The future of the automotive industry is green – this according to General Motors South Africa.
The local arm of the US company on Friday unveiled the Cadillac Provoq concept vehicle at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.
The Provoq uses a fuel cell, and not a single drop of petrol. It proves to be environmentally friendly by emitting only water vapour.
The vehicle makes use of fifth-generation fuel cell technology in the form of a lithium-ion battery offering a range of 500 km on a 6 kg tank of hydrogen.
The four-seater vehicle can reach 100 km/h in 8,5 seconds, with a top speed of 160 km/h.
However, says visiting General Motors vice-president environment, energy and safety policy, Beth Lowery, the Provoq will not be driving on to showroom floors soon.
“At the moment, it is only a concept vehicle, and nothing more.”
Lowery adds that the automotive industry can no longer rely primarily on oil to provide its energy needs. She says biofuels and the electrification of the automobile are some of the answers to the rising cost of oil and the challenges of climate change. She described the transformation to energy sources, other than oil, as “good business and the right thing to do”.
Lowery notes that the US carmaker is doing all the necessary things to “compete and win” in the race to develop alternative technology vehicles. The company’s Volt electric (plug-in-and-drive) vehicle will enter large-scale production in 2010.
However, this vehicle will not be coming to South Africa soon, as it requires a recharging infrastructure and most likely some kind of subsidy.
Lowery says the US has already approved $7 500 tax credit to anyone buying a Volt electric vehicle.
“South Africa’s current electricity supply situation is also rather challenging.”