General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner (L) test drives the Chevrolet
Sequel, GM's most technologically advanced hydrogen powered fuel cell
vehicle, during the car's first drive outside of the US in Shanghai. GM
announced a plan to build environmentally-friendly hybrid cars in China by
SHANGHAI - US auto giant
General Motors announced a plan to build environmentally-friendly hybrid cars in
China by 2008, while it paraded its latest hydrogen-powered vehicle before
The hybrid would go into mass production at the Shanghai GM plant, a joint
venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, the company said in a press
"The GM Hybrid System is flexible and cost effective and is ideal for high
volume global applications, which include its introduction in China in 2008,"
said Martin Murray, head of GM's Asia Pacific hybrid engineering.
The announcement was made as GM was parading a series of energy-saving cars,
including the Saturn Vue hybrid and the Chevrolet Sequel hydrogen-powered fuel
The release did not say which hybrid car would be built in China, but GM's
hybrid system was currently under development with DaimlerChrysler and the BMW
GM head Rick Wagoner also on Monday joined Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng in the
first-ever drive in Asia of the Sequel, GM's hydrogen-powered vehicle that was
rolled out for test drives in the United States last month.
"We believe fuel cell vehicles offer the best long-term solution for meeting
the world's growing demand for automobiles in an economically and
environmentally sustainable manner," Wagoner said.
"From a China and Asia Pacific perspective, development of world-class fuel
cells and the associated infrastructure are key initiatives that need the
support of industry, government and the academic community."
Hydrogen-powered cars are seen as vehicles of the future as they do not use
gasoline and their only by-product is water vapor.
However the production and storage of hydrogen and the building of a hydrogen
infrastructure of refueling stations could take decades and billions of dollars
In the meantime, the hybrid vehicle, a car that uses both a combustion engine
and electric motors for propulsion, is seen as an interim solution to the full
development of a clean car.
Toyota Motor, the world's second biggest automaker after GM and a pioneer of
environmentally friendly cars, began production in China of its popular Prius
hybrid at the end of last year.