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GM Will Showcase its New Production Hybrids at Detroit Show

Two-mode system for the 2008 Tahoe Hybrid. The first mode (1) is used for low speeds and light loads, while the second mode (2) is primarily used at highway speeds.

General Motors will feature six new models, including two production hybrids and two new concepts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that begins on Sunday.

GM will feature the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line mild Hybrid (earlier post), due to go on sale in mid-2006. The company will also preview the upcoming 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid featuring the first application of the two-mode full-hybrid system (earlier post) in an SUV.

The VUE mild hybrid uses GM’s Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) mild hybrid system which enables early fuel cutoff to the engine during deceleration and shuts off the engine at “idle”. Regenerative braking and optimized charging combined with an energy storage system further enhance fuel economy while maintaining all vehicle accessories and passenger comfort systems during the periods when the engine is temporarily shut off.

Early projections on the BAS systems indicate a range of improvement in fuel economy of around 10%–12%, which should take the VUE hybrid into the range of mid-to-upper 20s mpg US.

The two-mode system is under joint development by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW (the last two of which will likely make two-mode announcements at the Detroit show also).

The two-mode hybrid system is designed to optimize power and torque for different types of driving conditions.

The first mode provides fuel-saving capability in low-speed, stop-and-go driving with a combination of full electric propulsion and engine power. In the first mode, the vehicle can operate in three ways: electric power only, engine power only, or in any combination of engine and electric power.

The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds to optimize fuel economy, while providing full engine power when conditions demand it, such as trailer towing or climbing steep grades.

The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid will feature two 60-kW motors in the hybrid drivetrain, a 300-volt battery pack and a Vortec V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management (displacement on demand), cam phasing, late-intake valve closure and very high compression ratio. GM is estimating an improvement in fuel economy of 25%, thereby taking the Tahoe into the low- to mid-20s mpg US range.



Sad thing is they are not very good.
GM things its a shell game.
We put the name Hybrid on the back and you will buy it.
The Saturn Vue got a couple of mpg boost. DOH!
If it doesnt sell will they say say see, Americans dont want Hybrids.
How about we want good EV hybrids that can get 40 plus mpg.
Not Hybrids that go from 22 to 24mpg with a big sticker added on.
The Vue weighs next to nothing is GM and America that far behind
or is GM playing the Americans for fools?



I was just at the Indianapolis Auto Show yesterday, and they had a Silverado hybrid there. After I got home, I thought I would check it out on their website. What I find interesting is that they list the Hybrid as a specific configuration, with it's own starting price, etc. If you go into the section where you can build it, the hybrid technology is listed as a $1500 option. I found the site to be very, very confusing, the options very limiting and to top it off, I couldn't find the EPA mileage estimates for it anywhere.

I was also surfing the Honda and Ford sites looking at their hybrid offerings, and I don't understand their approach at all - maybe somebody can answer this for me: why can't hybrid just be an option (especially with GM's implementation)? Why is it that the hybrids aren't available in all of the colors the regular vehicles are, and the options are limited?

With the limited options they give you, they make it hard to really get excited about a hybrid - the base Accord sedan starts at $18,225 and the base Accord hybrid starts at $30,140 - people take one look at that and say "I'm not paying 12 grand for a hybrid." So, not only does it appear to be $12,000 more, but you can only choose from 4 colors. Why can't I get a more basic model in black and hybrid? For me personally, I can't find a hybrid that I like.

I'm a car guy who cares about Earth. I love cars, and car styling, and the 1950's car attitude - but I want to enjoy my car without the guilt, so I really dig the concept of hybrid technology (it's a step in the right direction). I'm your average Joe who doesn't understand all of the technical details, and just wants a good car that gets good mileage that I'm not embarrassed to be seen in. But they don't make anything for me. I guess I just don't understand the marketing and implementation of the whole thing.

On that note, are there any aftermarket companies that offer hybrid components for street rods? I think it would really be cool to be cruising around in a '32 Ford or shoebox Chevy that also happens to be hybrid...


Lance Funston

Right now in the limited quantities they are sold, tooling up for a hybrid is a special production run. Unfortunately autmakers such as Honda have decided to omit all sort of desirable options to make the lower end Honda Civic Hybrid desirable, such as the sun roof (aerodynamics) and folding seats (due to battery issue). With the Accord they went the other direction and loaded it up but very limited option packages. A 4 cyl hybrid would have been a killer on both mpg and mph, but not the direction they went.

The goal for all the car companies is to take the hybrid into the "option" realm. This is exactly GM's strategy with their mild hybrid systems. Make them affordable so average folks might add it on. Honda is claiming that they may soon do away with the normal Civic and make all Civics hybrids which would significantly drive down production costs.

As far as aftermarket, seems like the auto stop-start is very doable, but adding the motor for boost and regen, and setting the control systems to know when to turn motor on and off would be a prohibitively expensive customization for most folks.

Your average tuner might spend $5000 getting his Civic souped for speed (and shiny new rims), but forget most folks doing something like that for a couple extra mpg. One thing I would look at though, is electric supercharging... Boost up engine power and efficiency without putting drag on the exhaust system... Gives you a lot of bump when needed from a smaller engine.


Thanks for your thoughts, Lance. That makes a lot more sense when you think of the limited production perspective. At least it's going in a good direction, albeit slowly.

I like that electric supercharger idea...

Thank you,


Hybrid with 22-24 MPG? LOLz


Waiting for companies like GM to solve the problem is a recipe for disaster. All GM seems interested in is making a minimal response to what they perceive as a limited market segment and then move on. They want to be on the hybrid bandwagon without making any meaningful contributions to the technology or solving the problem. They just want to survive until the next quarter and pray that gas prices don't go up like they did after Katrina.

GM is not a player and is still a very strong candidate for bankruptcy this calendar year. Last time I checked, Bloomberg gives them about a 50% chance of declaring bankrupty this year. In addition, the discussion this morning on CNBC was whether or not they should be removed from the DOW.

Most of the action is at Honda and Toyota with a little bit of positive movement from Ford. Honda and Toyota are providing meaningful options for people who really want to significantly improve their gas mileage. Those buying from GM can presumably assuage their guilt by buying a truck which gets 22-24 EPA. Time will tell what it gets in the real world, but it will no doubt be less than EPA.

There are two basic problems. One is oil and the other is global warming. GM does little to address either of these problems. They still believe that trucks and SUVs will bail them out. In addition, the are laying off workers and reducing health care.

Basically, the auto companies won't fix these problems on their own. And, since our government won't do anything to meaningfully address these problems, either, we're basically screwed.



Maybe you can't have it all, but you can have a damn decent car in either a civic hybrid or a Prius. You apparently don't want to give up your 50 style performance. At this point, I think you have to make a choice.

I used to have a Porsche 911, but would never consider such a thing in this day and age. I realize I can't have the best of both worlds, so am choosing to support the earth with no regrets.

Given the situation we're in, my Prius fits the bill. In the future, it will probably get even better gas mileage and performance although it will probably never meet the needs of those who are seeking a pocket rocket. Nor should it.


t, if you have the extra resource, you can always consider fitting a CNG kit on your 911, that make it less evil to the earth, thou its still evil. Dont you think that honda civic hybrid is more stylish and practical then prius? I mean it has a boot and it can fit in 5 people confortably.

tom deplume

Don't knock the GM SUV plans so quickly. A 10% improvement in a vehicle that now gets 10 mpg will cut fuel consumption as much as a 30% improvement in a vehicle that now gets 30 mpg. It looks like GM is going to use the more efficient Atkinson cycle in their SUVs and large pickups in addition to electric add-ons.


The Prius is way more practical and stylish than the Honda. The hatchback is great for carrying long items that one could never carry in the Honda. Plus, I think the style is more interesting.

Sumyung Guy

Considering the fact that GM just recently crushed and shredded the only real alternative vehicle they ever made, the EV-1, I wouldn't believe a damn thing they have to say or buy a car from them.

Gas is over $3 a gallon now and it's probably gonna go to at least $4 in the US soon. If GM wants to still sell freakin' cars, they need to learn to make electric ones. Freakin' Silicon Valley startups operating on a fraction of the resources that GM has (had!) can make fully electric cars with over a 200 mile range. My freakin' beat-up 1998 Ford Escort can't go 200 miles on one tank of gas, why the heck wouldn't an electric car that can go 200 miles and has nanotech-based Lithium ion batteries that can be recharged in 15 minutes be good enough?

Answer: there's no reason it can't be. None. But it won't be GM or Ford or Chrysler who get the job done, it'll be someone else.

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