[CES] GM Unveils Fuel Cell Concept Vehicle 'Cadillac Provoq'

Jan 10, 2008
Kouji Kariatsumari, Nikkei Electronics
Rick Wagoner on stage
Rick Wagoner on stage
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"Cadillac Provoq"
"Cadillac Provoq"
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The "E-FLEX" system loaded with fuel cells
The "E-FLEX" system loaded with fuel cells
[Click to enlarge image]

Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner of General Motors Corp (GM) of the US delivered a keynote speech on January 8 2008 at the International CES.

He expressed his observation that electronics technologies are inevitable for the development of vehicles, introducing the company's efforts to develop Telematix, vehicles capable of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, self-driving vehicles and electric-powered vehicles.

The company brought a lot of excitement to the audience by introducing the concept car, "Cadillac Provog" as a surprise at the keynote speech. Provog employs "E-FLEX," a platform of electric-powered vehicles GM has been developing. E-FLEX is driven by a motor.

The company plans to commercialize so-called "series hybrid vehicles," which are driven by a secondary battery charged by electric power from a generator that is operated by a small engine. It will then replace the engine with fuel cells.

The plug-in hybrid concept vehicle, "ChevroletVolt," announced in January 2007 employs the system of generating the power by an engine. Provoq employs fuel cells instead of the engine. Provog is composed of GM's fifth-generation fuel cell system and a Li-ion secondary battery that can be plug-in charged.

Compared with existing systems, the size has been reduced by about half while the performances including output have been improved in the fifth-generation fuel cell system, according to the company. The maximum speed is approximately 160km/h, while it takes 8.5 seconds to reach speed of 160km/h from standstill, which is faster than the company's existing fuel cell vehicles by 30%.

The cruising distance per tank of hydrogen fuel is 483km, of which the distance of 450km is driven by hydrogen fuel and the rest of the 33km is driven by the power of the Li-ion secondary battery. The Li-ion battery is capable of storing the power of 9kWh max.

In regard to electronics technologies, solar cells installed on the roof supplies the power to interior lights, the audio system, etc. In addition, "Active Front Grill" equipped with moving panels adjust themselves to reduce air resistance during high-speed driving and cools the fuel cell stack during low-speed driving.

Furthermore, the vehicle weight was reduced by cutting the number of parts, through the adoption of "brake-by-wire" and "shift-by-wire" technologies, according to GM.

The fact that the company has developed an E-FLEX-based concept car of Cadillac, a luxury car, in addition to that of Chevrolet, means "GM is determined to promote leading-edge electric vehicle systems," Wagoner said.

2008 International CES Special Site