By 2005, GM’s top executives were convinced it could get sales moving again by turning around its reputation on fuel economy and the environment, the Wall Street Journal reports.
To differentiate its strategy from Toyota’s, GM decided to develop vehicles and technologies that don’t require petroleum-based fuels, which led to a campaign to promote ethanol. But GM decided it had to come up with a much more dramatic idea for addressing global warming and oil consumption.
GM decided they needed the automotive equivalent of Apple’s iPod, a product that knocks all other competitors for a loop. They decided to move ahead with a fuel-cell vehicle – the Volt.
GM estimates the vehicle could go 150 miles on a gallon of gas. Because it emits so little tailpipe exhaust, producing the vehicle could give GM valuable credits if a U.S. emission cap-and-trade system is ever put in place.