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GM Debuts Buick LaCrosse Hybrid at Auto China; Will Bring Escalade 2-Mode to China in 2009

The Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid.

The Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid (earlier post), is making its auto show debut at the 2008 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China Beijing). Introduced by Shanghai GM in January, the LaCrosse uses the GM Hybrid System (a mild-hybrid, belt-alternator-starter system) to deliver a 15% improvement in fuel consumption: 8.3 L/100km (28.3 mpg US), compared with 9.8 L/100km (24 mpg US) for the non-hybrid version.

GM also introduced the Cadillac Escalade 2-Mode Hybrid for the first time in China at the event. The company plans to begin sales of the 2-Mode luxury full-size SUV there in 2009.

The LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid represents the first application of the GM Hybrid System in Asia Pacific and will be available in China before the opening of the Beijing Olympics this summer.

The hybrid is powered by GM’s Ecotec D-VVT 2.4-liter all-aluminum engine. Hybrid functions include start-top; early fuel shut off during deceleration; regenerative braking; and intelligent battery charging.

At the show, Joseph Liu, GM China’s vice president for sales, said that the company did not expect to see a very high volume of sales of the hybrid model in a short period of time. “But we bring this technology to help China support sustainable growth and bring consumers in that direction,” he said.

Escalade 2-Mode. Fitted out with a 2-Mode powertrain similar to that in the Tahoe and Yukon, the Escalade hybrid can achieve a 50% reduction in fuel consumption in city driving when compared to non-hybrid Escalade models.

The powertrain combines a 6.0-liter V-8 featuring late-intake valve closing (LIVC) technology to enable a modified Atkinson-cycle combustion process and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) with the 2-Mode advanced electrically variable transmission (EVT) and 300-volt NiMH Energy Storage System (ESS).

The EVT is an assemblage of two 60 kW electric motors, three planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet clutches. This arrangement allows continuously variable operation, as well as providing four fixed gear ratios (with operation comparable to that of a standard electronically controlled automatic transmission). (Earlier post.)

A Hybrid Optimizing System (HOS) constantly receives torque-based data from the powertrain and other vehicle systems, and then determines the most efficient means of propelling the vehicle—either via electric power, gasoline engine power or a combination of the two. The EVT is like having two transmissions in one—continuously variable drive for light-load conditions and fixed-ratio drive for high-load situations.

All functions of the EVT are controlled by the HOS, which constantly searches for the optimal transmission operation (using either variable or fixed ratios) to meet current operating conditions.

AFM enables the V-8 engine to seamlessly shut off half of its cylinders when less power is needed, such as during highway cruising.  This new hybrid system not only enables the Escalade Hybrid to drive low speeds on electricity alone, it also allows the 6.0-liter V-8 engine to operate in its more economical four-cylinder mode for longer periods.

The HOS also bases its decisions on allowing the Vortec 6.0L V-8 to take full advantage of its Active Fuel Management system and, because of an equivalent 30-horsepower (22 kW) boost of electric power, remain in V-4 mode as long as possible for maximum fuel economy.

The 2-Mode hybrid features a new exhaust system and resonator specially tuned for the 6.0-liter LIVC engine’s Active Fuel Management operation to ensure comfortable interior acoustics and a pleasant exhaust note during both V-4 and V-8 operation.

An electrically driven, 300-volt air conditioning compressor reduces vibration and allows the HVAC system to cool the passenger compartment even when the gasoline engine is shut off. It includes a standard tri-zone climate system. (The Escalade seats 8 passengers.)

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 Energy Storage System cooling system’s internal fan is tuned to be quiet at low vehicle speeds, when the fan could more easily be heard by the occupants.



i don't understand, a simple audi A4 with 160 HP needs just 7,3l / 100km

and this "eco optimized" modell needs 1 more liter?


These would have been great cars to market about ten years ago. The market is ready for a paradigm shift (Volt?), not incremental improvements.


hopefully they won't sell a single Escalade, hybrid or otherwise. these 3-ton gas-guzzling environmental disasters belong on the scrapheap of history.


A 4.3 gallon increase in the Buick LaCrosse Hybrid over the conventional model. Wow, where do I get one!!!!!!!

What are they thinking? Who is driving the bus?


@itsme: a more complex Audi A4, the 3.0 TDI quattro, does even better at 6.9l/100km (34.0 mpg US combined). And does 0-60 in 6.1 secs!


It is understandable what GM has in mind, new rich people in china will buy a mercedes or a BMW not thus crapy piece of inefficient dinosaur


It only needs the mismanagement of GM to conclude that you need a 6.0 liters engine to power a car.

God bless america and GM...

Harvey D

Wonder how long will Chinese gulp those so called hybrids.


GM sells a lot of Buick automobiles in China. They sell them to those that can afford them, not the 800 million subsistence farmers that live in the country. As a former leader of China once said "it is glorious to be wealthy".


Buicks are huge in China! Maybe the equivalent to a Mercedes in the States.

Why all the hate for the Escalade? It's not like everyone uses their cars to go back and forth to work. I'll take my H1 Hummer to go hunting not a Volt.


It is kind of funny, but sjc and Jim are right, Buick is very popular in China as an upgrade from the usual cars from Japan and their domestic Chinese companies. If you go to a nice, high end locals restaurant in Beijing or Kunming, most of the cars will be Buicks. And 28.3 mpg is not bad, that means an average driver with 12,000 miles to cover in a year will only need 425 gallons, rather than 500 gallons at 24 mpg. Even a Prius uses around 265 gallons a year and the Lacrosse is a nicer, roomier car with 4 wheel disc brakes, (no rear drum brakes) and a lot more room, plus it is a lot more reliable than the chinese cars. Buicks may seem boring, but keeping the models for longer lets Buick improve their reliability.



Why all the hate for the Escalade? Because it's a social crime? Because it has no reason to exist other than to prop up the ego of its owner? Because it's a pimped-out Suburban in Caddy drag that screams "I'm a fool!" to anyone who knows anything about cars? If you have to ask that question, it kind of makes me wonder why you are bothering to read Green Car Congress.


@George:S0 only certain intellectual elites such as yourself are welcome to GCC? In order to make a true difference you need to entice people who are not on that lofty green plane in which you dwell. A reasonable exchange of ideas will convince a larger percentage of people of the utility and good sense of a greener life.
Singing to the choir is not a plan it is a holier than thou cult.Gcc is quoted amongst "the green community literature" because of the quality of the posters and the host allows thought and discourages aimless argument and invective.
P.S. forgive me for my snarky opening,I guess I should practice what I preach.

Tom Street

"Bringing sustainable growth to China" That's right, having an Escalade is the key to sustainable growth. Why didn't anyone think of this before. Problem solved. Good luck competing against the Chinese for whatever oil might be left in the future.


I understand where you're coming from but I don't think you're looking at this realistically. The Escalade will be around until it's socially out of vogue plus an additional 5-10 years for the existing units on the streets.

First the auto industry has to take steps to improve fuel economy and they're doing it. All I ever see around here is people pointing their finger at the auto industry and how they're not moving quick enough. Maybe we should all look in the mirror and point that finger. WE, let me say that again. WE didn't set the social climate to push for better fuel economy until it was too late and not everyone want's to lynch big auto and oil.

I do believe we should be working for more efficient vehicles and getting off of foreign energy supplies. With that said I know from R&D through release for large companies takes for ever and a day. No so much with them dragging their feet but more so on sell-ability and legal implications. How long would GM be around for if 40% or so of the Volts batteries exploded on it's occupants after 2 years of use.

I personally hate big fake SUVs and I think we're on the same side of the fence for two totally different reasons but none the less we're both on the same side of the fence.


"not everyone want's to lynch big auto and oil."

Should be:
"now everyone want's to lynch big auto and oil."

Gerald Shields

Oh joy. A 4 MPG increase over the non-hybrid.


If you guys all hate these GM product what do you drive. Personally I think the Prius is the Ugliest car on the planet. Also if were talking gas milage the Camary doesnt get any better milage than the Lacrosse and is nowhere near as good looking. Everyone wants to hate the domestics but they have much better style and have just as good gas milage not to mention better quality which goes unheard. Did you know 2 years ago Toyota recalled have the vehicles they made. Now Honda just called huge recalls. Ya, good quality right... But anyway if you want to show yourself in public or go anywhere in a Prius go ahead get a few laughs but dont say how outdated GM is because they have alot of vehicles that get over 30 mpg that are very stylish.


I drive a 1989 Ford Taurus SHO with a manual transmission that still gets 18 mpg around town and 26 mpg on the highway. A 2008 V6 Camry does not get much more than that.

I buy U.S. cars, because I like keeping the profits from the sales here in America. Lots of people are Toyota fans. It is not worth discussing this with them because they see things differently and no one is going to change their minds.

It is getting harder to support the U.S. car makers, because the management keeps making bad decisions or no decisions at all. The work force puts their faith in management and is let down many times. Management works for the shareholders and even they should be upset at the direction the companies are going.



I think the Prius is a master piece of design not mention the cd: 0,26 which is the best on the road now that they phased out the Honda Insight and the EV1.

In turns I really think that ameican car design are ugly and decadent, look at the the Camaro or the Dogde Charger, who can decently design such ugly stuff in the 21th century? not mentionning the Volt and its dispropotionate hood. Though I notice some progess in the recent Saturn product. Japanese cars can be ugly too but this is they arae design for the americam market. Japanese cars sold in europe have much more advanced design.

Dan A

Kyle: The Prius isn't the ugliest car on the plannet--the Yaris takes the top prize in that catigory. That car makes me want to vomit.

No matter what you say, American cars did absoutely suck until the last handfull of years. They really didn't have an incentive to make quality cars for a long time--many cars, especially small cars, were break even or a loss financially, and as Jim Cramer says they were "financing companies with nice truck divisions". Most (GM more than Ford, while Crysler has seemed to go backward) of them have really gotten their acts together and actually make some quality cars--most people just haven't realized it yet.

Funny side note--the '08 Accord has gotten so much bigger and heavier that it's now considered a full-sized sedan, not a midsize. The only car sold in the US, foreign or domestic, that the suceeding model was lighter than the former model was the '08 Mazda 2 in the last 20 years.


for all the complaining i think that you've missed the point:
people would have bought cars that used more gas. now they can buy cars that use less gas. if you consider a certain amount of demand inelastic, the goal becomes to make the segment more efficient. this is a step in the right direction.
wrt to the escalade, i don't think people should be allowed to buy them. but since they can and will, and our governments lack the spine to charge people based on their personal carbon emissions, they might as well buy a hybrid escalade instead of a regular one.
it all comes back to demand elasticity.


Dan A

I disagree on the Yaris which I think is one of the few good design you can buy in america. But anyway the trend to lighter has just started with Mazda (who design nice cars by the way) but will follow with Nissan who target 15% weight reduction in the decade to come. Asides I agree with you that the auto market has been very slow so far to respond to the increase of gas price that started almost 4 years ago. Only 2 cars on the market that get better than 40MPG and their are both 2004 models. The automakers are kind of kept by surprise because they probably thought that the increase in gas price was temporary, now they start to realize that is not and there is no real alternative such as hydrogen or even electric car on the short / medium term, so they ae back to weight reduction, drag reduction, smaller engine etc...

Harvey D

One could say that most car makers take us for granted and produce bigger, heavier cars year after after year. Minor design changes and more power is to increase sales, specially to younger drivers.

Common sense size, weight, power, low fuel consumption cars will probably come from, China and India. Japanese and Korean car makers have been 'catering' to USA's desire for larger cars, VUS and pick-ups to increase their market share. With time they may change their attitude, otherwise, Chinese and Indian common sense vehicles with grab the market.


I tried to post a comment about high gasoline prices being here to stay and typepad blocked it as spam...WTF?

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