General Motors on June 4 said it has established General Motors Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary designed to help the company identify and develop innovative technologies in the automotive/ transportation sector.
Leading the initiative will be Jon J. Lauckner, who is named GM Vice President and President General Motors Ventures, LLC, reporting to Stephen J. Girsky, GM vice chairman Corporate Strategy and New Business Development. Lauckner’s new position is effective July 1, 2010. He was GM vice president of Global Product Planning.
“We are constantly looking for ways to deliver the best technology for our customers,” said Stephen J. Girsky, GM vice chairman Corporate Strategy and New Business Development. “Our goal is to nurture these innovative technologies to help bring them to market, and to ensure our customers have access to the best technology available.”
General Motors Ventures, LLC, has been funded with an initial investment of $100 million, and is currently exploring equity investments in a number of auto-related technologies and business models.
As part of the greening of its fleet, Verizon has purchased 576 Chevrolet Silverado Two-Mode Hybrid full-size pickups that deliver the city fuel economy of a four-cylinder sedan.
The unique two-mode Silverado blends an internal combustion engine with battery-powered electric motors to offer customers the advanced technology needed to reduce fuel consumption by up to 40 percent over a conventional full-size pickup -- an EPA estimated 21 MPG city and 22 MPG highway, best of any full-size pickup.
“When Verizon first approached us about environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles for their urban drivers, we knew the Silverado Hybrid was the perfect fit because of its outstanding city and highway MPG ratings,” said Brian Small, GM Fleet and Commercial Operation general manager. “Immediately the team went to work to meet Verizon’s ambitious July delivery deadline.”
GM's two-mode system enables the Silverado to launch and drive up to 30 mph on electricity alone, and allows the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine to operate in its more economical V-4 mode for longer periods. This technology is the only hybrid system capable of being used in full-size trucks, which further emphasizes Chevrolet's full-size truck leadership.
“A major part of our sustainability strategy is to make smart use of lower-carbon alternatives to power our fleet and the operation of our high-IQ broadband networks,” said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. “By adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to our fleet this year we’re conserving fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality in communities across the country.”
Committed to finding practical and innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of its global operations, Verizon launched a comprehensive sustainability program earlier this year. The program expanded the number of alternative energy vehicles in their fleet – one part of a multi-pronged approach. Additionally, in their commitment to doing business with diverse suppliers, the company placed the order for the 576 hybrid pickups, with Fairway Motors, a woman-owned Chevrolet dealership in Hazelton, Penn.
The pickups, to be deployed in urban areas in various Verizon’s markets, is powered by the standard Vortec 6.0L V8 engine delivering 332 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft of torque, it has a payload of 6,100 lbs. (2WD) or 5,900 lbs. (4x4). The vehicle also comes with an eight-year/100,000 mile limited warranty on hybrid components and a five-year/100,000 transferable powertrain limited warranty.
To further capitalize on the Silverado Hybrid’s fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, Verizon collaborated with BrandFX Body Company and GM to develop the light-weight fiberglass insert to be installed in the truck’s bed. The composite insert, the lightest weatherproof container on the market, will house Verizon’s service equipment, such as ladders, wiring, connectors and television set boxes.
“We have a long history with Verizon and it’s always our pleasure to work with OEMs to provide the most fuel-efficient composite products for automotive applications,” said Lee Finley, BrandFX Body Company co-owner.
For more information on the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, and to see the full lineup of GM Fleet and Commercial vehicles, visit gmfleet.com.