So what’s on tap for Cadillacs of the not so distant future? What features will we see? When might we see them?
Well a little Probing around the net and here is what I have uncovered for you:
Cadillacs of the Future wont have starters as we know them. GM is getting ready to roll out a new device that will not only start the car but generate electricity all in the same device that would fit to the engine in the same manner as your present day alternator. There is talk that this will be available on the 06 Malibu Maxx and Chevy Equinox, so they will pave the way for this to be applied to the Northstar Lineup. GM Powertrain also states this system uses a 36 volt Electrical system, freeing up beater and more power for today’s modern power hungry cars. The reason for the device is to be able to reliably shut down and restart the engine at stoplights. Using today’s starters to shut down and restart engines at stoplights would for sure wear out the ring gear on the flywheel/flexplate.
Cadillac may get a new form of “oil life monitor” in the future also. Delphi has developed a new oil condition sensor. This unit sits inside a conventional oil pan and lies in the excess oil sitting in the pan. Like in past systems the new oil life monitoring system will measure oil temp and all the other bits of data that it uses to calculate how long you have till you need to change oil. The new system differs in that it will measure the electrical conductivity present in the oil to detect other harmful elements.
Are you getting sleepy on me? In another feature developed by Delphi a future Cadillac Climate control system may keep you alert and awake late at night. Delphi placed a small camera inside the instrument cluster the focuses on the driver’s eyes. It then keeps track of how often you blink and when it decided your darn near ready to fall asleep it will activate the climate control to send a puff of fresh air right at you. It will also be able to use a chime through the radio or verbally instruct you to pull off the road. Currently developed for large trucks this can’t be far off for passenger cars.
So smooth you can’t feel it shift, In fact it won’t. In another future Cadillac (maybe the new BLS) Gm will employ a CVT transmission. As some of you know these trannys don’t have gears in the sense we know. Instead they use a belt between 2 pulleys. As the pulleys change diameter the “gear ratio” changes inside the tranny. This is not unlike a 10 speed bicycle in operation. As you walk up the rear gear set you change the ratios and the bike gets easier or harder depending on what you want. This example works unless your Lance Armstrong, then any ratio is easy. Other CVT trannys have been on the market for awhile and have proven to be very efficient. I would imagine this can only be applied to a front drive Cadillac like the aforementioned BLS.
No torque Converters! GM is looking to use a new Torque converter-less tranny sometime soon. They say there new 6 speed automatic is so good that it can use one of its clutch packs that normally grab a gear to now get the car rolling. By allowing the tranny to slip a clutch set it can move the car off a stoplight without the use of a torque converter. Eliminating the torque converter can increase gas mileage to levels that currently manual transmissions enjoy. Not to mention removing a few quarts of tranny lube and the mass accociated with having a torque converter.
Kiss headers goodbye. In a huge headache for the likes of headman and edlebrock I present the death of the exhaust manifold. GM powertrain is designing a manifold that is integrated into the cylinder head. Making the manifold and cylinder head out of a single chunk of aluminum. This promotes beater fuel economy, beater heat transfer, and earlier catalytic converter “light off”. So far the technology has only made it to a 3 cylinder engine somewhere in the GM Empire. Let’s hope it stays there.
Down the pipeline Cadillac will probably phase out Port type fuel injection in favor of direct injection. In this form the injector sprays its fuel directly at the piston instead of at the valve as has been the case for many years now and what the current Northstar is configured to do. In direct Injection Cadillac can improve the Torque of the engine and increase fuel economy by around 10%. The main problem is getting the direct injection system to run clean. In order to get a direct injection gas engine to run clean certain pollution devices have to be installed. These devices however cannot be used until North America can get a Gasoline with low sulfur content. In a few years we should see a change in fuel like we did in the 70s where at the pump you can buy regular unleaded fuel and “low sulfur unleaded”.