What happens to Commodore may be reflected in versions we see here.
From the 7/16 issue of GoAutoNews
From the 7/16 issue of GoAutoNews
Related article E85 more certainGoAutoNews said:Electric Commodore no longer a certainty as Holden boss questions hybrid tech
By JAMES STANFORD
GM HOLDEN chairman and managing
director Mark Reuss has cast doubt over the
hybrid Commodore program, indicating
last week that the petrol-electric large car in
development might not be brought to market.
Responding to questions at the release of
a CSIRO report into future fuels last Friday,
Mr Reuss also questioned the viability of
The position contradicts GM Asia Pacifi c
president Nick Reilly who told GoAuto
and other Australian media in May that
the Commodore would be “one of the fi rst
hybrids you see” with a timeframe of “a
couple of years”.
However, Mr Reuss made it clear that
Holden’s priority was to develop dedicated-
LPG technology, as well as leading with
cars that run on E85 ethanol fuel (85 per
cent ethanol, 15 per cent petrol).
When asked specifi cally about a hybrid
Commodore, Mr Reuss indicated the car
was far from a production certainty.
“We aren’t going to provide a solution, we
are going to provide many solutions here,”
he said. “One of the many solutions may or
may not be a hybrid Commodore.”
Mr Reuss went on to indicate that there
were a lot of strong arguments against
building a hybrid Commodore.
“There are probably a lot of things that I
don’t have time, in answering this question,
to go into in terms of the price of a hybrid
for the average person anywhere in the
world and the benefi t of that price and cost
and payback on fuel,” he said.
“The older technologies don’t pay back
(but) some of the newer technologies do.”
Mr Reuss indicated that Holden was more
interested in introducing more affordable
technology that “everyone has access to”
and went on to talk about the development
of a single-fuel LPG Commodore.
Just weeks after the announcement that
Toyota would produce a Camry Hybrid
in Australia with the aid of $35 million
federal government funding and a similar
amount from the Victorian government, Mr
Reuss said accessible technology such as
dedicated-LPG engines would ultimately
benefi t more people than hybrids, despite
being less of a hot topic for politicians and
the mainstream media.
“I think it is easy for the media and
politicians all over the world to talk about
hybrids because it has become something
that is understandable,” Mr Reuss said. “A
gas (petrol) electric vehicle is a sexy way
to provide better fuel economy and in some
cases it does and some cases it doesn’t.”
Mr Reuss believes a dedicated-LPG
V6, which is currently being developed
by Holden, will deliver more signifi cant
savings. “I’ll give you an example,” he said.
“On an LPG basis over a year’s use, we can
produce an LPG Commodore that is about
$2000 less on an operational basis than a
four-cylinder smaller-car segment vehicle,
so that is a very compelling argument for
anybody including myself, my three kids
and my wife. So these are the things that we
really need to be cognisant of.”
Perhaps pre-empting a forthcoming
advertising campaign, Mr Reuss added that
an LPG Commodore was “an Australian
solution for an Australian car”.
GoAutoNews said:GMH chief puts ethanol
on agenda with promise
of E85 Commodore
By JAMES STANFORD
GM HOLDEN will introduce a Commodore
that can run on E85 ethanol well before the
eco-oriented bio-fuel is widely available in
Using a “build it and they will come”
approach, GM Holden managing director
Mark Reuss said Holden had a responsibility
to take a lead on bio-fuels.
Its premium Saab division has already
introduced E85-capable models, which run
on a blend of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per
cent petrol, despite just one E85 fuel pump
being available in Australia.
This is offered through United Petroleum
Speaking at the release of a CSIRO
report into future fuels last week, Mr Reuss
confi rmed Holden would introduce an E85
Commodore before an ethanol infrastructure
was in place.
“The answer is yes. We will lead with
equipment on vehicles before the supply is
readily available,” Mr Reuss said.
“We only have E10 supply available right
now, but we design our ethanol-capable cars
up to E85 and you can expect to see that
here from Holden and GM in Australia.”
Mr Reuss did not provide a timetable for
the introduction of an E85 Commodore, but
when asked how long it could take all cars to
change to alternative fuels he replied: “Within
GM we can do that in the next two years.”
While it might seem strange that Holden
would introduce cost into its vehicles when
the Australian ethanol industry is embryonic,
and it might be decades before E85 fuel is
widely available, Mr Reuss said Holden felt
compelled to act.
He pointed to the US, where GM had
introduced E85-capable vehicles before
much of the fuel was available.
“This becomes almost a chicken-and-egg
scenario and we intend to do the same thing
in Australia, which is lead with equipment on
the car, driving both the societal awareness
of renewable fuels and the application of
the supply base for them,” Mr Reuss said.
“The benefi ts of ethanol are huge, it is a
comparatively clean-burning renewable fuel
and it requires a very small cost to modify
“I think it is our responsibility as an auto
industry and as a company to lead this,” he
said. “If we wait until we have $8 a litre
gasoline and we wait until bad things happen
to respond, that is a pretty poor place to be.
We owe the society, the economy and our
customers a lot more than that as an industry
and a company.”
Holden is also currently developing
a dedicated-LPG engine, which along
with E85 ethanol could reduce Australian
dependency on imported oil and reduce fuel
bills without forcing large-car customers to
switch to a smaller vehicle.
“I don’t know anyone who decides
that they want to have the smallest car
available,” Mr Reuss said. “They might not
have any option because of the alternatives
that we as an industry have provided from a
GM’s promotion of E85 has triggered
warnings of escalating food prices as arable
land used for food crops is converted to
crops used for ethanol.
However, the company has pointed to
technology being developed that would
see ethanol produced using waste products
rather than food crops.
According to Biofuels Association of
Australia chief executive Bruce Harrison,
who took part in the CSIRO study, most of
Australia’s ethanol is currently produced
from waste starch and molasses. He added
that work was being done to advance other
methods of ethanol production.
“In Australia, one of my members is
currently growing algae (to make ethanol)
and the commercialisation process has begun
down here in Victoria,” Mr Harrison said.