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Old 08-28-2008, 03:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Article: GM's powertrain plan: Less weight, better technology

Hello -

Looks like we may be seeing some interesting GM engines in the future :

GM's powertrain plan: Less weight, better technology | Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET - CNET Reviews
DETROIT -- General Motors' heavy investments in powertrain technology are beginning to pay off in terms of better fuel economy.

GM is slowly building its hybrid business and will launch one new hybrid per quarter for the next four years. The company has just opened an advanced powertrain testing laboratory in suburban Detroit. The automaker is rolling out engine technologies that maintain performance while lowering emissions and fuel use. GM has been adding gears to automatic transmissions, reducing the weight of its powertrains and designing engines capable of being mass produced with high-tech features such as direct fuel injection and turbochargers.


Technology: GM hopes to be the first automaker to launch a vehicle with an HCCI engine. Homogeneous charge compression ignition enables a gasoline engine to run like a diesel at idle and at cruising speeds. The result is about a 15 percent fuel economy gain and dramatically lower emissions.

HCCI also is a key technology in terms of where GM wants to take gasoline engines before they start to be replaced by electric motors.

"Downsizing (displacement) with boosting is awesome," said GM powertrain exec Stephens, referring to the Solstice and Sky 2.0-liter engines. "But combining this with HCCI is really where I want to get to."

Fuel cells are also in GM's near future. The company is launching test fleets of Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in North America, Japan and Europe. GM's latest generation of fuel cell can fit in the space of a four-cylinder engine. The company expects to have fuel cells ready for mass production by 2012.

Transmissions: Nearly all of GM's automatics will be six-speeds.


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