Report: Toyota Considering 8th Assembly Plant In China, Bringing Local Output to 1M Units
Japan Autoparts Maker to Commercialize Process for Fabricating Gears, Bolts From Scrap Wood

GMC to Introduce New Hybrid Pickup Concept and Production Sierra Hybrid Pickup at Chicago Auto Show

The Denali XT.

GMC will introduce a new hybrid sport-utility truck concept—the Denali XT—at the upcoming 2008 Chicago Auto Show, 6-17 February 2008. GM will also announce the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid, another application of the two-mode hybrid system.

The Denali XT is based on a unibody architecture rather than body-on-frame construction and combines GM’s rear wheel drive two-mode hybrid transmission with a downsized E85-capable version of GM’s small block V-8.

The new direct-injection 4.9L V-8 engine in the Denali XT also features Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), and delivers an estimated 326 hp (243 kW). This is GM’s first pairing of the rear-wheel drive two-mode hybrid transmission with a smaller-displacement version of the small-block, and also the first pairing of the transmission with an E85-capable engine.

GM estimates that the Denali XT offers a 50% increase in combined fuel economy over comparable small pickup trucks when running on gasoline.

Design and construction of the Denali XT were spearheaded by Holden Design, within the Australian arm of GM’s global design and engineering network.

In city driving, all-electric propulsion is used at low speeds; on the highway, fixed-gear operation enables efficient performance even when towing a trailer. The Denali XT has an estimated payload capacity of 1,100 pounds (499 kg) and a towing capacity of an estimated 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg).

GM says that it also used the work on the Denali XT to evolve the combination of the small-block V-8 and two-mode hybrid powertrain beyond the current production models. During this optimization process, GM says, additional powertrain technologies have been integrated, including Active Thermal Management, which transfers thermal energy from one driveline component to another to improve efficiency; and a high-efficiency axle configuration, which fundamentally reduces the losses normally associated with conventional axle configurations.

The 2002 Terra4.

GMC’s last hybrid concept pickup truck was the 2002 Terra4, introduced in 2001. The Terra4 provides an interesting historical contrast. Larger than the Denali XT (the Terra4 had a wheelbase of 136 inches, compared to the Denali’s 123.4 inches), the concept vehicle combined a 285 hp, 5.3-liter VORTEC V-8 gasoline engine and 4.8kW motor/generator integrated between the gasoline engine and the transmission. The Terra4 offered microhybrid functionality (start/stop, regenerative braking), and an approximate 15% increase in fuel economy.

(This was the concept debut of the start/stop hybrid system that would later briefly appear in production GM pickups in 2004.)

The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid.

The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid. The new 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid, another application of the two-mode hybrid system, achieves 40% greater city fuel economy and a 25% improvement in overall fuel economy while supporting a 6,100-pound (2,767 kg) towing capacity, including in all-electric drive mode.

GM also offers a two-mode hybrid version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

The two-mode hybrid system is paired with a 6.0L gasoline V-8 and 300V NiMH battery pack, and offers all-electric driving up to 30 mph (48 km/h). The engine features Active Fuel Management (AFM) and late intake valve closing (LIVC) technology. GM’s hybrid technology system not only enables the Sierra to launch and drive up to 30 mph on electricity alone, it also allows the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine to operate in its more economical V-4 mode for longer periods.

An electrically driven 300-volt air conditioning compressor reduces vibration and allows the standard, tri-zone HVAC system to cool the passenger compartment even when the gasoline engine is shut off.

Electrically driven 42-volt variable-assist power steering reduces vibration and provides up to a 0.5-mpg fuel economy improvement by reducing parasitic losses common in belt-driven hydraulic systems.

The internal cooling fan for the Energy Storage System (ESS) is tuned to be quiet at low vehicle speeds when the fan could more easily be heard by the occupants.

The Sierra Hybrid goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2008 and is based on the Sierra platform that was introduced for the 2007 model year. It will be offered in the Crew Cab body style on both 2WD and 4WD models.


Stan Peterson

Hybrid technology is being further refined and is now spreading. The 2-mode hybrid is a fine technical advance. And it's use is spreading, driving down the cost of componentry as mass manufacturing volume builds.

It is inevitable that body-on-frame for light trucks is yesterday's technology. I wonder what the XT weighs in comparison to a body-on-frame equivalent. It is also nice to see the all advanced engine technology migrate down into the sub-300 cubic inch engines. The specific output is pretty high too. Obtaining 326 HP from 298 cubic engines is indicative of superior design.

Multifuel capability, Direct Injection, Atkinson cycle, cylinder deactivation, all electric subsystems including HVAC and electric power steering, thermal mangement(?), and advanced axle technology(?), have been incorporated. The number of advanced technologies not yet present is small, essentially only HCCI, turbocharging, and PHEV, but it appears that these will come too, amid more downsizing.

Progress isn't it wonderful? Doesn't it feel better to appreciate true progress, than just cynically criticizing everybody.,and insist the World is going to hell in a handbasket.

I would still like to see an apology from the cynics that say the automakers would never actually deliver any of these improvments.

Rafael Seidl

It may be a fancy dual-mode hybrid and all but it's still got a gasoline 4.9L V8. And yet they still only get a measly 326hp from that big heffalump. This kind of truck really ought to come with a clean diesel option, e.g. 3-3.5L V6 with dual turbos (cp. BMW 535d) plus a simple stop-start system.

Also, the aerodynamics of an empty truck bed and closed tailgate are pretty atrocious at highway speeds. If you're going to make fuel economy claims, at least cover it up.


You have to understand Rafael that when GM comes to the global design competition.....they arrive in a short yellow bus.


You know, Rafael, you are usually the voice of reason on this site, but it does sound like you are a little grumpy today.

When did 326 HP in a 4.9 liter truck engine become measly, by the way? The Toyota 4.7 produces 271 HP, the Dodge 4.7 produces 310, and the Ford 4.6 produces 248.

A lot of people found fault in GM for using the 6.0 in the current 2-mode system. So, GM introduces an engine that produces nearly identical power as the 6.0 (326 vs. 332) from over over 18% less displacement. Isn't that another step in the right direction?

Seriously, how can you make an educated comment on the aerodynamics of this vehicle from the information provided? That 4ft bed with its high bed rails is unlikely to be as much of a handicap as you are suggesting.


With proper gearing there is no reason a pickup truck needs more than 100 hp.

Certainly not a hybrid.


I cant understand why Raphael isn't seeing the funny side especially in light the previous post.
You'd think that we in Aus would be jumping with joy at this design. Not so.
I insist that those hubcaps couldn't possibly be one of ours.
Seriously though, Sports utility sums up my criticism. something is wrong when the payload is only 500KG's. Towing to 1,600KG's seems a little light for such a large 326(HP) engine.
Without an all up weight mentioned, I would not be too hard in this dept.
Maybe there are cargo weight penalties associated with the hybrid, batteries or ? or a concentration on soft suspension.
This is where the serious utility people commenting have something to say. If the manufactures were a bit more serious about real savings and the real needs, they might find that it's the paint job, not the length of the burnout that matters.
Let the kids put their own boosters if they need it. Ford 100-250's Diesels with LPG economisers have useful fuel efficiencies and power boost capability.

On the bright side, lots of goodies in both these versions will tempt the local specialty market.
GM and Ford are a rather uncommon here, compared with the smaller Euros and Japanese 4wd's. Although its surprising how obese these are becoming lately.


It only goes up to 30 mph in electric mode. Aside from the fact the it is a big heavy impractical truck, I would want something like 45+ mph in electric mode. GM will either get with the program or lose more money. The first Sierra was not at all a hybrid, just start/stop. The BAS in not really a hybrid either, in my view.

This seems to be the proverbial horse by committee. They have dual mode from the Tahoe, so why not try selling it to the towing crowd. Some market research must have told them this would sell well enough, but not in large numbers. Someone once asked me how they could call the first Sierra a hybrid and my quick response was that there was no consumer product standard for the word hybrid.


One more vehicle that shouldn't be put on the road, no more truck on the road, there is enough of this vehicle that need to do on war for more oil. Such a vehicle shouldn't be on this site because it has nothing to do with sustainabilty. We want less truck on this site and more vehicle like Aptera and Venture vehicle, or Naro concepy.

Thank you green car congress for talking more about truck than ultra fuel efficient vehicle

hampden wireless

The Toyota Abat is a much better concept that this one.

I am still yearning for a vehicle that can haul 4x8 building materials and get over 30mpg. The hybrid highlander comes close. It would not be hard to make a tall wagon out of the Camry or the mechanics of the Escape hybrid. Something with 4 cyl and full hybrid should be able to get closer to 35mpg with good acceleration (unloaded).

Maybe someone will make it by 2012?


Will the purchase sticker noted how much electro magnetic frequency (EMF) the electric motor emits. Consumers need this data for healthcare reasons.

Lou Grinzo

Treehugger: One thing to keep in mind is that not all trucks on US roads are there simply because the owners like them. There are some people, like my brother-in-law who runs a construction firm, who simply must use large, relatively fuel inefficient vehicles. There's no other way to run his business and do things like build businesses and churches, renovate schools, etc.

This is one of my main gripes with how we all talk about transportation: There's almost no effort, from US gov't statistics to sales figures to online discussions, to distinguish between trucks that could very easily be replaced with cars (and often small ones, at that), and those which could not.


With over 1 million large F150, Sierra, Silverado and Dodge Ram pickup trucks sold each year, I doubt that they are all used for construction. In the Inland Empire of Southern California, they are very common. People buy them so that the they can tow a boat or a horse trailer a few days a year. Unfortunately many of them are used to commute 100 miles each day and to get a few bags of groceries as well. People buy them because the prices start at under $20k but are often purchased at prices over $30k.



in less than a second, I can make the distinction between a pick that is used by professional (like you, and whom I undersand the concern) and and a pick up that is just owned fo the fun of it (which I fail to understand. I can tell you that most of pick up have never seen anything in their rear platform. I understand that for professionnal like you such a truck is a working tool, but the buying of such tool should only be allowed for such purpose. When I see people like my brother in law buying pick up to carry their dog, I think that just irresponsible behavior, and wasteful habit, period.


Stan Peterson

If you expect us to applaud at the pathetic insane truck production of GM you are just loosing your time, I will applaud at GM when they will have a single car that get better than 40MPG and that people can buy fof less than 25K just like Honda and Toyota do. Right ? before that you can please yourself with the truckss of GM, you can also kiss Bush. A.. that's your problem, and I think you have nothing to do on this site.


I only wonder how long it takes GM to make a properly sized 2-Mode Transmission, which can fit a normal car, instead of these behemoths who' s time has already run out.

Regarding the unibody design - there are SUVs around for at least 25 years; It actually surprised me that GM would still use such a design for SUVs. It might have some benefits for real off-road / military applications, but for cars used mostly to commute (in the us)???

Regarding the decent sized 2-Mode: I have a strong feeling, that GM doesn't want to end up getting compared with a HSD setup, after they boasted upfront about the 2mode getting that much better fuel economy, but now there is no vehicle (same class, weight, aerodynamics, engine power) to really compete with any of the 10+ year old toyota design...


I think so many people on this site are in such a rush to bash GM that they don't even take the time to read the articles.

This is not the huge, honkin', full-size truck (which many people admittedly do not need) that many of you are making it out to be. This is the next generation of their SMALL truck. By length and wheelbase, this is within a few inches of the current Colorado Crew Cab - the most likely vehicle this would replace.

GM very clearly states that it, "offers a 50% increase in combined fuel economy over comparable small pickup trucks when running on gasoline"

If you were to use the worst ratings for the Colorado (the 4wd Crew Cab with the largest engine), which has a combined rating of 19mpg, we are talking about a combined rating of over 28mpg for a 5 passenger utility vehicle.

I don't think GM is suggesting that this is what we'll wind up with in 20 years. I think they are trying to target the next 5 years first. Too many of you are getting fixated on the displacement of the engine and jumping to conclusions. 28 mpg would be a nice bump from the limited choices we have now.


thank you angelo that is refreshing
btw most colorado's will struggle to get 19mpg combined. mine did before being tuned and it is the small 4cyl regular cab. now i get 21 and that is on the very high end of what i've seen for these trucks.
honestly i wonder what the gm engineers are doing so poorly designing their engines. they could get away with downsizing if they were more effective.


@Stan Peterson Kudos on not replying in kind to Treehugger's personal attacks

@Treehugger Namecalling and personal attacks will do nothing to further your arguements. Stan could have just as easily said that you kiss GORE's ample behind. To state that anyone has no place on this site is totally out of line.


We should be able to agree that those that have a NEED for a large pickup truck should be able to buy one. Those that do not have a NEED should not be able to buy one.

If we can not agree on that, then there is not all that much to talk about. No one has the right to be wasteful and harm others. When people buy large pickup trucks and have no need for them, they are using more fuel than they should, polluting the air more, congesting the roads and parking lots and just plain being wasteful and selfish. No one has that right when it harms others.



We have bicycles, so let's ban cars altogether except for those who actually NEED them.

These kind of discussions are rather pointless, or plain impossible. Where to draw the line?

Let's say we have two neighbours: John and Jake. John drives a large pickup for fun. He drives drives 5000 km/year and never sees the inside of a plane.

Jake owns a Prius and drives 60 000 km/year and spends at least three holidays/year on another continent.

Kinda difficult to say to John: you're polluting the environment, we're banning your truck.


SJC - Actually, they do have the right to be selfish and wasteful. If they didn't, laws would be passed to proibit it. The fact is, I can walk into a dealer and purchase the truck I want, and there is nothing to stop me. At what point do you consider it waste? I am pretty sure that I wouldn't need to approve my use of the truck with you if I perceived the need to purchase it.



I recognize (but don't apologize) that I have been quite agressive with Stan Peterson, but all his contributions on this site are nothing else than provocation against those who defend changes towards sustainability, not mentionning his consitancy in denying global warmming in the most cynical and provocative way.

Mike do you think that with such simplistic and naive reazonning we can achieve sustainability in transportation ? the market does everything well right ? well i would probably if there were a gaz tax to fairly reflect the cost of the dammage to the environnemnent as well a as the depletion of non renewable resources (not mentionning the cost of wars for oil) for all the miles we drive. And talking about consumer choice now : why there only 2 cars on the market (and from only 2 cars makers) that get more than 40 MPG ? is that real consumer choice ? I don't think so.


Well said sjc.

- I think extremely strict fuel economy standards for trucks which drives up the price (eg. necessitates diesel or a simple parallel hybrid) would be a good idea.
- For the business users in construction a diesel or parallel hybrid would be robust enough, with the diesel excelling in highway driving and towing and the parallel hybrid boosting city economy, providing low speed electric drive and power to run tools.
- The economics would be favourable to a commercial user putting on high mileage, and the buyers who get the trucks for personal use would have to pay the premium for efficiency without the economic benefit unless they drive a lot (how many casual truck buyers would still get that Silverado if they had no choice but hybrid or diesel, given a $3000+ price premium?)
- This only leaves out lower annual mileage business users, but often in these cases they are wasteful in a different way buying non-commercial trucks to be in throwaway condition in 3-5 years when a similar weight commercial truck with a higher GVW should've been doing the work, and would've lasted 7-9 years easily.
- Often these are the buyers using eg. a gas powered 3/4 ton to do the job a Class 4-5 cabover of equal curb weight should've been doing. This will help reduce the sacrificial usage of inefficient light pickup trucks for far too much work. Other landscaping businesses in my area are terrible for this.

I'd like some critical commentary on this line of thinking or examples of a commercial niche needing a pickup truck's specific capabilities yet annual driving low enough for a more expensive yet more efficient engine to be punitive.

Soon I believe fuel prices will make more efficient trucks favourable for businesses anyways, and I'd like to see the "casual" truck buyers at minimum have to suck it up and pay for a truck nearly as efficient as a car.

I could see Ford's SuperDuty advancing in this way to circumvent the need for the Navistar diesel (would they really build a 6-7L turbodiesel in house?), coupling the new 4.4L turbodiesel with a parallel hybrid ala Eaton. The combined power/torque output of a smaller diesel + electric motor would be similar to existing larger displacement diesel drivetrains while limiting the stress on the smaller engine.


@ Treehugger:

Unfortunately those 40+ mpg cars have low profits per car, and until recently low volumes. It is much easier to fund your R&D budget from SUVs with a $5000 profit margin instead of small cars making the company less than $1000, especially when people will buy them up in similar volumes. That is a reflection of the 'consumer choice' made by the masses - still opting for a V6 where a 4-cyl would work, V8 instead of a V6 etc. This concept put forth by GM is a reflection of changes in volume consumer behaviour and desire now occurring. Consumer choice won't be available in the US market until a lot of them have got a compelling reason to choose something other than the 'norm'. That seems to have to be due to a price signal, whether a gas/carbon tax or rising prices due to falling net exports of oil, and even then people in Norway & the UK paying 3x what Americans pay still drive plenty enough gas guzzlers.


We should be able to agree that those that have a NEED for a large pickup truck should be able to buy one. Those that do not have a NEED should not be able to buy one.

In America, no, we cannot agree on that. We can perhaps agree that those who do harm should be required to pay the costs of that harm, but that's about it.

The comments to this entry are closed.