DETROIT -- General Motors Co. is still striving to prepare a fuel cell powertrain for production around 2012, says the company's new r&d chief.
"Technology leadership is one of the pillars of the company. That is going to remain, and it will probably be emphasized as part of the brand of GM," says Alan Taub, executive director of GM r&d.
Taub, 54, takes over for Larry Burns, 58, who retires Oct. 1.
GM has significantly reduced the size and cost of its fuel cell stack, which produces electricity from hydrogen. The latest generation fits in the same space as the company's four-cylinder Ecotech engine.
But the future of fuel cells is uncertain in part because the United States would have to spend billions of dollars to create a fueling infrastructure for hydrogen. And the Obama administration has little enthusiasm for hydrogen.
Taub, who holds a Ph.D. in applied physics, spent 15 years in research at General Electric before working for Ford Motor Co. He joined GM in 2001. Taub reports to product development chief Tom Stephens.
In an interview with Automotive News, Taub declined to reveal the cuts in the r&d budget in the automaker's Chapter 11 reorganization.