Tuesday, January 11, 2005


The Aptly-Named GM Sequel

GM took the wraps off the Sequel this week at the North American International Auto Show, and boy, it might very well be the most important vehicle on display. Certainly, the HyWire broke far more ground, but precicely because of that it was overlooked (in my opinion) by the motoring press (on the other hand, it grabbed a lot of attention from the technology media, who typically ignore cars). But the Sequel wraps that innovative architecture in what appears to be a very user-friendly package - indeed, ignore what's under the skin, and it looks, well, not much different than a contemporary "tall wagon" SUV.

I have a feeling that the significance will, once again, be lost on people who think that it's more amazing if someone eeks-out another 1 or 2 HP/liter from an internal-combustion engine, or sticks yet another gear range into an automatic gearbox.

I do wonder if GM (perhaps the OEM least-able to significantly transform their manufacturing capacity to accommodate such a big tear-up of the architecture we've become so fond of in the last century) can actually bring this car to the market, and of course there's significant issue of developing generation and distribution methods for hydrogen. I'm still hopeful that we can implement localized generation, where communities or even individual households generate their own electricity using whatever method makes sense in that geographical region. But none of this matters much if the public still feels that the current vehicle architecture is the best way to serve our transportation needs. It often seems as if we evolve products at a rate inversely-related to the importance in ours lives. Odd, eh? It's enough to make one doubt the efficiency of the free market.

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