North American International Auto Show 2005

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

At first glance it could be a cocktail party or a Vegas stage show but all the pageantry is for the auto industry, and the words in lights here: Alternative Technology.

Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors told the press "As an industry, we have a responsibility on fuel emissions and fuel economy."

If the models on display speak for the executives, it looks like his collegues agree. Most of the cars on display are just concept vehicles following in a successful tradition. The Ford Escape hybrid is the North American Truck of the Year. GM is currently touting their Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. They're on the market now in the Northwest--pilots for a SUV market that's soon to boom.

For the long term, GM says hydrogen fuel cells will be the key. They may also be a hybrid, sharing electric and hydrogen power. As for feasibility, GM knows you can't fill up on hydrogen at a gas station, but when you can, they plan to be ready and waiting.

Even within today's mode of hybrid, they also plan to have different kinds of hybrids at different price levels. Production does not involve making many changes to the assembly line, so some of them could be made right here in Lansing.

As for consumers, the execs say "anything but gas" is the wave of the future, and they want drivers behind the wheel before this decade is over.


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