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GM plans hybrid vehicles
August 2, 2000: 4:20 p.m. ET

Automaker plans to combine electric and fuel engines in trucks, buses
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - General Motors Corp. will begin producing hybrid-powered trucks and buses beginning in 2004, the No. 1 U.S. automaker announced Wednesday.

The announcement -- which comes a week after No. 2 U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. said it would improve the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles by 25 percent -- fulfills GM's vow to match rival Ford's fuel efficiency plan.

"It's simple -- we lead in truck fuel economy today and General Motors intends to remain the leader in five years," Harry Pearce, GM's vice chairman, said.

The hybrid-powered engine, called a hybrid powertrain, is a combination electric motor and liquid fuel engine. The use of electricity allows a vehicle to burn less fuel and release fewer pollutants.

graphicConverting just one of the 13,000 transit buses in the nine largest U.S. states to hybrid power would save about 40 million gallons of diesel fuel each year, the company said.

Later this year, GM plans to begin testing hybrid pickups, such as its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

"Hybrid propulsion is just one of the technologies that we can introduce to meet the performance expectations of our customers, yet protect this planet that we all count on to sustain us," Pearce said.

In other developments Wednesday, Mark Hogan, president of e-GM, the online arm of General Motors, briefed reporters and analysts on the businesses' progress at the end of its first year.

Hogan said a deal is in the works for General Motors to provide Toyota and Honda with its OnStar technology. OnStar is a system GM developed that provides drivers with such on-board services as Internet access and driving directions.

"We have a relationship with Toyota and Honda with OnStar. We should have something to talk about in the not-too-distant future," Hogan said.

During the year, Hogan said e-GM enhanced its online buying service, GMByPower, which brought its total number of participating dealers to 6,500, offering half a million vehicles online. Traffic to topped more than one million monthly visitors.

e-GM also announced alliances with the largest U.S. Internet service provider, America Online, to reach more potential customers. AOL (AOL: Research, Estimates) signed a deal in January to acquire Time Warner Inc. (TWX: Research, Estimates), the parent company of CNNfn.

Shares of GM (GM: Research, Estimates) slipped 3/8 to 26-7/16 in trading Wednesday. Back to top


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