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GM takes Volt to Capitol Hill

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General Motors exec takes Chevy Volt to Capitol Hill today
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David Shepardson | Link to Original Article @ Detroit News | Washington Bureau

Plug-in hybrids will be on center stage in Washington today as the Chevy Volt makes an appearance on Capitol Hill as part of General Motors Corp.'s effort to convince Congress to pass a more palatable fuel efficiency increase.

GM's No. 3 official, Troy Clarke -- head of North American operations -- is returning to the Hill today to meet with a about a dozen mostly undecided lawmakers. He also will show off a GM concept car, the Chevy Volt, in trying to explain why the company believes the long-term answer to energy independence is through biofuels and the electrification of the automobile, rather than spending tens of billions of dollars to meet 4 percent annual corporate average fuel efficiency.

The Volt -- which GM hopes to start production of in 2010 if battery technology evolves sufficiently -- would allow drivers to go up to 40 miles on an electric motor, while the vehicle also has a traditional internal combustion engine.

Clarke's visit comes two days about 100 auto dealers from the Detroit Three and Toyota blitzed Capitol Hill to support a fuel economy measure that is less onerous to automakers.

The new push comes as it is still not clear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring up fuel economy legislation before the end of the month, although it seems more likely she will wait until after the August recess, U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, and others say.

The Senate last month approved an energy bill that would require automakers to increase fuel efficiency by 40 percent to a combined 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2020.

GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner has said the government's $40 billion estimate of GM's costs to increase efficiency by 40 percent over a decade is "probably low."

The Volt will also be on display at the National Press Club for an event sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute on the future of plug-in hybrids.

Ford Motor Co. has said it hopes to start building plug-ins in the next five to 10 years, while Toyota and Honda are both doing research on plug-ins.

Also Thursday, the U.S. General Services Administration, will take possession of one of 55 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrids the government has purchased. "GSA has leased these vehicles to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, along with the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Space and Aeronautics Administration. GSA will also retain several hybrids for its own use," the agency said in a statement.

Jill Lajdziak, general manager of GM's Saturn Division, will hand over the keys to GSA's administrator, Lurita Doan, this morning. The Saturn Vue Green Line is a mild hybrid that's less costly than a full gasoline-electric vehicle like the Toyota Prius but gets a smaller fuel economy boost.

Wagoner said Saturn hopes to introduce a plug-in hybrid of its Vue by 2010 and said last year that the vehicle is "in production."

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Hmm; do you suppose I'd catch any of this on C-SPAN?

probably not... but maybe check in a few years, reruns on the history channel... "Why the American ecconomy failed"

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Or better yet "How Detroit lost america" when in reality america, because it's full of pompous style concious arrogant assholes, kicked detroit to the curve.

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