Photo from PHOTO/ REUTERS
With the auto giant General Motors filing for bankruptcy today, they are now promising to change into a lean, green automobile-making machine. But if you look at the facts, they already are green. Is GM the poster child for what is to come if established companies don't innovate, or is it the scapegoat for America's manufacturing debacle?Count the number of hybrids GM offers to the market in 2009, and the first thing that comes to mind is there must be something wrong. This year, you can choose from more than 13 different hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs made by the auto company. That's more than any other manufacturer on the planet. Moreover, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson stated that the company has never missed complying with fuel efficiency standards.
Not only that, they have committed to manufacturing electric vehicles with "revolutionary propulsion systems" for cars such as the Chevy Volt. Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America's daily commuters without a single drop of gas. That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.
Does the G in GM stand for Green?
Lastly, they have previously created major global environmental goals; to make 50 percent of the company's global manufacturing operations landfill-free by the end of 2010, has reduced its global manufacturing energy demands more than 21 percent (equal to heat and power 700,000 homes in United States) and reduced water use at its manufacturing facilities worldwide by 27 percent. Also, GM is a leader of renewable energy usage in the manufacturing sector, with 2.5 percent of its total energy use coming from renewable energy. They have the world's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation at its Zaragoza, Spain car assembly plant. GM uses biogas to power fire boilers and generate electricity in 6 of its US facilities — posting saving of $5million in energy costs in 2008.
Charles Territo, of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, says that "GM is committed to introducing technologies that enhance energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They remain an important part of the industry and will play an important role in the continued development of advanced technologies."
If the auto giant isn't green with its existing efforts already, what else do they need to do?
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