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 LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today announced its plans to share its "Impact" Electric Vehicle (EV) with 1,000 consumers around the country. GM officials say that the Los Angeles area will b the first to participate in its Impact PrEView Drive Program, with cars set for delivery in the spring of 1994. More than 300 of the participants will be in California.
 The auto company also announced that three other California regions were chosen to participate: San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
 A total of 30 GM Impacts will be shared nationwide with electric utility company customers for two to four weeks at a time in real-life situations to gather information and data for the eventual introduction of electric vehicles for sale in the late 1990s.
 State officials applauded the announcement that four California regions are among the 12 regions in the United States chosen to take part in the PrEView Drive. As many as 10 Impact EVs will be in the Los Angeles area and other cities for as long as six months at a time.
 "General Motors is taking a bold step with its PrEView Drive. The program is a necessary part of the company's efforts to meet state air quality regulations. We are on the threshold of a whole new era in transportation, and again, California is playing a major role with one third of the locations to test the EVs," said California Energy Commission Chairman Charles R. Imbrecht.
 The entire national program is expected to cost more than $32 million. The California Energy Commission will determine soon how much money it will make available for the research and demonstration effort as part of the state's contribution.
 Today's announcement in Los Angeles acknowledged the unprecedented public/private partnership between GM, the five major California electric utility companies and the State of California.
 The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison Co. will assist General Motors in recruiting volunteer drivers in their service territories.
 "The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is taking a leadership role to ensure that the infrastructure is in place in Los Angeles to support the widespread use of electric vehicles, which will play a crucial role in improving air quality in Southern California. Our participation in GM's PrEView Drive will help us demonstrate to our customers that electric vehicles are easy and convenient to own and operate," said LADWP General Manager Daniel Waters.
 "For California consumers, the GM PrEView Drive takes electric vehicles off the drawing board and puts them on the street," said Southern California Edison Senior Vice President Charlie McCarthy. "In a few years, mass-produced electric vehicles will be in showrooms and highways in limited numbers. By then, we and LADWP will have the infrastructure foundation in place, thanks to efforts such as the PrEView Drive Program."
 The electric utility companies will be installing the necessary electric charging equipment facilities for participants. The volunteer drivers will be required to maintain daily log books of vehicle use and other factors, such as the weather. On-board computer systems on te? Impact will monitor the vehicles' charging and in-use performance.
 The infrastructure will use a special system developed by the Torrance-based subsidiary of General Motors, Hughes Power Control Systems.
 "We are glad that the California Legislature has set high standards for air quality in this state, because it has shown how we can rise to such a challenge," said Freeman Nelson, vice president for Automotive Electronic Development, GM/Hughes Electronics. "Hughes developed two state-of-the-art technologies being used in the Impact EV -- the inductive charging system and the power management system -- which are profound examples of the ability to transfer defense technologies into viable commercial applications."
 Additional Areas of the State to Participate
 The three other participating utilities in the state will launch demonstrations of the Impact EV later in 1994 and into 1995, during the two-year testing program. Other cities across the country will be phased-in as part of a rotation schedule being developed by GM.
 "San Diego Gas & Electric has a history of working with clean fuels and pursuing environmentally sensitive technologies. We were doing it even before it was mandated in California," said Jack E. Thomas, president and chief operating officer, SDG&E. "We are proud to be again 'on the cutting edge,' this time in the development of alternative-fuel transportation, and we look forward to our role in this government/industry partnership."
 While SDG&E will work with participating drivers in the San Diego area, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District will recruit EV volunteer drivers in Northern California.
 "As a member of GM's PrEView team, PG&E is enthusiastic about promoting the convenience, economy and environmental benefits of electric vehicles to our customers," said Anthony Harris, PG&E manager of Clean Air Transportation. "The input on infrastructure from this test program will enable PG&E to ensure our service territory is 'EV ready' by 1995."
 "GM should be commended for working to advance the electric vehicle," said SMUD General Manager David Freeman. "This program will show that EVs are not 'alternative' transportation but a clean, viable transportation that's here now. SMUD's participation will help toward securing electric vehicle manufacturing in Sacramento."
 The Impact came back to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the PrEView Drive announcement. The Impact EV "Show Car" made its worldwide debut just three years earlier at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show at the Convention Center.
 At the auto show, GM displayed a design concept for an electric vehicle that the public would want to buy. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) took up the challenge, recognizing that use of electric vehicles would be a key way to clean up the air in California. CARB passed regulations stating that 2 percent of vehicles offered for sale by major auto companies must be Zero Emission Vehicles starting in 1998. That increases to 5 percent ZEVs in 2001 and 10 percent ZEVs in 2003. Electric vehicles are currently the only vehicles that meet the ZEV standard.
 Energy Commission Chairman Imbrecht said today's announcement is of major importance and heralds an unprecedented cooperation between the state, a motor vehicle maker and California's major electric utility companies. He said it is a significant step toward eventual commercialization of EVs.
 "The German philosopher Goethe once wrote, 'Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.' GM's electric vehicle started as a dream. But GM actually began the program to build the car, and it is now becoming a reality. Soon, the general public will have the opportunity of being behind the wheel of this 'magical,' sporty and nearly silent two-seater," said Imbrecht.
 -0- 10/13/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Aldrich of California Energy Commission, 916-654-4993; or Jean Crocker of GM Electric Vehicles, 313-528-6233; or Lynn Hill of GM/Hughes Power Control Systems, 310-517-5715; or Mindy Berman of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, 213-367-1344; or Cheryl Popp of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 415-972-5206; or Dace Udris of Sacramento Municipal Utility District, 916-732-5111; or Stephanie Donovan of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., 619-696-4285; or Pat Fedorko of Southern California Edison, 818-302-2255/

CO: California Energy Commission; General Motors Corp.; Sacramento
 Municipal Utility District; Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; San Diego
 Gas & Electric Co.; Southern California Edison; California Air
 Resources Board; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

ST: California IN: AUT SU: PDT

TM-LH -- SF001 -- 1677 10/13/93 12:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1993

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