|To: 993racer who started this subject||1/9/2002 9:13:46 AM|
|A look @ the GM AUTOnomy Concept Vehicle click on the car.|
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2002) — AUTOnomy, a futuristic General Motors Corp. concept vehicle, so profoundly changes the automotive industry that GM is seeking 24 patents covering business models, technologies and manufacturing processes related to the concept.
"AUTOnomy is more than just a hot new concept car, it's the beginning of a revolution in how automobiles are designed, built and used," said Larry Burns, GM's Vice President of Research and Development and Planning. "If our vision of the future is correct — and we think it is — vehicles such as AUTOnomy will ultimately reinvent the automobile and our entire industry."
This new technology may well transform the entire customer experience — from the way the vehicle is driven, to the body (or bodies) the customer chooses to mount on the chassis. Such flexibility allows the vehicle to adapt to changing lifestyles and needs around the world, at an affordable price.
Inherent in the AUTOnomy concept — the world's first vehicle designed completely around a fuel cell propulsion system — are the seeds of a profoundly different automotive enterprise. Indeed, AUTOnomy is as much a cutting-edge business idea as it is an imaginative vehicle concept.
AUTOnomy's flexible design and technological advances offer the promise of more affordable fuel cell vehicles, and the fuel itself — hydrogen — is the most abundant element in the universe. So, how will the transition to hydrogen-fed vehicles occur?
For starters, AUTOnomy could help simplify the manufacturing process with sophisticated modular assembly and accelerated vehicle development. This would be accomplished, in part, by decoupling the body and chassis in the manufacturing process.
Millions of chassis — which GM calls "skateboards" — could be manufactured to achieve economies of scale, reducing the cost of the fuel cell system. Small satellite assembly plants could make unique bodies for both emerging and established markets. These plants could operate profitably and at niche volumes — an automotive oxymoron today.
"A flexible architecture, such as the AUTOnomy's, obviously offers many advantages to our customers," Burns said. "But it also would help shorten production time and be more responsive to global market needs."
The modularity would improve quality. Warranty costs could conceivably go down. Planning could become easier.
Take powertrains, for example. Typically, to amortize the heavy investment costs, companies can't afford to update engine designs, sometimes for as long as 20 years. Companies get locked into a certain mix of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. It's difficult to be flexible and yet meet regulatory and market demands. In contrast, fuel cells are, in simplest terms, a stack of plates.
"If you need to double the kilowatt output, you double the number of plates in the stack," Burns explained. "It's very easy to scale up or down."
The skateboard would also afford GM maximum flexibility. It could likely only vary in length — short, medium and long. Issues of safety, stiffness and ride-and-handling would not have to be re-engineered to accommodate different body types.
"You could envision a body docking onto this drivable skateboard and the interface is just a software interface, much like a laptop docks into a docking station," Burns said. "So you could steer by wire, brake by wire, or control your ride and handling by wire."
Furthermore, the feeling of the vehicle's steering, chassis and brakes, controlled simply through software, could make each GM brand even more distinctive, Burns said, "making a Chevy a Chevy, a Buick a Buick and a Cadillac a Cadillac."
The AUTOnomy concept also provides tremendous freedom from mechanical components and interfaces and the limitations those components place on a product's design.
"You don't have to design around exhaust, steering and braking systems with their associated mechanical linkages for braking systems," Burns said." Because you can handle all of this by wire, it allows you to lengthen or widen the chassis-'skateboard' without having to worry about lengthening all these mechanical couplings. That's where the cost savings and development speed would come into play, helping make fuel cell electric vehicles potentially affordable."
AUTOnomy, with its hydrogen-fed fuel cell, may be especially attractive in less developed nations, where the extensive gasoline infrastructure has not yet been built. Emerging markets might be able to launch directly into a hydrogen economy, much as China's telecommunications system went directly to wireless telephones, skipping traditional land line-type systems altogether. By generating hydrogen from the natural gas used to heat a home, a person's dwelling might become the equivalent of today's gas station. Conversely, vehicles could be used to provide standby or backup power to homes or businesses.
Customer subscription services could be delivered to the vehicle via satellite, such as mobile diagnostics and software upgrades, hands-free communication, digital radio, navigation services and other features that haven't even been imagined. Car loans might be extended from six years to 20 years, Burns added.
"Clearly, this is an experimental idea," he said. "This is a global vision because GM and its alliance partners have an unparalleled ability to design and build vehicles all over the world."
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|To: D.Austin who wrote (63)||1/9/2002 9:19:45 AM|
|AUTOnomy Concept Allows Designers to Think Outside the Box|
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2002) — Starting now, vehicle design is officially wide open.
Click on image for a larger view
All the working parts of General Motors' AUTOnomy concept vehicle are sandwiched in the skateboard-like chassis, and the application of a new technology eliminates foot pedals, the instrument panel and the steering column. Now, the driver can sit anywhere in the vehicle.
"The fusion of fuel cells and x-by-wire technology, which replaces mechanical systems with electronic ones, opens the door to tremendous styling and design opportunities," said Wayne Cherry, GM's Vice President of Design. "It's design freedom without constraints."
By themselves, fuel cells aren't a new story. But every fuel cell vehicle shown so far has attempted to stuff the fuel cell stack, hydrogen storage unit and electric motors into the existing internal combustion architecture, often at the expense of passenger space and payload capacity.
That design goes back to the earliest days of the internal combustion engine. The cylinders needed to be together in one or two compact rows to share camshafts and other components. The engine needed to be positioned so that it had access to an abundant supply of fresh, cool air, which almost always meant the front box. And the driver needed to be able to see over it.
"But a fuel cell stack can be spread around the vehicle and can take any shape you might imagine," said Christopher Borroni-Bird, head of GM's new Design and Technology Fusion Group and program manager of the AUTOnomy concept. "It doesn't have to be bunched up like the cylinders of an internal combustion engine."
Inside the vehicle, a driver doesn't have to be seated within a comfortable reach of the pedals, because there aren't any. A hand-operated steering guide replaces the traditional foot pedals, instrument panel and steering column, modeling, in some ways, how planes, motorcycles and snowmobiles operate. Everything the driver needs is incorporated into an adjustable steering guide called the X-drive.
"Instead of a steering column, the steering guide might be mounted on a swivel arm that affixes to the floor in the center of the vehicle," Cherry explained. "It kind of reminds me of how airplane engineers package those small video monitors in the armrest of the seat. They fold out in front of you, but they are stored in the armrest."
For instance, a driver could sit in a center driving position when driving alone, and move to accommodate passengers. Or a European driver could switch from left-drive to right-drive after crossing the Chunnel from France into England.
The new architecture also enables enhanced safety. For example, seat placement can improve side-impact protection and the instrument panel can be replaced with a bulkhead optimized for crash protection. The GM "skateboard" creates an unusually low center of gravity, without sacrificing ground clearance. This allows for superior handling, while resisting rollover forces, even with the tallest body attached. In the event of a crash, the stiff skateboard would absorb most of the crash forces, helping to prevent passenger compartment intrusion that can occur with today's internal combustion engines, steering columns and foot pedals.
On the exterior, designers can make any variety of bodies for this vehicle, from a one-seat commuter to a seven-seat minivan and everything in between. In India, it might be an open-sided, 10-passenger jitney.
In China, it might be a stake truck for hauling livestock. Customers also would have the ability to change bodies, as their needs change over the 20-year life expectancy of a chassis - even if their needs change on a weekly basis.
The GM AUTOnomy concept, revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a sleek and futuristic two-seat roadster, inspired by motorcycle and fighter jet design.
Cherry and his design staff have been dreaming for years of revisiting a big vision statement, in the vein of GM's renowned Firebird series of the 1950s, which was inspired by the post-war aviation boom. Firebird I, II and III had long fuselages, cockpits and wings and were powered by gas turbine engines.
"When we were first presented with the power of this idea," Cherry said, "it was so exhilarating and liberating. Imagine having no constraints, the freedom to do any shape you want. Then, for a time, our designers had the artistic equivalent of writer's block. We had always worked with some boundaries. Eventually, we got past that."
The creative process was exhausting and, at times, ambiguous, and yet exhilarating, and Cherry is happy his team went through that.
"When you get that kind of creative tension, you get a wealth of ideas," Cherry added. "Remember, this is just the first iteration. There are a number of body styles to create in the future."
While the skateboard, or chassis, might be common, the body styles would be even more unique, leading to even further brand differentiation.
Brand character can be tailored not only by the body's shape, but also by the software that determines driving characteristics, such as braking, cornering and acceleration.
AUTOnomy runs on a fuel cell adapted from GM's existing HydroGen III fuel cell system. The whole package fits within a 6-inch chassis, a dimension that will ultimately be determined by the state of hydrogen storage technology. A single docking connection, or port, on the chassis provides a quick and convenient way to hook up the body's power, control, heating and cooling systems.
"When fuel cells and drive-by-wire are combined, it enables us to build and design new kinds of vehicles," Cherry said. "Until now, these technologies have been demonstrated as if they were an end in themselves.
But we look at this technology as enabling great design. "In the end, people are passionate about their cars and trucks and the potential of AUTOnomy ought to quicken their pulse. I believe we are beginning an exciting, new chapter in automotive design."
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|To: D.Austin who wrote (64)||1/9/2002 9:21:44 AM|
|Hydrogen in, Water Out — Clearly, the AUTOnomy is Clean |
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2001) — The hydrogen-powered future just became easier to imagine with the introduction of General Motors' AUTOnomy concept vehicle. It would run cleaner, use fewer resources and conceivably last twice as long as conventional vehicles.
Fuel cell vehicles consume hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, and emit only water vapor and heat. Emissions such as carbon dioxide are removed from the picture.
However, AUTOnomy is much more than just a clean air vehicle. The GM concept provides much more value than just zero emissions and twice the fuel economy.
"Customers want better fuel economy and a cleaner environment," said Larry Burns, GM's Vice President of Research and Development and Planning. "However, they do not expect to pay more for sustainable mobility. It is incumbent on the auto industry to invent vehicles that are sustainable but do not impose tradeoffs on customers."
Government also plays a critical role, Burns said. Consumer tax incentives, for instance, would help overcome the higher initial costs of advanced technologies and create consumer demand for vehicles that include them, he said.
"AUTOnomy would also be attractive for benefits people don't even associate with fuel cells," Burns added. "It would provide very affordable all-wheel drive, unprecedented safety and comfort, re-configurable interiors, multiple bodies for differing needs, no oil changes, maintenance worries or trips to the gas station."
The chassis also could serve as a mobile energy source, providing heat and electricity for your home, he said.
"That's what will make fuel cell vehicles sell, not the environmental benefits alone. That's what we need to move to a hydrogen economy and the day when the automobile is completely removed from the environmental equation," Burns said.
The skateboard chassis, which includes the propulsion system, fuel storage, brakes, steering and other critical systems, is intended to last up to 20 years.
With a longer service life, AUTOnomy will reduce manufacturing waste and will potentially be easier to recover and recycle than today's vehicles. The body also can be made of recycled materials.
The drive-by-wire technology replaces mechanical systems with electronic ones, eliminating the need for engine oil, transmission fluid or brake fluid. That would further reduce the environmental impact of the automobile.
"Long term, this is the best solution for customers, government, industry and environmentalists," Burns said. "Policy makers in the U.S. and around the world need to give serious consideration to the power of an idea such as AUTOnomy. It is a catalyst for bringing about a hydrogen economy.
"People will buy these cars because they are passionate about them and they offer a better value than today's technology."
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|To: 993racer who started this subject||2/26/2002 8:58:31 AM|
|Congressman backs fuel cell technology for U.S.|
By:Bill Doak, Editor February 21, 2002
First District Congressman John B. Larson, back in the district to address a rally of veterans in Newington and speak with South End seniors about Social Security and prescription drug costs, sat down to an interview with the Gazette Wednesday.
As he detailed some of the intricate political gamesmanship on the floor of the House of Representatives, the congressman took the opportunity to explain his recent vote in favor of campaign finance reform, said he favors giving government relief to insurance companies - even though unlikely to be approved - and wants to hold off reforming accounting practices in the wake of Enron's bankruptcy.
With the country at war in Afghanistan, and dealing with both international and domestic issues, the two-term East Hartford Democrat not only seems more at ease in discussing the ins and outs of life in the Beltway he appears invigorated by the quickened pace of politics and policy in Washington D.C.
"Everyone is four-square behind Powell, Cheney and President Bush," said Larson. "That being said, domestically everyone still has a conflicting agenda."
For example, gone are the campaign promises of prescription drug reforms prior to September 11, Larson had to tell seniors. And gone as well is deficit reduction and any talk of having a "lock box" to protect Social Security.
Issues such as homeland security and dealing with the international community during a time of crisis and war have replaced the usual rhetoric, he said.
But the technology of the war has also brought a boost to the local defense industry, and made America's allies sit up and take notice. As U.S. Rep. Larson is a member of the Science Committee, he has an inside view of technology which has again made this country the envy of other nations. Technology, he believes, can get us out of future conflicts - or even prevent them before they start.
Larson notes the prevalence of Saudi nationals among the four terrorist teams September 11.
"Oil. This has been an addiction," said Larson. "American troops are camped out on Saudi Arabian soil next to Mecca to make sure there is control over their natural resource. The king collects the wealth from the oil while you have this unbelievable poverty and large groups left out of the mainstream. That was the heart of Senator Joe Lieberman's speech," calling for a more compassionate approach to resolving tensions in the Middle East, Larson related.
"The US has to figure out a way to make us energy independent."
The Congressman wants to use the military action to underscore his point on the need to wean American dependence from foreign oil. He is pushing a "hydrogen" economy based on fuel cells, power generating devices which chemically break down natural gas into water, extracting hydrogen for fuel.
"This technology is not 20 years away, it is two years away," Larson stated. Such fuel cells ought to be used on local buses, such as those using the planned New Britain-Hartford busway. "There should also be trolley-like buses powered by fuel cells."
Government should also create a market by holding a competition amongst the top three auto makers, the congressman added, and cap future oil reserves for "future generations" to use in case of an emergency.
Larson said the fuel cell development could help create a "critical mass" centered in the Connecticut River valley.
"This is the way to go. And it will foster the use of fuel cells in other countries as well."
Noting the new configuration of the First Congressional District, which Larson describes as a "backwards C or a crab," the congressman now counts among his constituencies Bradley International Airport, part of the city of Torrington, part of Middletown and the north half of Glastonbury.
"I consider the whole city as being in my district," said Larson.
The congressman said he "feels very lucky" that the district remains overwhelmingly Democratic. Asked if he would entertain a run for Senate, the former East Hartford teacher said he is "very content" in his current role in Washington D.C.
The congressman, who also co-owned an East Hartford insurance agency, also said he hopes to revisit a reform package to help the insurance industry obtain some government relief from major catastrophes it now faces during a time of possible terrorism and war.
"The defense department says it is 100 percent certain September 11 will happen again. Now, actuaries have to consider that when they underwrite property. How do you do that in New York City, where the cost of September 11 is already $40 billion?"
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|To: D.Austin who wrote (67)||2/26/2002 11:29:34 AM|
|a Major defection from HPOW to DCH ??|
Tuesday February 26, 11:00 am Eastern Time
SOURCE: DCH Technology, Inc.
DCH Adds Malhotra To New Management Team
VALENCIA, Calif., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DCH Technology, Inc. (Amex: DCH - news), a manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen sensors and provider of hydrogen safety services, announced the hiring of Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra as Vice President -- Business Development and Marketing for all DCH lines of business. Malhotra is a well-known and influential participant in the hydrogen energy industry, most recently serving as Director, Business Development, Marketing and Sales for H Power Corporation. Malhotra assumed his DCH position yesterday morning.
While serving H Power, Malhotra spearheaded the formation of several strategic business alliances -- forging financial, joint development and marketing agreements generating substantial revenues and establishing significant channels to market. He also negotiated revenue-generating research contracts and licensing fees.
``One of our highest strategic priorities entering 2002 was to bring in an established business development executive to assist our transition to commercial operations, and we are fortunate to retain an individual of Dr. Malhotra's status in the industry,'' said John Donohue, DCH President and Chief Executive Officer. ``Sanjiv understands the business dynamics of the hydrogen power industry extremely well. He brings to DCH exceptional experience and tremendous credibility. We are confident that he will accelerate the outreach activities we have in place and open the door to several potential partners we've targeted.''
``I am impressed by DCH's proven technology, new management team, and the strong strategic plan they have that focuses on the nearest-term commercialization opportunities,'' Malhotra said. ``My experience on both the technical side and business side of hydrogen matches well with this vision. I'm totally focused on generating some very exciting and significant partnerships for the Company.''
Malhotra holds both a Doctorate in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. He has authored and presented several technical and business presentations on fuel cells. Malhotra was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, where he was involved with a fuel cell project funded by the Electric Power Research Institute.
For additional information, please contact Investor Relations at 1-661-775-4380 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Web page: www.dcht.com .
Safe Harbor: This press release includes statements that are considered ``forward-looking'' within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect DCH Technology's current views about future events and performance. Investors should not rely on these statements because they are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. These factors include, but are not limited to, the cost of development and market acceptance of DCH's sensor-based systems and fuel cells as well as fuel cells in general, the availability of financing for DCH's operations, the ability of DCH to secure strategic investors, competition, the cost and availability of materials, governmental regulations, and other factors detailed in DCH Technology's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE: DCH Technology, Inc.
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|To: Scoobah who wrote (68)||2/26/2002 11:42:01 PM|
I really cannot comment on that one.I try and stick with the risky plays I know best.
I believe the chart on this one looks like a coiled spring.
Check out the green line on this chart
and a gap up to 3 is just around the corner.
see ya Dennis
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