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Most Innovative: GM Sequel
By Steve Litscher
Editor in Chief

(January 15, 2005)

GM Sequel

Most Innovative: GM Sequel

Hydrogen/Electric Hybrid Power

GM Sequel
Photo Gallery
With so much hype around hybrids and all of the talk about how they're going to save the world, it was refreshing to hear Tom Stephens, VP of powertrain development for General Motors North America admit that current hybrid technologies are at best a mid-term solution. He indicated that today's hybrids are part of a three-tiered strategy that GM is employing, and that the long-term solution is: hydrogen.

And with that, Larry Burns, VP of Research and Design for GM introduced the Sequel, a truly unique and innovative vehicle that showcased some amazing technological advancements. We would later discover that a version of the Sequel may not be too far away from production, and that's when we decided that we had to name the Sequel as our Most Innovative vehicle from the 2005 NAIAS.

At the heart of the sport-ute-skinned hydrogen hybrid is what GM fondly refers to as a "skateboard" chassis. It's 11" thick and surrounds a series of hydrogen tanks (you Hindenburg theorists will be happy to know the tanks are crash rated) and a platform of lithium ion batteries. The batteries increase cruising range to nearly 300 miles, and the hydrogen burns so clean that it emits only simple water from its tailpipe.

Burns went on to say that the Sequel is "A real vehicle that delivers range, performance and safety." He described it as manueverable, stopable and exciting by equating the response time for things like acceleration, braking and turning to that of flipping a light switch. There is no delay when the accelerator is depressed - the electric motors respond instantly, and can accelerate the Sequel to sixty miles per hour in around nine seconds.

We're more than intrigued by the Sequel - we're downright impressed with it. And while it may not have the panache and pizazz of last year's most innovative vehicle, the Porsche Carrera GT, the Sequel is certainly worthy of our 2005 Most Innovative award.

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