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GM to Produce Two-Mode Hybrid Transmission at Baltimore Plant

General Motors announced that it will produce the new light-duty two-mode hybrid transmission at its Baltimore Transmission plant. GM will invest up to $118 million in new manufacturing equipment, new tooling and facility upgrades for the plant.

Production of the transmissions begins next year and will initially be used in GM’s new full-size SUVs, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon (earlier post), which GM will assemble at its Arlington, Texas plant.

GM opened its Powertrain Baltimore Transmission facility in 2000, where it builds the Allison 1000 Series automatic transmission. About 100,000 square feet—approximately a quarter of the facility—will be dedicated to producing the two-mode hybrid transmission.

GM, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group are co-developing the light-duty two-mode technology, modeled on GM’s multi-patented hybrid-electric diesel technology in urban transit buses.

The collaborative effort is working on three basic configurations of the Advanced Hybrid System: AHS-T for trucks; AHS-R for rear-wheel drive cars; and AHS-C for luxury/comfort cars.

In GM’s SUVs, the two-mode hybrid system will be mated to a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 with Active Fuel Management (displacement on demand) for a fuel efficiency gain of at least 25%.

Two-mode hybrid technology uses a variable transmission with two 60kW electric motors coupled to two gearsets to support two hybrid modes of operation. (Earlier post.)

In the first mode, at low speed and light loads, the vehicle can operate in three ways: electric power only, engine power only or in any combination of engine and electric power. In this mode, one motor acts as a generator, while the other provides drive (motor) power.

The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds. In addition to electric assist, the second mode provides full eight-cylinder engine power when conditions demand it, such as when passing, pulling a trailer or climbing a steep grade. In this mode, In the second, both motors selectively operate in motoring or generating modes depending upon the vehicle speed.

The second mode also integrates Active Fuel Management, cam phasing, and late-intake valve closure for more efficient engine operation in addition to the electric support.



I'll try to remember not to buy one.



tom deplume

It looks like a copy of Toyota's Synergy Drive.


This is the sort of thing GM need to have in production. And now!

If their new stuff actually works that will help too. If it doesn't there will be no help.

They are running out of time.

Hampden Wireless

Seems like a good idea to me. Maybe I am biased, they are building the unit here where I live in Baltimore. The vehicles will probobly be too big for me to purchase as I dont want a large SUV but if in a mid sized car I might be interested. Dont boycot GM, just only buy thier true hybrid vehicles..... as of today that would be NONE.

When this comes out, it could save large amounts of gas, 25% savings in a big suv would save more gas then a Prius does.

Lance Funston

GM's strategy, which is sensible on one level is to put hybrids in the biggest vehicles first to save the most gas.

On another level, hybrid is still expensive enough to be an early adopter option so maybe put it on something that a LOHAS/Cultural Creative person will buy... i.e. a sensible sized SUV/ crossover... because they absolutely need that kind of vehicle.

The Saturn VUE was a good play. The Malibu... who knows. Already a very respectable car for gas mileage, but not exactly a LOHAS favorite.

The Yukon... Will the kind of person who wants to spend the money on behemoth like this really care about getting 19 mpg instead of 15 mpg if it costs them an extra $2500?

Put it on a Saab 93 or 95 and watch them fly out of the showrooms.

Adam H.

Arthur, how about a little substantiation of your worthless commentary.

Tom, it is most definately NOT a copy of Toyota's Synergy drive. The GM Hybrid is an entirely different approach. The difference is quite obvious. Spend a fraction of the time reading and learning as opposed to being so damn negative.

For being people of the progessive type, (I assume, since you are reading the GCC) I find both of your comments especially disturbing.

I applaud GM's efforts. Their full-size SUVS are now the class leaders in fuel efficiency by far, even before the hybrid comes on line.

Robert Schwartz

I am sure that whoever buys GM out of bankruptcy will appreciate this work. Look for it in the dictionary under "a day late and a dollar short."

Hampden Wireless

GM is not going to go bankrupt. GM does not even have negative cash flow currently. Yes, they are loosing $ on cars, but making $ on loans. GM will be in the black before Ford. If anyone is in danger its Ford. I dont love GM, in fact I hated GM for killing the EV1. But that is the past, and GM due to market forces is improving faster then Ford or Chysler.

Think about it for a bit... GM's large SUV's are now more efficient then Toyota, Nissan or Ford. The hybrid system will be put into many more vehicles then Ford did with the escape. Yes, it is too late but its really not too little.


Hasn't there been a lot of disappointment with GM's hybrid buses. I seem to remember that they promised a lot more fuel savings than they delivered. Hopefully, this version will be more successful.

GM lost the LOHAS market a long time ago so they probably don't have a choice but to play to what they consider their strength --monster trucks and SUVs.

No so fast on the theory that GM will now be able to be more efficient than Toyota. Let's see how these puppies actually work in the real world. And rest assured, if Toyota feels like they're being surpassed, they will respond in kind and kick ass.

This is the same old story. We, the people, both directly, and through our elected representatives, continue to choose the path of high oil consumption. And, of course, the auto companies have ensured that nothing significant happens to CAFE standards, much less gas taxes. But it's the old chicken and the egg problem. Do GM and others respond to the market or create the market. I suspect it's a little bit of both.



GM hybrid technologies are intentionally designed to limit their potential. The GM hybrids cannot evolve into Plug-in Hybrids. Plug-in Hybrids offer a portable power supply of batteries that would be invaluable in an emergency, power shortage or price gouging. The homeowner gets a lesson in household electricity consumption. Combined with rooftop photovoltiac solar panels, the homeowner or apartment dweller can sell excess power back to the grid. This homepower system inevitably leads to public power, which greedy Enron-esque energy corpoRAT executives oppose.

In addition, batteries lower a vehicle's center-of-gravity, improve handling and stability, and reduce accidental rollover, a perfect application for high-riding SUVs.

Don't buy a GM hybrid. They're crap! They're a ploy to make hybrids seem ineffective. The mileage potential of the Plug-in hybrid surpasses 500mpg*! GM is again employing planned obsolescence!

*the homeowner/apartment dweller with photovoltiac power supply paired with a plug-in hybrid gains an economic incentive to drive only the fewer miles that zero-emission battery power can supply. Thus building and patronizing local economies, eventually constructing regular destinations, institutions and amenities that are accessible without having to drive. Walking, bicycling and mass transit systems can finally disembowel the economically disabling, environmentally disastrous, socially alienating infestation of automobiles, the moronic maniacal motoring public, and the corporate control of the mad autocracy.

!! DIE GM, DIE !!

GM fuel cell prototypes are also a fraud !!

!! DIE GM, DIE !!

And take your lousy pResident Bush down with you !!


what is the problem with gm devoloping new technology and trying to sell it at the same time? for those of you who want gm to"die gm die" i hope you realize 100s of thousands of health care packages will die to

Joe P.

Off hand, it does not seem that our industries care for much more than the bottom line: Even if it costs the whole planet the ability to prosper. GM could not have made this more clear then when it killed the EV1. California needed a clean car to meet its new and strickter standards. GM had hit the mark, with the EV1,when it saw it needed to, but then chose the greedy green after the standards were removed. I doubt I will ever buy another GM car or truck. The company let me down, it's time to let them down. I wish them luck staying a float, they're going to need it.

As for GM workers, They can work for Toyota; I hear it is a much better managed company anyway.


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