: GM entering the Hybrid game



Boombotz
02-07-06, 05:32 PM
General Motors Press Conferencehttp://fp.images.autos.msn.com/images/spacers/spacer.gifhttp://fp.images.autos.msn.com/images/spacers/spacer.gifDeclaring that “we’re in the hybrid game,” officials for General Motors Corp. unveiled two gasoline-electric hybrid SUVs.

The two SUVs will go on sale in the U.S. in each of the next two model years. And the giant automaker promised more hybrids “in every market segment” will come by the end of the decade, including a hybrid version of its Cadillac Escalade (http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/overview.aspx?year=2006&make=Cadillac&model=Escalade) by calendar 2008.

GM’s Tom Stephens, group vice president of powertrains, said consumers can expect a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy from the two initial hybrid vehicles—the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line and the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs—over comparable gas-only models.

The Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid will be in showrooms this summer with a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than $23,000. This is some $4,000 less than the current lowest-priced hybrid SUV, the 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid (http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/overview.aspx?year=2006&make=Ford&model=Escape%20Hybrid).

Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak estimated fuel economy of the Saturn Vue Green Line of 27 miles a gallon in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway, which compares with 22/27 mpg in a gas-only four-cylinder two-wheel-drive Vue with automatic transmission. The hybrid Vue has front-wheel drive only.

But the Saturn Vue Green Line system operates a bit differently than the Ford Escape Hybrid, as well as hybrids from Toyota (http://autos.msn.com/browse/Toyota.aspx?).

Different Hybrid Technology While the Vue uses an electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery pack to supplement a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower, the Vue cannot run beyond a few seconds solely on electric power. The Ford and Toyota Hybrids can run for extended periods on electric power.

Rather, the Vue’s hybrid system is designed to supplement the gas engine, via extra launch power as a driver starts up from a stop, as well as via additional power for passing maneuvers.

The Vue does save gas by turning off the gasoline engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, say at a stoplight. The engine starts automatically when the driver lets up on the brake pedal.

GM officials have called the Vue system a simpler hybrid technology than that of competitors like Toyota. As a result, the Vue system adds about $1,500 to the price of the vehicle vis-à-vis the $3,000-plus cost for the more complicated Hybrid Synergy System of Toyota, they said.

But consumers should note that there’s no gauge or information display in the Vue to tell drivers exactly what fuel mileage they’re getting. GM engineers said the Vue electronic architecture does not support that kind of calculation. Vue hybrid owners can calculate their mileage on their own after each gasoline fill-up, they said.

Full-Size Hybrid SUVs The second hybrid SUV from GM, the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe, has a more robust hybrid system that does allow the vehicle to operate solely on electric power, when possible.

When it debuts in about a year and a half, the Tahoe Hybrid and its twin, GMC Yukon Hybrid full-size SUVs will become the largest hybrid vehicles on the market.

“Our hybrid strategy will not be confined to small cars,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM. He added that prices won’t be announced until closer to the on-sale date next year.

The Tahoe’s Vortec V8, with automatic cylinder shutdown, will be mated to an electric motor to produce a 25 percent fuel economy improvement, officials said.

After the hybrid press conference, GM invited media to an event at the Cadillac display, where the 2007 Escalade was unveiled amid a party during which Travis Barker, drummer for the band Blink 182, entertained. Barker, who stars on the MTV show Meet the Barkers is an Escalade fan. He owns three of the big SUVs and has Cadillac tattoo artwork on his body.

Elvis
02-07-06, 06:05 PM
Like everything else, GM arrives late to the dance.

Maybe it's just me, but if we really wanted people to buy into the hybrid thing, wouldn't they cost less than an equally-equipped gas guzzler?

Isn't that what got us into this import mess in the first place? The fuel-efficient competitors from Japan beat us on price first.

Kev
02-07-06, 06:59 PM
Like everything else, GM arrives late to the dance.

Maybe it's just me, but if we really wanted people to buy into the hybrid thing, wouldn't they cost less than an equally-equipped gas guzzler?

Isn't that what got us into this import mess in the first place? The fuel-efficient competitors from Japan beat us on price first.The difference Elvis, is that we (consumers) are not so interested in saving fuel as we are saving money. If gas was still 50 cents per gallon we would not be so concerned how much mileage our cars get. When fuel costs shot up then folks decided they needed a car that gets 35 mpg.

The auto makers are building the cars and trucks to meet minimum government standards for fuel economy (sometimes they are exceeding them) and they are going to pass the development and manufacturing costs on to us. They aren't interested in saving money, just making it (though that seems to have eluded our big three of late...).

Jesda
02-07-06, 07:11 PM
Im glad GM is taking Honda's approach to Hybrids. Its nice having extra power off the line and throughout the powerband.

gary88
02-07-06, 07:44 PM
I wish Saturn could have picked a little less lame name than "green line" :helpless:

Night Wolf
02-07-06, 10:12 PM
The Vue does save gas by turning off the gasoline engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, say at a stoplight. The engine starts automatically when the driver lets up on the brake pedal.

I can just picture the hell that will cause to the system when in stop and go traffic etc...

if you want really good gas mileage, but a VW TDI....or a Civic....

but a Hybrid Escalade? why buy a $60,000 SUV that way you save 4mpg over the regular version!?

Rolex
02-07-06, 10:41 PM
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64689

You have to check out the attitude toward hybrids on this thread. Some are a little extreme......but perhaps understandable. I believe consumers are driving the market in this direction, but I believe large SUVs could easily benefit from displacement on demand.

Elvis
02-07-06, 11:29 PM
The difference Elvis, is that we (consumers) are not so interested in saving fuel as we are saving money. If gas was still 50 cents per gallon we would not be so concerned how much mileage our cars get. When fuel costs shot up then folks decided they needed a car that gets 35 mpg.

The auto makers are building the cars and trucks to meet minimum government standards for fuel economy (sometimes they are exceeding them) and they are going to pass the development and manufacturing costs on to us. They aren't interested in saving money, just making it (though that seems to have eluded our big three of late...).

Good points. But hey, we're the richest economy in the history of the world. We've never had to economize on anything. Hybrids are en vogue today because they're "cool". It's fashionable to be green.

I really REALLY want a hydrogen car. There are so many advantages to that design that have nothing to do with the obvious reasons. I'm talking weight distribution, sound, utilization of space, handling, and ride quality.

Once they're reliable and fuel availability isn't a problem, I'm hopping on that bandwagon. But my decision has nothing to do with ecology or economy, it has to do with preference.

Once the automakers and the fuel companies figure that out, OPEC is out of business.

Then we have to deal with the geo-political fallout. For instance, one reason we buy all that foreign oil is to keep the peace over there. Once our money is gone, a lot of these OPEC nations won't have the incentive of our patronage to leave Israel alone.

That's one of the reasons why we're trying to build a democratic Iraq, and a big reason why we should be worried about Iran. Short term is securing our own oil supply. Long term is stability after we leave.

But that's political talk, which is verboten here. So disregard those last two paragraphs and don't respond. ;)

Wow, I used both French and German words in that post. ARen't you impressed?

Kev
02-08-06, 12:53 AM
.....Wow, I used both French and German words in that post. ARen't you impressed?Yes, quite, but I think you used a few English words as well......... :bang2: :cool:

davesdeville
02-08-06, 07:27 AM
I hope they didn't dump a whole lot of cash into development of these hybrids...

70eldo
02-08-06, 09:22 AM
I hope they didn't dump a whole lot of cash into development of these hybrids...

I guess that's the key. Why equip more hybrids if you don't have the technology production ready yet? Plus the US market is not asking for it. Maybe a smart move to equip the biggest gasguzzlers first? On the other hand, I don't think the owners of gasguzzlers are that worried about gas mileage...

How about that EV1 project? I saw one in Hamburg this week...

Rolex
02-08-06, 09:56 AM
I hope they didn't dump a whole lot of cash into development of these hybrids...

+1

Why not incorporate displacement on demand into the gas guzzling SUVs??? It's existing technology that seems more appropriate than a hybrid full size SUV. And hopefully the cost of doind that would be much less than the several thousand dollar mark-up for the hybrid option from most makes.

Elvis
02-08-06, 03:32 PM
To me, hybrids are kind of like the person who is "on a diet" but they still order a Big Mac with large fries and a Diet Coke. Who are they fooling?

ewill3rd
02-08-06, 06:08 PM
You know, before everyone goes bashing GM on being so far "behind" on new technology, research and development, they should really go to GM's website and do some reading first.
I can't even remember all the examples I could site.
Just because the imports have a more aggressive advertising campaign for this technology doesn't mean they are the only ones doing it.

GM has had CNG, E85 and Hybrids on the roads for years now and is gearing up for full production of a Hybrid car that they have been testing in Japan for the last 2 or 3 years.

Hybrids aren't the answer anyway, that's what is so really pathetic about all this Hybrid hype.
Go ask a Prius owner how much money it's saved them.
Then ask them how much it's going to cost to replace the battery pack when the time comes and do a little math.

Sorry to sound snappy. Just confused as to why a bunch of loyal Cadillac owners take what they read in the press and run with it before doing any research.

70eldo
02-10-06, 04:13 AM
hmmmm... maybe GM has a different approach on that market :)

See, those hybrids are indeed NOT to save your own wallet. Just the environment. In Holland you even have to pay extra tax on those special cars. How freakin' weird is that? You've got to be a hard-core environmentalist to go for that!

Elvis
02-10-06, 09:35 AM
You know, before everyone goes bashing GM on being so far "behind" on new technology,

Sorry, I really didn't mean to bash GM that hard.

I'm bashing hybrids more than anything else. To me they're like one of those "smiley face" band-aids on a sucking chest wound.

ewill3rd
02-10-06, 11:35 AM
no harm no foul.
I think hybrids are pretty lame too... I am sure that was clear in my last thread. I think I had a bad day when I posted that.

El Dobro
02-11-06, 09:59 AM
Has anyone seen GM's advertizing on AOL yet? Live Green, Go Yellow and there's a flying ear of corn, to boot.