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GM Hybrids Take To Detroit Streets

Quiet hybrid-powered buses get 60 percent better fuel economy and significantly reduced emissions

DETROIT -- When hundreds of GM employees gather today for the corporation's 2004 Global Employee Environmental Conference, many of them will be transported in two GM hybrid-powered transit buses that feature up to 60 percent better fuel economy and up to 90 percent fewer emissions than conventional diesel buses.

The 40-foot buses, powered by GM's hybrid technology, will serve two purposes. The first will be to transport conference attendees to and from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to the three-day conference at GM's global headquarters at the GM Renaissance Center. The second will be to shuttle employees to off-site locations for other conference activities.

"GM's technology offers significantly improved fuel economy, along with reduced noise and emissions - qualities that are particularly important and beneficial in large cities like Detroit," said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, Environment and Energy. "We're pleased to use them in Detroit during GM's environmental conference."

GM diesel-powered hybrid buses are gaining in popularity. The buses are currently in revenue service in Philadelphia and Seattle. Earlier this year, the King County-Seattle area began taking delivery of the first of 235 buses - the largest hybrid bus delivery in history.

Additionally, "preview programs" have introduced GM hybrid buses to the fleets in more than a dozen major North American cities, including Minneapolis, Portland and Houston.

Besides improved fuel economy and dramatically lower emissions, the GM hybrid system delivers superior torque, derived from the dual electric motors used to launch from a stop, and 50 percent better acceleration than conventional diesel buses.

The GM hybrid system is applicable to a broad range of commercial transit applications, including standard and articulated transit buses and suburban coaches. The system also is compatible with contemporary vehicle architectures.

"Environmental improvements on both the mobile and stationary fronts are a high priority at GM," said Ray Tessier, group director, GM Worldwide Facilities Group Environmental Services. "This conference helps our employees share information, solve critical challenges and get training in regulations and processes to improve GM's environmental efforts and business results. At GM, we believe business leadership and environmental leadership are complementary goals."

This will be the seventh year that GM has held its global environmental conference. Hundreds of employees attend training classes in common processes, learn best practices from their colleagues and focus on key environmental initiatives and activities designed around strategies, metrics, and management systems.