Sustainability

10 numbers prove that General Motors is serious about sustainability

General Motors is moving forward with a global sustainability plan.

Photo by Paula Daniëlse/Getty Images

The annual General Motors sustainability report is out. It focuses on the successes of 2019 as well as the path forward. GM, the parent company of the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cruise, and Cadillac brands, among others, has been very public with its push toward sustainability in recent years. New numbers released by the company prove that the efforts are paying off.

2.2

General Motors has invested $2.2 billion into its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. Built on the site of the original Dodge factory, the plant was producing the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, and Chevrolet Impala. In May 2020, the plant began retooling to become GM's first planet dedicated exclusively to electric vehicles. In the future, the company plans to make the Cruise Origin, GMC Hummer EV, and Cadillac Escalade EV there. Once retooling is complete, the plant will support 2,200 jobs.

5

For fiveconsecutive years, General Motors has been the only automaker on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for North America. That index is comprised of sustainability leaders, as identified by RobecoSAM, a specialist in sustainability investing, that includes invited members who are then ranked and divided into submarkets and by region. 2019 marked the first time that GM had been named to the DJSI World Index, which is comprised of the leaders from a variety of regions.

DJSI represents the top 20 percent of the largest 600 North American companies inn the S&P Global BMI based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria.

9

General Motors has been named a U.S. EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year -Sustained Excellence in Energy Management making it nineyears that it earned this honor. In its annual announcement of Energy Star Partners of the Year in April, 191 companies garnered awards. According to the EPA, "in 2018 alone, Energy Star and its partners helped Americans avoid nearly $35 billion in energy costs."

20

General Motors has committed $20 billion in capital and engineering resources toward the development of electric and autonomous vehicle programs between 2020 and 2025. A major step in that direction was the debut of the Ultium battery and new flexible vehicle architecture earlier this year, which has already resulted in a partnership with Honda.

46

Part of sustainability is not having vehicles or parts go to junk yards. A way to quell this is to fie tune safety technology, which is inherently designed to prevent crashes. General Motors vehicles that are equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking (or Forward Automatic Braking) with Forward Collision Alert saw a 46percent reduction in rear-end crashes according to a study conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The technology was first applied to a vehicle in 2004. In 2016, the company committed to making forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking standard on virtually all new light vehicles by 2022.

50

By 2030, 50 percent of the parts used in General Motors vehicles will be made with sustainable materials. This is the result of a partnership between GM and its suppliers. Ford has also taken strides to make more sustainable parts, including using recycled coffee beans from McDonalds to create car parts.

70

GM's new Ultium battery is made from nickel-manganese-cobalt-aluminum chemistry. This results in a reduction in the use of combalt by 70 percent. Cobalt mining is an extremely dirty process that frequently uses child labor. The chemistry has been developed in partnership with LC Chem, but is proprietary for GM.

100

By 2030, 100percent of all GM-owned facilities in the U.S. will be powered by renewable energy. This includes the company's Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, which is slated to be run exclusively on solar power by 2022. GM aims to have their global facilities follow suit by 2040.

100

For the thirdconsecutiveyear, GM has made 3BL Media's 100 Best Corporate Citizens list. The list recognizes outstanding environmental, social and governance transparency and performance among the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies. 3BL Media has represented some of the largest companies on the planet including Morgan Stanley, General Mills, UPS, Pepsico, GM, and CVS Health.

500

GM was included on the S&P 500 ESG Index this year. It was launched in 2019 and recognizes strong performance in environmental, social and governance factors.

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The ZR2 is a beefy off-road pickup.

Chevrolet

Chevrolet has added a beefed-up version of its half-ton pickup to the 2022 Silverado lineup that has more capability and comfort for towing and hauling loads, traveling to hard jobs over a variety of road surfaces and a better 4WD game for backcountry travel. I recently joined the Bow-Tie brand for a 200-mile-long evaluation of the first-ever Chevy ZR2. Our day-long test drive took us from the popular desert playground of Palm Springs, located in a verdant valley surrounded by 5,000 to 10,000-foot mountains, to swaths of nearby desert. There, we traveled along a collection of dirt trails in Joshua Tree National Forest and on a 4WD mining trail to abandoned gold mines, with rugged topography that allowed us to try out the truck’s updated hardware that has been engineered to bring an ease of operation and safety for motoring over tough and technical terrain.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2The ZR2 gets several exclusive touches that set it apart from a standard Silverado.Chevrolet

Chevy has made some significant changes to the 2022 Silverado lineup from outside to in and has added Super Cruise, a hands-free drive mode that we were able to try out on local highways in the Palm Springs environs, as we also checked out different trim levels and new technologies. Updates of note are new interior styling, freshened materials and premium trims; a new dashboard and digital displays with a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with Google’s Maps, Assistant and Play Store as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay); and an electronic shifter mounted to the center console. However, our primary task was to focus on the all-new ZR2 that has been set up with a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine, rides on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires, boasts a new suspension with Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and has electronic-locking front and rear differentials. Elements of the ZR2 and this moniker have been used previously on a special edition of Chevy’s compact truck.

In addition to its functional features, the new Silverado ZR2 stands apart from its stablemates by a collection of unique design cues, including a distinctive front end with a new black hood insert; a large-sized grille with a hollowed-out ‘flow-tie’ emblem for increased air flow and integrated lighting; wheel moldings, ZR2 badges, unique 18-inch wheels and an exclusive Jet Black/Graystone leather-trimmed interior matched with an appealing dark trim. Overall, the truck looks slightly aggressive and fit. The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 competes with other full-sized desert-running and off-road trucks from Ford and Ram. It’s only offered with a crew-cab body style and either the short- or standard-length cargo boxes with an optional Multi-Flex Tailgate. On sale now, it starts at $67,600 (plus $1,695 destination and delivery)

Chevy’s flagship off-road pickup can tow 8,900 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch and haul up to 1,440 pounds of payload, with more comfortable ride as a result of the spool-valved dampers and specially-tuned springs that bring increased wheel travel when compared to the Trail Boss trim, for instance. This also translates to improved control and greater safety on the road, which we found impressive during our highway driving. The truck has a number of new standard safety features, as well.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2The off-road can tow up to 8,900 pounds and haul up to 1,440 pounds.Chevrolet

Added to Chevy’s in-house testing of the truck in everyday driving and extremes, we learned that the new pickup has been put to the test over the past three years by Chad Hall, who is a highly-respected off-roader and noted desert racer. The production truck and Hall’s prototype race truck share most of the major chassis and drivetrain components, including the robust ladder-type frame; the 420-horsepower V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission; transfer case; front and rear differentials; plus the front and transfer case skid plates, says Chevy. (See below for more info on Hall’s racing success in this truck.)

We sampled a number of the truck’s technologies during our day-long drive, checking the boxes for both high-speed desert-running and slow-speed rock crawling. Overall, there was good power on tap with plenty of torque to move the half-ton’s 5,800-pound mass, smooth shifts from the 10-speed transmission, good brakes to slow our momentum when needed, and a comfortable ride- even over rugged roads and washboard.

I was excited to experience the ZR2’s talents on some isolated backcountry roads including the Old Dale and Black Eagle Mine Roads 4WD trail, where posted signage warned “Proceed at your own risk: Deep sand and rocks-- stranded drivers have died from heat exposure on park roads.” Truth is, this is just the kind of picturesque and formidable place that 4WD enthusiasts love to explore with a truck that can take you there—and bring you back safely.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2Chev updated the Silverado's interior with better tech and upscale luxury features.Chevrolet

What makes the ZR2 with its rear leaf-spring set-up abona-fide off-roader? In front are tow hooks and a skid plate underneath the high-mounted steel front bumper, with a 31.8-degree approach angle. Other numbers of note are the: 23.4 breakover angle; 23.3 departure angle; 11.2 inches of ground clearance; with 9.84 inches of suspension travel in front and 10.62 inches in the rear. Its width is 81.2 inches, which helps compared to some of its competitors, as it is more “parkable” in many garages and we found it maneuvered well when navigating through narrow sections of rock. Engineers have also repositioned the dual exhaust for added protection.

One of the truck’s top cool new features is the selectable Terrain Mode that allows for one-pedal driving; this cruise-control-like technology is particularly useful for motoring over rocks and up and down steep slopes. To engage, we locked the ZR2 into 4WD Low, set first gear and let the engineering do the driving, using the throttle to increase speed and the brake to decrease speed, when needed. A forward-facing camera provides visibility to the front and sides, as well as to the back which is another great feature for navigating technical terrain.

*Fuel economy estimates sit at 14 mpg in the city, 17 on the highway and 15 combined. the 24-gallon ZR2’s 360-mile range.

**FAST FACT: Chad Hall Racing also helped test the Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-road technologies in competition — and is still going strong with them. The Colorado ZR2 has been racing since 2017 in the Best in The Desert series and is the only truck in its class to have finished every race entered. It has accumulated more than 22,500 miles of racing experience.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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