Posts Tagged ‘GM’
Soon your car’s AC might be really really cool, in a green way. The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved a new chemical that can drastically reduce the amount of harmful, ozone-depleting emissions from motor vehicle air conditioning systems.
The eco-friendly refrigerant uses a new chemical developed by Honeywell and DuPont—HFO-1234yf—that the agency and the companies say does not deplete the ozone layer. And when used appropriately, the chemical has a global warming potential that is 99.7 percent less than the current chemical (HFC–134a) used in most car air conditioners.
“It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy.” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in a recent EPA release.
EPA said its recently issued standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty motor vehicles “provide an opportunity for automakers to receive credit for adopting a chemical with less climate impact as a cost-effective way to meet the new standards.
“Using HFO-1234yf is one option available to automakers.”
Prior to HFC-134a, car air conditioners generally used CFC-12, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance.
The new chemical is the product of a joint manufacturing venture of Honeywell and DuPont. The venture was launched last May and several months later General Motors said it would introduce the refrigerant in 2013 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.
The biggest benefit of HFO-1234yf is that it breaks down faster in the atmosphere than the currently used R-134a. On average, the R-134a refrigerant has an atmospheric life of more than 13 years, giving it a global warming potential (GWP) of more than 1,400. By comparison, the new refrigerant lingers in the atmosphere for only 11 days and has a GWP of 4, a 99.7 percent improvement. By the way GWP is a value used to compare different greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The base measurement for GWP is relative to that of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Just in time for Earth Day, something cool to celebrate. Maybe there can be better living through chemicals, or at least better cooling.
Ford says it will invest another $450 million in electric vehicle development and facility retooling, bringing its total investment in this area to a round $1 billion.
The latest monetary infusion, a part of its “Electrification Strategy,” paves the way for the Dearborn, MI, carmaker plan to engineer, produce and launch new electrified vehicles, battery systems and hybrid transaxles, while creating up to 1,000 new jobs in the state.
GM is also planning to spend big dollars, about $246 million, for electric motor and hybrid component production at a Baltimore facility.
Ford will build what it calls its next-generation hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles at the Michigan Assembly Plant beginning in 2012, in addition to producing the new Ford Focus and Focus Electric at the same plant in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Note from wrd: I’ve been out-of-pocket this week on a big editing assignment, but I’m back in the saddle here, starting with a slightly revised version of one I did last week for Triple Pundit:
GM still doesn’t stand for Green Motors but the legendary company should get some props for trying at least. The trick now is for the General and the other U.S. carmakers to get real about getting greener and to do it fast. It might save the auto industry while helping to save the planet.
Sarcasm and skepticism is easy when considering GM and its recent history of management failure, choices in car offerings, design, performance and quality and its late seating at the green table.
At the same time it is also possible that despite that company’s sorry recent past and desperate present it has learned a lesson for the future. It must do this or reap the whirlwind.
GM exited bankruptcy protection last week by selling its best assets to a new, leaner company creation in which the U.S. government will hold a majority stake. GM had filed for bankruptcy on June 1, vowing to emerge as a leaner, more profitable company once freed from its massive debts.
Meanwhile GM has done some serious rebranding and public relations around the green theme. It’s a strategy that goes beyond the launch next year of the much-anticipated and ballyhooed Chevrolet Volt, a “range-extended” electric vehicle that could go a long way – if it really can go a long way between charges – to saving GM’s neck. Many believe the vehicle could be a game a game-changer for the company, here and in Europe, where it will sell as the Opel Ampera.
GM maintains it is making “dramatic improvement” and investments to reduce the environmental impact of its worldwide manufacturing operations. It’s reducing energy and water use and seeking renewable energy opportunities and sustainable manufacturing methods while reducing waste at global facilities.