New GM Studio To Design Next Generation Of Electric Vehicles
E-Flex vehicles take shape in sustainable studio
Warren, MI – General Motors (GM) announces the opening of a new studio dedicated to the company’s next generation of electrically-driven vehicles. The newly renovated studio is located within GM’s Advanced Design Center, which was responsible for the Chevrolet Volt concept revealed at the 2007 North American International Auto Show last January.
GM’s new E-Flex Systems Design Studio will develop a variety of vehicles using the E-flex propulsion system, starting with the production version of the Chevrolet Volt. It is the only studio on the planet specifically designated to designing a wide variety of electric plug-in vehicles with a range extender.
“As soon as the project kicked off, I knew we needed a dedicated team focused on the development of E-Flex based vehicles and that team needed its own creative space,” said Ed Welburn, Vice President, Global Design. “To accelerate the program, we needed the right mix of designers and engineers from the original show car team and people with experience from the production side.”
Bob Boniface, design director for the E-flex Systems Design Studio and the Chevrolet Volt, will lead the team of approximately 45 creative designers, sculptors, design engineers, scientists and administrative staff. He was the lead for the exterior design of the Chevrolet Volt concept. According to Boniface, this historical program offers a new set of challenges and opportunities.
“We handpicked a team of both young and experienced designers who are enthusiastic, eager and believe in the cause as I do,” said Boniface. “They want to find a better way, a solution to our dependency on petroleum, and that’s what this car is about.
The Chevrolet Volt, GM’s electric plug-in vehicle, will be the first vehicle designed in the new studio. The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric vehicle that will run up to 40 miles without ever using a drop of gasoline -- which according to government data, would be enough to handle approximately two-thirds of daily commutes for American drivers. The first vehicle in GM’s “E-Flex” family, the Volt will be powered by an electric motor, which draws its energy from on-board batteries. The batteries, in turn, will be re-charged by a small internal combustion engine that will run on gas, diesel or ethanol. When not in use, the batteries will be re-charged by simply plugging the Volt into an electric outlet.
The studio renovation began last June within the existing GM Advanced Design Center. What’s now the new E-flex studio was once an auditorium built for product reviews and other special events hosting famous entertainers and even several former U.S. presidents. The new studio is an adaptive reuse of the existing facility with steps taken toward environmental sustainability with such installations as sustainable carpet, energy efficient, compact florescent lighting; repurposed surfaces, energy efficient window shades to control heating and cooling, rugs made of 100% wool, natural materials, Cradle to Cradle certified furniture that’s recyclable or can be safe composted.
“There’s a lot of history in this building,” said Boniface, “and I feel we’re making our own history by designing a whole new generation of vehicles that don’t require gasoline.”
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 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’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.
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