GM, Thailand partner to explore energy efficiency

By Kris Bevill | August 04, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 21, 2008 at 3:10 p.m. CST

As part of its initiative to become the leading manufacturer of energy-efficient vehicles, General Motors Corp. has announced an agreement to assist Thailand's government in developing energy-efficient, environmentally friendly transportation.

"GM will act as a catalyst, a facilitator and a conduit to support the development and sharing of the latest technologies to address energy and environmental issues confronting the Association of Southeast Nations' (ASEAN) region," Rick Wagoner, GM chief executive officer and chairman said.

GM's plan includes three major initiatives.

The first initiative is to aid in establishing Thailand as the ASEAN center of expertise in energy efficient automobiles.

The second initiative is to work with Petroleum Authority of Thailand plc to determine the market and infrastructure requirements of an expanded advanced alternative energy sector in Thailand. For this, GM and PTT will consider a range of possible collaborations, including researching cellulosic ethanol, expanding biodiesel sources, utilizing algae as a feedstock, and developing low-cost hybrid, fuel cell and diesel engine technology.

GM's final initiative is to develop an "alternative energy roadmap" for Thailand. Wagoner said the roadmap will outline "socially responsible, economically viable, environmentally sustainable and technologically feasible" alternative fuels.

"This new broad-based automotive alternative energy strategy will support Thailand as it undertakes one of the most rapid technological transformations in its history," Wagoner said. "It is designed to bring together various resources, including GM's global resources, to accelerate the application of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative fuel technologies."

GM established General Motors Thailand Ltd. in 1993. The company built a manufacturing facility in Thailand and it has been operating since 1996. GM Thailand currently employs more than 3,000 people.