General Motors announces sponsorship of the "FutureTruck 2000 and 2001"

provided by General Motors Corp.


eneral Motors announced that it will join the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a primary sponsor of "FutureTruck" for the years 2000 and 2001. Michael A. Grimaldi, GM vice president and vehicle line executive of full-size trucks, made the announcement here at the concluding ceremonies of the "1999 FutureCar Challenge."

The FutureCar Challenge gave college students the opportunity to use their creativity and innovation to solve "real-life" engineering and business problems. Participating colleges and universities re-engineered passenger cars to operate on advanced, alternative fuel technology. The vehicles are evaluated on performance, fuel economy, emissions and consumer features.

GM has been a cosponsor of FutureCar since 1996 and a major sponsor - with the Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada - of the 1998 and 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenges. GM of Canada will sponsor the 2000 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. GM also cosponsors the International EcoCar 2000 with the Society of Automotive Engineers.

"GM is committed to the advancement of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies," said Grimaldi. "The 2000-2001 program will be called 'FutureTruck' because the focus of experiments will shift to trucks.

"FutureTruck recognizes the fact that trucks are hot! Our customers want trucks, and we see no signs that this demand will slow any time soon," he said.

In November, GM will donate 15 all-new, 2000 model year Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicles to the universities chosen to participate in "FutureTruck 2000." These trucks will be equipped with Vortec 5300 V8 engines, four-speed automatic transmissions and four-wheel drive. The student teams will convert the trucks to operate on hybrid electric, fuel cell or other advanced automotive technologies. They will meet in the spring to undergo a series of tests, competing for prize money.

Grimaldi said that the new Suburban, like GM's Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups, has improved fuel economy and lower emissions, and is the most recyclable full-size sport utility in GM's history.

As the primary sponsor, GM will also provide a total of $150,000 in seed money to the schools, $80,000 in prize money for the next two years of the competition, technical workshops and assistance, and a venue for the judging. Testing and judging will be held next May at GM's Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona.

  Contact: Jim Schell of GM, (248) 753-7161