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GM Picks Windsor to Provide Transmissions for Hybrid Vue

Windsor Star. GM has selected its Windsor (Canada) Transmission plant to supply transmissions for the new mild hybrid Saturn Vue due out next year and other future GM models using the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system. (earlier post).

The Windsor Transmission plant currently builds automatic four-speed transmissions for small front-wheel-drive cars such as the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G6

Windsor Transmission’s contribution to the hybrid is an altered version of the four-speed automatic 4T45e transmission it has been building for many years.

The main feature of the hybrid version of the transmission is an auxiliary electric hydraulic pump which will keep the clutch engaged to prevent the SUV from rolling backwards when it's stopped on an incline. The engines of nearly all hybrids shut down at stoplights and restart as soon as the driver's foot lifts off the brake pedal.

The auxiliary pump, about the size of a medium automotive oil filter, is bolted to the side of the transmission housing, which has been altered for the hybrid version.

GM’s mild hybrid engines also require a specially strengthened serpentine belt to withstand higher torque routed through the alternator/generator.


James White

A tiny 3 kW motor/generator on a 160+ HP engine really stretches the definition of hybrid. If it were any milder it would only qualify as a starter and alternator.


If people are as disappointed with current mild and full hybrid mileage as the press is indicating, I can't imagine how disappointed people are going to be when they pay extra for one of these GM weak hybrids.

Harvey Devost

James White appreciation of GM mild 'hybrids' is not an exageration. GM is demeaning the word 'Hybrid' by making those so-called ultra mild hybrids. Being 10 + years behind Toyota, it may be the best that GM can to without infringing on Honda's or Toyota's patents. Let's hope that the Big Three will do better with plug-in hybrids, but it is very doubtful if they can catch up or have the will to do so. We may have to get use driving mostly Asian and some European plug-ins with in-wheel electric motors in the near future if we want to significantly reduce oil consumption and pollution levels.


No the problem is they cant get enough parts yet to build em. The compnaies that make the various bits needed for a fully hybrid are small in america and cant ramp up fast enough. Remember america realy doesnt use all that many electric thingies that required say 60-100kw electric motors of small size or the battery packs for them or the power control stuff for them so it takes about 5 years to ramp em all up. And right now ford has gobbled up most of the supply.

Part of this and a big part by the way is we dont have as many automated factories in america thats where alot of such motors and power systems came from in the first place.


I'll take GM's weak hybrid over none at all. Maybe this helps them hedge their risk factors and helps them ramp up their institutional knowledge of hybrids.

Maybe this will allow them to put hybrids in a wider cross-section of vehicles, allowing the supply chain to grow and gain efficiencies, resulting in cheaper hybrids across the scales.

I agree, it would be nice if they'd result in a larger MPG gain, but something is better than nothing.

Mikhail Capone


Something is better than nothing, unless that something just pushes even farther back the development of something that is actually desirable.

James White

Some of the world's most advanced electric motors for hybrid cars are made in the US and exist today. Check out Unique Mobility, Inc.'s 100 HP, 90%+ efficient electric motor with regenerative braking, and integral differential.
General Motors (or anyone else) could make a very efficient plug-in "series" hybrid by powering the UQM motor with 18 each VLE 22-42 Lithium-ion batteries by Saft (, and use a 38% efficient 50 HP Hatz 4W35T diesel (biodiesel?) engine to a generator to power the UQM motor and Li-Ion batteries after it has traveled 60+ miles as an all-electric, grid-charged vehicle.
I wish they would, but I don't think the Big 3 will touch this concept because it does not use their large power-hungry engines. Engines are their primary value-added component that distinguishes a Ford from a GM.

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