General Motor's current alternative power plant development programs involving the electric vehicle, the gas turbine, and the stratified charge engine are summarized in this article. GM continues work on a 2-passenger, commuter-type electric vehicle powered by a zinc-nickel oxide battery pack which provides electrical power to a direct-current motor equipped with solid state controls. The critical problem in this program is the battery and so far not all battery performance targets have been met. The majority of GM's current gas turbine development work is being conducted with a 85.75 kw, 150 kg engine. A smaller turbine under development is rated at 45 kw and has an estimated weight of 125 kg. The gas turbine engine has many advantages (can operate on a variety of fuels; has low emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen), but a major draw back is its low fuel economy. In 1981 GM demonstrated a turbine engine fueled by powdered coal. Although it has been shown that powdered coal can successfully power a turbine engine, more developmental work needs to be done before such an engine could become a reality. Currently, GM is also studying two direct-injection stratified charge (DISC) concepts--an early injection version and a late injection version, both of which show potential for a fuel efficiency rivalling that of today's passenger car diesel engine. Ford's latest project is an AFV (alternative fuel vehicle) which operates on methane, ethanol or methanol. Ford's development of a propane option for heavy and medium duty trucks and an R&D program on plastic engines by its Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) are also briefly described.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Mechanical Engineering Publications Limited

    P.O. Box 24, Northgate Avenue
    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 6BW,   England 
  • Publication Date: 1984-6

Media Info

  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: p. 78-79
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 9
    • Issue Number: 3
    • Publisher: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
    • ISSN: 0307-6490

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00396504
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-037 553
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1985 12:00AM