GM, Ford Introducing Greener Cars, Engines

Automakers are using this month's Consumer Electronics Show and North American International Auto Show to unveil their latest green car concepts.

At the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, GM is expected to introduce the Chevrolet Volt, a zero-carbon emitting electric compact car with a range of about 30 miles, and Ford will reveal its EcoBoost engine, which the company says can provide a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy with reduced emissions.

GM has already unveiled a Cadillac hydrogen/battery-powered concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Cadillac Provoq would utilize GM's E-Flex propulsion system, which combines the company’s fifth-generation fuel cell with a lithium-ion battery, producing no carbon emissions.

The luxury sedan’s other features include grille vent flaps that close at high speeds to enhance aerodynamics and open at slower speed to cool the fuel cells, braking and shifting technologies that minimize mechanical systems, and a roof solar panel that can power interior lights, audio system and other equipment.

Coinciding with the events, has released the results of online consumer polls, finding car-buyers are looking for improved miles per gallon and eco-friendliness instead of power and performance.

Almost 40 percent of respondents said gas mileage and environmental-friendliness would matter most when buying a new car, and 52 percent said they would look for the best combination of efficiency and power.

When asked about their perception of GM, 51 percent said their view of the company has improved in the past year, with one-third of those respondents citing GM’s environmental commitments.

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