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Sabtu, 14 Jun 2008

International: Fuel savings top car makers' plan

Ian Porter reports, June 14, 2008
GM HOLDEN and Ford Australia will accelerate the introduction of technologies that could lead to fuel savings for the Commodore and Falcon of as much as 20% from 2010. Improvements to petrol engines and other new technologies are also being fast-tracked, according to federal Industry Minister Kim Carr. Senator Carr was speaking from New York after meeting the chief executives of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, and Ford, Alan Mulally, in Detroit yesterday. Both were keen to come to Australia to continue discussions with Senator Carr and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
Senator Carr said the executives were encouraged by the Australian Government's new approach to the car industry and were ready to participate in the Green Car Industry Fund. ut Senator Carr said he had not made any promises regarding grants from the fund. "I have not talked specifics with them," he said. "They are aware of the fund. It is a significant attraction for new investment. That's what it was designed to do." He said it was new investment that would secure high-skilled, high-wage jobs, ease the burden on the environment and reduce the cost of motoring for Australian families. he Green Car Industry Fund will help accelerate the introduction of fuel-saving technologies by making available a pool of $500 million to help fund projects that will improve the fuel economy of locally made cars. The car makers must spend $3 for every $1 received from the fund, which could result in up to $2 billion being invested.
The fund is not a replacement for the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme, which offers tariff exemptions in return for investment in research and development, product or plant. "I will also be looking for the introduction of E85 capability in Australian-built cars for the domestic market, the production of a dual petrol/LPG Commodore, followed by LPG-only vehicles and the production of a diesel Commodore." E85 fuel comprises 85% ethanol and 15% petrol.
A GMH spokesman said the company was looking at all the technologies and that final decisions had yet to be made on some of them. Last week, GMH chairman and chief executive Mark Reuss said diesel was not a "silver bullet" for fuel economy and cost of operation. Senator Carr said changing the direction of a whole industry was like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier. These are very significant changes being proposed in what is an incredibly short time period," he said. He was optimistic about some of the technologies being introduced from 2010. "(GM and Ford) are talking about projects which would lead by 2010 in Australian-made vehicles to measures that would improve fuel economy by up to 20%."

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