery & Utilization sector. “This collaboration is critical in the development of standards that will lead to the widespread use of electricity as a transportation fuel.”
Last month, GM, along with EPRI, received a conditional award from the U.S. Department of Energy to create a plug-in demo program using the Saturn Vue.
In June, GM’s Board of Directors committed to production of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle — due in showrooms in late 2010. And, at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, GM announced its intention to produce a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Saturn Vue. Given the huge potential vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid offers for fuel economy improvement, these programs have emerged as top priorities at GM.
“This coalition shares a vision of bringing plug in vehicles to market so we can accelerate the use of electricity as a substitute for gasoline,” said Lauckner. “We are focused on creating affordable, highly desired vehicles that will take advantage of the grid – and providing accessible, reliable, convenient low cost electricity to plug-in customers. Collectively, we can realize all of the benefits of the plug-in revolution.”