GM Reducing Environmental Impact in a Variety of Ways

GM Reducing Environmental Impact in a Variety of Ways

The Green Samaritan is electric over the next-gen Chevrolet Volt and Chevy’s Bolt EV Concept.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 4:25pm

CAMPAIGN: GM Greener Vehicles


I was recently given the opportunity to be a part of a group of bloggers invited by General Motors to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Mich.

On my blog, The Green Samaritan, I gather and share advice and resources for living the green lifestyle, so I jumped at the opportunity to see the behind the scenes auto show action – especially since I heard rumors Chevrolet might reveal a new electric vehicle.

Fresh from an exciting and informative week in Detroit, my mind is racing.

I’m both a full-time mom and blogger, so I went in to this experience with plenty of questions. I currently drive a crossover SUV, but I’m in the market for something a little more environmentally friendly. As a busy mom with two boys and a wide array of sports gear to lug around, along with all the groceries that fill-up the trunk each week, I wanted to know what vehicle would help me get around while reducing my environmental impact? Can I sacrifice space for sustainability?

When we arrived on the show floor, James Bell, GM’s Consumer Affairs director, gave our group a tour and talked about the future of the industry. While we were at NAIAS, Chevrolet revealed the next generation Volt, which is an even more committed step toward electrification by increasing the range from 38 miles on a fully charged battery to 50 miles.

Reducing the size and weight of the battery packs is another significant step to greater efficiency. It’s a real balancing act to achieve a stylish look on the vehicles while being fuel-efficient. By making the car weigh less, this balancing act is made a little easier.

The surprise announcement of the Chevy Bolt EV Concept, described by GM CEO Marry Barra, as an “EV for everyone” with a price point of around $30,000 after incentives, clearly shows GM’s desire to make this type of vehicle attainable for all.

These efficient vehicles are built at facilities with sustainability practices as well. From their landfill-free facilities to the reuse of the Volt battery cases for duck houses, GM is reducing its environmental impact. When I asked Sharon Basel, manager of environment and energy communications, about employee engagement in green initiatives, I learned sustainability goals are part of and as important as their other goals such as production, safety and financial.

John Bradburn, GM’s global manager of waste reduction, came up with the idea to repurpose Volt battery cases into duck houses, which is a clever and meaningful reuse of an unlikely item. With only 2,500 or so scaly-sided merganser ducks left, this reuse is making a big difference in successful breeding efforts.

As I reflect back on my experience at NAIAS, it seems GM has mapped out a path for me to follow towards a greener, cleaner world. I look forward to seeing what GM brings to NAIAS next year and hope to see the Bolt at my local dealership in the future.


Jeanne Blaisdell is the founder and publisher of The Green Samaritan blog, which gathers and shares the best advice, resources and tips for clean, green, and healthy living.