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Report: GM Fast-Tracking Plug-in Hybrids

Bloomberg reports that General Motors is fast-tracking development of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in response to Toyota’s success with hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles.

The plug-in, according to anonymous GM officials cited by the report, would have an effective fuel economy of more than 60 mpg—somewhat better than the Prius’s combined EPA rating of 55 mpg.

The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the Detroit auto show in January [2007], the people said. Any commercial production is at least a year away, they said. The people declined to say how much the company is investing.

...The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year.

The GM Saab flex-fuel E100 hybrid introduced at the Stockholm Motor Show (earlier post) is rumored to have light plug-in capability.

GM’s mild-hybrid Saturn VUE goes on sale this year, and its forthcoming two-mode hybrid SUVs in 2007.

Toyota is seen as working on a next-generation Prius that will deliver about 100 mpg and may likely be a plug-in. (Earlier post.)

Comments

Adam

I think GM could be the most profitable, economical, and efficient manufacturer in the world, with 100 mpg for every car, and some sarcastic dribble diarrhea would continue to seep from the mouths of those who think they know best.

They're obviously making some sort of concerted effort with their new SUVS getting best in class mileage - while still hauling and towing more than just about anything else available to the average consumer. GM has a 400hp sports car that delivers 28mpg highway, a good selling subcompact, AFM on tons of models, E85 on tons of models, hybrid full-size SUVS, at least three mild hybrids, etc.

Your beef is with the consumer who buys the product, not GM. It's a business for Christ's sake. Their products are obviously good enough for, oh, a million or so people to buy each year. Go crucify someone else.

Now, as far as PIHEVs go, this is great news, even if the charge lasts just 25 miles. I'd never buy gasoline except for when I went out of town.

Joseph Willemssen

I think GM could be the most profitable, economical, and efficient manufacturer in the world, with 100 mpg for every car, and some sarcastic dribble diarrhea would continue to seep from the mouths of those who think they know best.

Well, you'll never get to test that theory, since GM will never become anything close to that fantasy of yours.

My bet is GM could sign Satan himself on as CEO and make cars out of dead puppies, and people like yourself would still come here and cheer for them.

Scott

I think some of reaction here can be chalked up to what peoples expectations are for the mileage of a Plug in Hybrid. Toyota had let it slip (true or not) that the next Prius will be a Plug in and is shooting for an average 100mpg with it.

So here comes GM with their fast tracked Plug in Hybrid rumor and they're shooting for 60mpg with it - which I have been able to do with an old Honda Insight for 4 or 5 years now.

Now, maybe, GM is talking about a plug in Hummer H3 that gets 60mpg or some other huge heavy SUV - that would be technically impressive (if not socially dissapointing) but they didn't give that kind of detail. Just say Plug In Hybrid (like they did) and alot of people are going to assume this is going to be the best that they can do (mid to small car). This would also seem to reinforce the notion that GM doesn't get where things are going to be in a couple of years and/or they are technically incompetent. Based on their previous management decisions and plans both are almost expected. JMHO...

Micah

thanks BJ. I know that formula but GM had to plug in some assumptions for the % battery & % ICE. Did they assume 90% electric or 10% electric to get to 60 MPG. See what I mean. GM needs to explain the formula or standard assumptions need to be used for apples to apples comparisons.

Neil

I love the idea of battery options. I only need to go 5K on battery for 90% of my trips ... I don't need a huge battery to avoid most of my gas purchases. But it would be nice to upgrade in the future if/when my driving habits change. It would also be nice if the battery(s) were easily accessable so that they could be swapped, or charged inside (I'm strong). If GM makes one I'll look at it.

Dursun

"according to anonymous GM officials"
Desperate Vaporware from GM.

Adam H.

Thanks for spilling some more of that fantastic dribble, Joseph. Grab a napkin, there's a little on your chin yet.

Let's bring this right out front. Remind me, please, why GM is in the crosshairs?

Max Reid

Vue-Hybrid which will retain existing powertrain and costs just 2K more than regular-Vue is a good attempt, lets see how it is progressing.

If it does well, then they should go for plugin with just 5-10 mile range or they should give 2 options 5 mile or 10 miles.

Also I hope they install the 6-speed tranny in Vue (both Hybrid & Regular) to boost mileage.

Joseph Willemssen

Thanks for spilling some more of that fantastic dribble, Joseph. Grab a napkin, there's a little on your chin yet.

Going for the gutter, Adam? The term one usually uses is "drivel". Might want to check on that. Gonna call me a "doodoohead" next?

Let's bring this right out front. Remind me, please, why GM is in the crosshairs?

What crosshairs? You're the one whining about them being under siege and underappreciated.

Max Reid

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060623/ap_on_re_us/brf_hybrid_taxis

More Hybrid Taxis for New York City. Hope Vue-Hybrid also gets shot at it.

Charles S

Now, as far as PIHEVs go, this is great news, even if the charge lasts just 25 miles. I'd never buy gasoline except for when I went out of town.


I have the same thought before, but there is something about PIHEVs that some may not think about... you HAVE to run your gasoline engine once in awhile; both to use up old gas, and to keep the engine in working order.

You can bypass the old gas issue with fuel additives, but who knows what emissions will result from it? If the gas engine is going to be used only a few times a year for long trips, then I think it'd be better if people just buy an EV for the city, and rent for the trips.

On the flip side, the same can be said about charging batteries when PIHEV is used during a long trip. Since Batteries are best kept fully charged, until hotels provides charging, the batteries either have to run depleted, or the gasoline engine have to recharge all the batteries, and then the driver will have to notify the software that it won't get charged for awhile, and the vehilce like a normal hybrid. Now, I'm sure all that will be taken care of when production model comes out. However, PIHEVs will require a little more minding from the driver.

Neil

I certainly hope they are planning to do plug-in/plug-out I could get rid of my generator.

BrianB

It would be nice if GM would go with a series hybrid. Although it would be too easy to discard the ICE. It would set them up for their promised full cell, however. To bad it's tough to have vision when you are so focused on the bottom line.

tom deplume

Considering that electric motors are 90% efficient at converting electricity to horsepower and gas engines are under 30% efficient at converting gasoline into horsepower then a gallon of gas equals about 10 kwh. At 10 cents/kwh that works out to $1/gal of electricity.
As we use more and more electricity in cars and less and less gas what will replace the lost gas tax revenue? This will be an even bigger political problem in Europe than the US.

Mark R. W. Jr.

Hmm, it sounds promising. Maybe GM is finally getting its act together.

But to quote someone else, I'll believe when I see it.

allen zheng

40 comments, yikes.

An Engineer

Factoids:
GM PHEV: >55 mpg
Toyota PHEV: 100 mpg

Conceded, we don't know if this is apples to apples. But based on those numbers, I am not buying any GM stock just now.

As the man said, it's a business. And as a business GM is not doing too well...

Stan Peterson

Vaporware it my be, but even vaporware espusers end up biilding pressure for the vaporware. But Dr Andrew Fank's baby is being accepted everywhere. He certainly deserves some public ballyhoo. How about a presidential citatuion? or a Nobel prize?

Now if only we could drive a stake through the heart of the proven perpetual vaporware from that charleton Amory Lovins. Mre impoverished people have died from his uninformed and cruelly wrong prognostications than from any other dopey philosopher...

Roger Pham

It does not matter when GM will release the PHEV, or how many unit will be available, just the fact that GM is working on this will raise GM's standing in the public eye. From public's sympathy will come stronger sale potential for vehicles all across the lineup. Same strategy that Toyota and Honda have done to boost their public image. Let's just hope that GM won't ship any more jobs overseas, while Toyota, Honda etc. are building more factories in the US.

jpadula

Just got the word today,since we moved, But Danny S. a friend in the National Guard was injured in Afganistan and has been in a coma since. He has been transfered from Walter Reed to florida. It does not look good.
Keep this in mind when you are supporting bad automotive engineering that affects national policy. Neocons and liberals agree, stop oil consumption and starve a terrorist.

hampden wireless

Nothing here to see... Move along...

Simply put there are no facts yet.

We will have to wait till the auto show to see.

Toyota is gonna have the first plug in available, through third parties you could say they already do.

Harrakan

You guy are pathetic, we all know that Loremo EV might have above 280mpg and you gibber here about some GM SUV plugin crap with 60mpg..

Jasonv8z

The $ savings will be less than you think for plug in technology. Even though you save at the pump, you'll have to pay the electricity company to recharge your vehicle when you plug it in. With average electricity price at $0.12/kwh and your car using ~20kw/h at highway speeds, (a rough guess which is about 27 horsepower) 20 x .12 = $2.40/hour of highway use say 65 miles.

Basically, your're paying the electricity company $2/gallon of gas assuming your car gets around 50mpg otherwise. Pretty good, but then you figure in the extra wear and tear on the batteries, the advantage is nil. Diesels look more promising from a cost standpoint.

Thomas Pedersen

Status: SUVs are getting less than 20 mpg in average.

Future: GM SUV (maybe) with 60 mpg (maybe).

Great news!!! (Maybe...) No matter how many gen. 3 Priusses with superior mpg are sold there will still be people who are dead set on buying SUVs, and for that reason trippling the gas mileage of such vehicles can only be good.

Sure, you can already buy dog house sized cars that get better gas mileage but any car that gets significantly better than its predecessor or other similar vehicles is a step in the right direction.

Thomas - who prefers Toyota over GM.

Bike Commuter Dude

Toyota = Lip service to greenies.
Toyota = gas guzzlers for the masses

a)This is true for every automaker/politition I can think of. b)Self Righteousness aside, despite the fact that you all are bombarding venom all over the auto industry, you all own and operate a car. c)I don't believe Honda's CAFE is higher than Toyota's. Even with the Pilot/Ridgeline & Element/CRV, millions of motorcycles and Civics should more than offset that, I would think...

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