DETROIT—(BUSINESS WIRE)—January 6, 2007— It's been nearly 100 years, but Thomas Edison's belief in electricity as a viable propulsion system for automobiles is one step closer to reality due to the efforts of General Motors and General Electric. Today, GE participated in General Motors' unveiling of its newest concept vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, here at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The Volt's E-Flex flexible propulsion system offers a global blended range of transportation energy solutions to regional energy issues and driving behavior.
GE Plastics played the role of a strategic partner in enabling the
design and development of the Chevrolet Volt, by contributing the key
materials technology to reduce part weight up to 50 percent and design
engineering support to help position the vehicle as a way to help the
world diversify its energy sources and to reduce the dependence on
In the United States alone, almost half the households have a
daily mileage of less than 30 miles per day. The Chevrolet Volt
concept vehicle is capable of 40 miles of pure electrical vehicle
driving, which according to the Environmental Protection Agency, means
that, for most city drivers, the Chevrolet Volt will use little or no
gasoline. In the spirit of ecomagination(1), GE Plastics'
differentiated technologies helped reduce the weight on the Volt and
optimize its fuel efficiency so that drivers can now skip the pump to
extend their mileage and increase savings.
"GM's commitment to improving fuel economy, reducing vehicle
emissions, and developing electrically-driven vehicles is facilitated
with GE Plastics' weight-reduction technologies on the Chevrolet Volt
concept car. We were able to take mass out of the Volt in order to
optimize its overall efficiency," said General Motors' vice president
of Global Program Management, Jon Lauckner. "Through the independent
auditor, GreenOrder, we were also able to see clear positive
environmental results from working with GE Plastics," said Lauckner.
"GE's history and leadership in technology innovation led to this
great opportunity to collaborate with GM on the Volt," said Gregory A.
Adams, vice president for the Automotive business at GE Plastics. "We
were able to help GM to develope this environmentally-responsible
vehicle with outstanding performance, strength, and style. Together
with GM, we assembled a joint project team to drive forward the
development of this monumental new electric vehicle."
GE's fuel saving technologies showcased on the Chevy Volt include:
-- Roof made with Lexan(1) GLX resins and Exatec(2) coating
-- Rear deck lid and fixed side glazing made with Lexan GLX
resins and Exatec coating technology
-- Doors and hood made with Xenoy iQ(1) high performance
thermoplastic composites (HPPC)
-- Global energy absorber and hybrid rear energy absorbers with
Xenoy iQ resins
-- Steering wheel and instrument panel with integrated airbag
chute made with Lexan EXL resins
-- Front fenders made with Noryl GTX(1) resins
-- Wire coating made with Flexible Noryl(1) resins
"GE is driving the next generation of materials: greener, lighter,
with aesthetically better properties that enable customers, such as GM
to create vehicles with a reduced environmental impact," said Adams.
"This effort builds upon each company's long-standing commitment to
help improve the environment and we are pleased to be working on such
a visionary project."
GE's High-Tech Plastics Pave the Way to a Greener Chevrolet Volt
GE Plastics understands the tremendous pressures its automotive
customers face with respect to developing fuel-efficient vehicles.
GE's resins and newest composite technologies are some of the key
lightweight materials that helped GM to reduce mass on the Volt. These
materials also allow for less fuel consumption, fewer carbon dioxide
emissions, and improved overall performance.
Composites are typically used in the aerospace industry and on
racecars due to their super lightweight structure and performance. GE
Plastics, in partnership with Azdel(1), Inc., premieres its own
version of composites made with Xenoy iQ resins on the Volt doors and
hood. The composite addresses three critical environmental concerns:
conserving energy, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and up-cycling
or regenerating post-consumer waste such as polyethylene-terephthalate
(PET) plastic bottles.
Amanda Roble, executive director for GE Plastics' Automotive
business stated: "On the Volt, the fender, window glazings, instrument
panel, and steering wheel can each offer from 30 to 50 percent weight
reduction per part. Wire running throughout the Volt is made from
non-halogenated GE plastics and reaches an approximate 25 percent
weight reduction compared to traditional wire in automobiles."
GreenOrder, an environmental strategy firm based in New York, N.Y.
that also audited the Volt claims, validated that if 3.2 million
passenger vehicles of 3,500 pounds were manufactured making the same
use of GE Plastics' weight reducing components, greenhouse gas
emissions would be reduced by more than 194,000 tons each year - that
is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by over 48,000
acres of forest. It would also save more than 20 million gallons of
oil each year - an amount equal to 30 Olympic-size swimming pools or
more than 470,000 barrels of oil.
Enabling Signature Surfaces and Safety
Design Signature Surfaces
When it comes to improving fuel economy, even the most discreet
design features can add up to significant fuel savings and improved
safety. GE's plastics enabled GM Design custom styling cues to
differentiate the Volt from any other vehicle concept in the world.
"The overall solid shape, open-air roof, high beltline, and
powerful, crisp fender forms of the Volt are made possible only with
GE design-enabling materials," said Bob Boniface, director of GM's
Warren Advanced Design Studio.
The transparent plastic window glazings instill a sense of
openness, while allowing drivers 360 degrees of clear vision and
improved safety. A scalloped hood, high shoulders, sinewy, and tight
lines are made possible through select GE Plastics resins, allowing
the GM designers to create exciting shapes and forms.
"The distinctive styling of the Volt was the result of allowing
the GM design team to explore unique and elegant new possibilities
made possible by GE's alternative materials," states Robert
Butterfield, global market director for Design Innovation at GE
Plastics' Automotive business.
Leading-Edge Preventative Occupant and Pedestrian Safety Systems
GM's challenge in designing the Volt was to make safety an
aspirational aspect of the vehicle's design and, accordingly, two key
GE technologies have been employed. The first key occupant protection
instrument panel system first premiered in the United States in 2005
with GM, and its proven reliability is what makes it an integral part
of the Volt cockpit. With active occupant protection to brace the
front passenger, the automatically extending fragment free airbag
deployment is designed to keep the passenger safe prior to an
impending accident, to prepare both occupants and vehicle for a
The second technology from GE is a global energy absorber designed
to meet pedestrian safety regulations worldwide. GE Plastics' energy
absorbers allow the Volt to maintain aggressive vehicle styling
architecture, and meet both North American (FMVSS/CMVSS) and European
Union (Pedestrian Phase 2 of the Pedestrian Protection
Directive) bumper impact legislations.
About General Motors
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker,
has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in
1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With
global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in
33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold
globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC,
GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall.
GM operates one of the world's leading finance companies, GMAC
Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and
commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the
industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services.
More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
About GE Plastics
GE Plastics (www.geplastics.com) is a global supplier of plastic
resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics,
transportation, performance packaging, building & construction,
telecommunications, and optical media applications. The company
manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS,
PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP(1) line of high-performance
specialty compounds. GE Plastics, Specialty Film & Sheet manufactures
high-performance Lexan sheet and film products used in thousands of
demanding applications worldwide. In addition, GE Plastics' dedicated
Automotive organization is an experienced, world-wide competitor,
offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments:
body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component;
structures and interiors; and lighting. As a Worldwide Partner of the
Olympic Games, GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of
innovative products and services that are integral to a successful