By on January 15, 2008

v526257zmyjepbq.jpgAccording to Cadillac, the Provoq is "a petroleum-free, hydrogen-powered vision of future luxury transportation." In fact, the official press release proclaims that "The concept can drive 300 miles (483 km) on a single fill of hydrogen – with 280 miles (450 km) from hydrogen and 20 miles (32 km) on pure, battery electric energy. A pair of 10,000 psi (700 bar) composite storage tanks beneath the rear cargo floor hold 13.2 pounds (6 kg) of hydrogen to feed the fuel cell stack, located under the hood. There, hydrogen mixes with oxygen to generate electricity – up to 88 kW continuous power. A lithium-ion battery pack can store up to a total of 9kWh of electrical energy and also provides a peak of 60 kW of power for additional performance." All this despite the fact that the Concept doesn't have any hydrogen-related parts whatsoever. So I rang-up Pete Barkey of GM Powertrain Communications and asked if GM has any intentions of building a Provoq Concept with a hydrogen engine. "I cannot tell you either way right now." David Caldwell of Cadillac Communications also pointed out that the press release uses a small "c" (concept) rather than a capital "C" (as in Provoq Concept). Both gentlemen also admitted that the numbers cited were entirely theoretical. Fair enough? 

Click here for more TTAC photos of the Cadillac Provoq Concept

[Reported by Sajeev Mehta and William C. Montgomery] 

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19 Comments on “Is the Cadillac Provoq a Sham?...”


  • avatar
    Brian E

    I’ve never quite understood the difference between making a concept car and just flat-out lying. It’s one thing to use it as a design study. It’s another thing when you say the concept is “powered by” something if it really doesn’t have a powertrain that actually does that.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    There sure are a lot of neat green cars coming out.

    Some day :(

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    So the capitalization of a word in the press release matters? If it is “Concept”, it’s a real car, but if it is “concept”, then it’s just some bullshit somebody scribbled on a napkin? Sheesh.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    What’s the difference between a “c” or “C” how would that make the concept any more valid? Just looks like they are trying to trick people, and get the journalists that don’t ask questions to publish it as a fact.

  • avatar
    Queensmet

    So what if I can get a car that runs on Hydrogen. Where on earth would I buy hydrogen? I think the concept here is not whether a vehicle can be built, but more that there will be hydrogen to run it. This is just like ethanol. Sounds good until you look at the logistics of delievering the fuel.

  • avatar
    paulpita07

    The numbers arent just made up. They are from the equinox test vehicle which i would imagine would carry the same hydrogen platform. It is a similar sized vehicle and provides the same large front face area that is critical to keep the hydrogen cool. These vehicles are to be sold (if not already) to 600 people in different areas of the US to offer back to GM there opinions and experiences. You have to start somewhere.

  • avatar

    paulpita07 : They are from the equinox test vehicle which i would imagine would carry the same hydrogen platform. Yes and no. The Powertrain guy said they're an extrapolation of the Equinox' fuel cell's stats– based on what we didn't discuss.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    2009 Cadillac BRX on the next iteration of the Theta platform (Vue) previewed, yes. Any word on weight reduction?

    And to paraphrase Frank Baum: “Ignore the 10k psi hydrogen tank beneath the concept.” That’s if there is one, of course.

  • avatar
    Qwerty

    Capital ‘C’ or not, the Provoq is a stupid name. Are they using ebonics to name their cars now?

    What’s next? The Pristeg. The Preclood. The Premeer.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    ASs I think most of us know, GM has no intention of “selling” 600 hydrogen Equinoxes. They have 100 demonstrators that they are lending, free, to consumers who indeed will report back their feelings about operating the vehicle.

    As for paulpita07′s opinion that the large frontal area is needed to “keep the hydrogen cool,” I have no idea what he’s talking about; perhaps he can explain. The hydrogen isn’t hot. There’s a moderate amount of head created by the fuel cell in operation, but it’s minuscule compared to the heat generated by the Bugatti Veyron’s engine, say, and they’ve been able to deal with it without huge frontal area.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Yes well my concept runs on C02. It burns C02 with 100% efficiency and thus has no emissions. It will run from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, has top speed of 255 mph (governed to 157 mph), and is the most beautiful car you have ever seen!

    I am selling carbon offset credits to fund my startup. $10,000 buys you enough credits to drive your Escalade with supreme environmental do gooder smugness, enough to call out your Prius driving friends for running their AC. Send checks to Happy Dude at 1 Evergreen Terrace…

  • avatar
    frontline

    Hey Guys,
    Every since I was a kid the concept cars had something unobtainable under the hood or maybe nothing at all. What is all the fuss about?

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Due in showrooms the day after the Volt.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    guyincognito :

    Yes well my concept runs on C02. It burns C02 with 100% efficiency and thus has no emissions. It will run from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, has top speed of 255 mph (governed to 157 mph), and is the most beautiful car you have ever seen!

    You should place it on display on your front lawn. But since it is only a “concept” at this point, you can represent it by using an empty cardboard box. Just explain that design, engineering, and price are yet to be finalized.

  • avatar
    jaje

    So the range and ability is purely speculation. Does the car even run and drive – in other words a “functional” concept versus a styling concept. GM is very well known for this. I really wish I could buy and drive hype as GM makes some of the best in the business.

  • avatar
    Mcloud1

    I am in a program with GM, and as a result, I saw this car when it was still being prepped by GM for the auto show at the Warren design center. Not only does it not have any powertrain, but it is nothing more than a clay mockup. I know what because I was literally standing one foot from it when they were still putting the skin on.

    I know that they told me to not take any pictures of what I saw there, but they never said anything about telling what I saw.

    Nice one, GM.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    As somebody already pointed out, very few concept cars have a real powerplant. And many of them have been clays–nothing at all unusual about that.

    There are a variety of reasons why car companies all over the world build concept cars, and only one of them (for a few concept cars) is to display something that will actually be built. That’s rare, so let’s not be naive about the Provoq.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Is it common for a company to quote such specific number of something they only every built a carboard cut-out of?

  • avatar

    The difference between what "concept cars" used to be and what they are now is their purpose. In the past, concepts were used to hint at future styling or show features the manufacturer was thinking about putting into production. Yes, some of them had non-existent powerplants but that wasn't the purpose of the vehicle. They were either flights of fancy or styling exercises. Today concept cars are being used by manufacturers to try to cop green creds and show how much they love the environment. The sole reason they're out there revolves around the powertrain. When a manufacturer sends out a press release extolling the virtues of a concept car's powerplant – right down to the power output and fuel mileage – and it has a cardboard replica (or nothing at all) where the engine should be, it hurts their credibility. Add in wording like "the concept has (whatever engine)" or "the concept can drive can drive 300 miles (483 km) on a single fill of hydrogen," that implys the thing really can do it when it's just an engineer's pipe dream. If they said "the concept should" or "it will have whatever powerplant," or words to that effect indicating it's still in the planning stages, that would be fine. But when their press release makes it sound like it's ready to drive away under its own power and then they roll out a clay model, they've lost me completely.


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