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GM Gets Sop from Department of Energy

A $2.7 million grant pales next to $8 billion given to competitors by DOE (taxpayers) under the so called 136 program.

by on Oct.27, 2009

The idea of an SMA heat engine has existed for decades, but the few devices built were too inefficient to make it worthwhile.

The idea of an SMA heat engine has existed for decades, but the few devices built were too inefficient to make it worthwhile.

General Motors R&D received a $2.7 million federal award on Monday that will help build a prototype using Shape Memory Alloy, or SMA, that would generate electricity from the heat in automotive exhaust.

The grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Program Agency – Energy, or ARPA-E, was the onlyone to an automaker among $151 million in taxpayer funds distributed by the DOE.

The idea of an SMA heat engine has existed for decades, but the few devices built were too inefficient to make them worthwhile. Even now, GM admits the technology is in early stages and is “high risk.” During the next two years, GM and its partners will try to create a working prototype.

GM will collaborate with HRL Laboratories; Dynalloy, Inc., a manufacturer of shape memory alloys specially made to be used as actuators; and the Smart Materials Collaborative Research Lab at the University of Michigan.

Tech News and Views!

Tech News and Views!

The amount given to GM for SMA work is minuscule compared to the first three auto loans totaling $8 billion for developing advanced technology that were granted to the Ford Motor Company, Nissan Motors and Tesla Motors back in June by DOE as part of its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.

The loans, dubbed 136 for the section of the Energy Independence act that authorized it, have $25 billion in U.S. taxpayer funding.

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Boomers’ Kids Mean More of Same for Automakers

So-called Gen Y will accelerate trends their parents established.

by on Oct.22, 2009

Scion xD 2010 Model

Gen Y is more likely than older generations to own portable electronics, and more likely to research their vehicle options on the Internet.

Generation Y, the largest car-buying group since their baby boomer parents, will confound the problems facing domestic automakers, as their buying power continues to expand. This crowd at 75 million, and currently 15 years old to 32, already surpasses boomers in shear numbers, so they will ultimate redefine the market.

A just released study on Gen Y new vehicle buyers in the United States shows they are more likely than the generations before them to consider purchasing a Chinese or Indian branded vehicle, more willing to accept hybrid powertrains, and more likely to want the latest entertainment technology in their vehicle. They also view Japanese and German car brands much more favorably than their parents do.

Gen Y also places much more emphasis on image and price than older generations. Moreover, when buying American vehicles – 26% of Gen Y said that they would only consider buying American makes compared with 39% of older generations.

All Gens welcome!

All Gens welcome!

“Growing up with continuously evolving technology and electronics has given Generation Y a unique ability to adapt easily to change, a willingness to accept new brands, and an expectation that their vehicle provide the best of what is available,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, the research firm that conducted the study.

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