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GMC Yukon Hybrid
GM brings hybrid technology to a larger class of vehicles

While most manufacturers efforts with hybrid vehicles have been limited to compact or mid-sized cars, there have been production hybrid vehicles available in larger packages. Ford has the Escape Hybrid, while GM has the Saturn Vue Green Line. For those looking for an even larger vehicle, Toyota offers the mid-sized Highlander Hybrid crossover complete with third-row seating.

General Motors is taking its new dual-mode hybrid technology to an even larger class of vehicle: full-size SUVs. GM will make its new hybrid system available on the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs in 2008.

GM is currently gearing up for pilot production of its hybrid SUVs at its Arlington plant. These pilot runs will give GM a chance to work out any kinks before regular production takes place in the summer.

"We'll do a block of 12 [vehicles] starting at 6 a.m. on Tuesday," said Arlington plant manager John Dansby. "We'll have them spaced out over two days. We'll do a few during the day and some at night so both shifts get a chance to work on them."

The dual-mode hybrid Tahoe and Yukon are estimated to get a 25% boost in fuel economy over their traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. That would put their fuel economy at roughly 20/25 city/highway.

GM expects the price premium for the dual-mode system to be in the $2,000 to $5,000 price range. Given that the average transaction price for a Chevrolet Tahoe is already over $42,000, an extra few thousand bucks might be worth it to customers looking for a few extra MPG.



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just an observation...
By Moishe on 3/15/2007 6:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting that:
1.) people want more fuel efficiency
2.) people complain that the auto makers are not doing enough
3.) GM announces a test run of a vehicle that will be 25% more efficient and pushes forward the "green" theme in general
4.) people complain because GM isn't doing enough

Does anyone see the irony in that?




RE: just an observation...
By kkwst2 on 3/15/2007 7:19:41 AM , Rating: 5
No.

The point is that the hybrid concept in it's current state is a joke. The cost doesn't justify the benefit and it distracts from focusing on real solutions. Add ethanol and hydrogen fuels to that list.

Improving diesel engines and working on pure electric cars or hybrids in which the gasoline engine charges the battery instead of these silly dual-drive systems - these are where there is some hope of significant change. Maybe biodiesel, but this is controversial.

Excuse us if we don't get excited about another bandwagon hybrid.


RE: just an observation...
By semo on 3/15/2007 8:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
i think today's hybrids are a joke. if they were so efficient why don't they use them on trains? diesel hybrid trains run the ice at a constant rpm to generate electricity for the electric motors. surely that's more efficient than having a parallel system. why have 2 sources to turn the wheels. it's redundant.

that concept from gm is more exciting: http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5605


RE: just an observation...
By Compu on 3/15/2007 4:40:11 PM , Rating: 3
The reason why series hybrids are used in trains is not the high efficiency. Series hybrids in trains are used because the electric motors have very high torque for a relative small engine. This high torque is needed for starting the train (a train with 20 wagons of 50 to 100 ton requires a huge amount of torque). Once the train is on cruising speed, it only uses a fraction of the energy requirement for starting it.

The series hybrid has important converter losses: running a diesel engine at constant rpm has about 40% efficiency, coupled to it is a generator with about 95-98% efficiency. Next stop is the AC/DC converter, followed by a DC/AC converter. This conversion is needed to control the frequency of the secondary AC side, namely the engine, as most engines are induction motors (historically there are quite a lot of DC drives, which are controlled through voltage regulation, but have maintenance cost issues due to the carbon brushes). So these two converters both work at 98-99%. And finally there's the engine, again, 95-98%.

This results in 37.6% efficiency on the high side, or 34.6% on the low side. Remember that these are very large engines and converters and size does matter in engineering. For smaller applications, such as road vehicles, the efficiency of every compononent drops even lower. Series hybrids are however the only option for plug-in hybrids to work properly.

Parallel Hybrid use the electric engine to complement the gasoline or diesel engine in the regimes where they perform the poorest, namely the starting/stopping cycle. Here these conversions also appear, but most of the power is transferred directly through the drive shaft. A high quality engine is not characterised by the maximum power/torque output, but how much torqe is available at different regimes outside the optimal point (i.e. how much % in performance do I loose when I'm not running in optimal condition).

This means that the electric engine is mostly used for starting, it is run as a generator to charge the batteries while cruising and absorbing the 'free' energy while braking


RE: just an observation...
By marvdmartian on 3/15/2007 8:46:44 AM , Rating: 3
While I agree with your point about hybrids in their current state, especially for suv's, is a joke, the blanket statement you make about ethanol & hydrogen is just plain wrong.
The problem with ethanol & hydrogen is, again, the current implementation of it. Nowadays, when people hear ethanol, they immediately think of the ridiculous "flex fuel" vehicles on the market now. Unfortunately, they seem to be a necessary evil, to get people to consider alternative fuels. If the ethanol infrastructure can be put in place, like the gasoline infrastructure that now exists, then Detroit could make pure ethanol fuels vehicles (that run much higher compression ratio engines than the current flex fuel vehicles run at), which would get much better mpg on ethanol than we now enjoy using low compression gasoline fueled engine vehicles.
Hydrogen, on the other hand, would be much less expensive to produce from seawater, using nuclear power to provide the electric power to accomplish the seperation of the hydrogen & oxygen.
Improving diesel engines is a great idea, but with the new ultra-low sulfur fuel requirements, Detroit doesn't want to mess with diesel design too much, and is dragging their collective feet on bringing in diesel powered vehicles, due to the redesign of the engine that would be required.
Pure electrics won't be viable until the battery designs get a whole lot better.


RE: just an observation...
By brianvanh on 3/15/2007 9:18:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem that I have with Ethanol is not so much the MPG, but rather the cost. I live in Iowa (the heart of the corn ethanol movement) and I have a filling station closeby that sells E85 ethanol. What is interesting about it is that the E85 price stays almost exactly .30 cents under the price of gasoline. If gas goes up by .10 cents, then Ethanol goes up by the same.

I'm no expert, but I have a problem with this. Retailers are selling Ethanol for less than gasoline to make it appear to be a value, but when you do the math (after the reduced mpg), you see that it's definitely more expensive to run Ethanol (I think my calculations for my truck are .14 cents per mile for gas and around .17 cents per mile for ethanol...or an 18% difference).

The price of Ethanol should be defined by the price of corn per bushel and not based on the price of a barrel of oil (which is what is happening now). When I see the price of ethanol staying .30 cents below the price of gas, It makes me realize that the retailers are to blame more than anyone. They should be making these fuels available at a price that is more representative of the cost to make the product. I think the retailers are simply using marketing tactics to make a ton of money on Ethanol sales.

If gas goes up by .10 cents per gallon, it would make sense to me that E85 would go up by .02 cents at most because only 15% of E85 is gasoline.

Anyway, as I said....I'm no expert. But I think that the retailers and the refineries are a part of the overall problem. Perhaps just as much so as the auto manufacturers. They could be doing a lot more to make Ethanol a more economic fuel.


RE: just an observation...
By blckgrffn on 3/15/2007 10:37:16 AM , Rating: 2
As a fellow iowan, I think that your point may be valid, but realize that there isn't enough corn to even fulfill the demand for ethanol as is. Keeping the price up on E85 allows the ethanol makers to pay higher grain prices so they can acquire the corn.

What sucks about that is that corn isn't just used to make ethanol, rather it's used for human and animal consumption. Look for higher prices on food in general (meat and corn based products) if ethanol really does drive demand for corn like it has the potential to do.


RE: just an observation...
By semo on 3/15/2007 11:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
sugarcane yields more ethanol than corn. the problem is that the climate might not be ideal and the industry simply won't change if it isn't forced.


RE: just an observation...
By dever on 3/15/2007 1:48:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's hard to know where to start... there are so many ill-informed statements here.

First of all, ethonal costs more than gas to produce. The lower prices are due to my tax dollars being taken from my family and given to Iowa farming companies.

Second, this artificially produced demand for ethonal has doubled the price of corn just in the last 6 months. In yet another way, it's taking more of my money used to feed my family just to pander to a dead-end industry who bought out politicians.

Third, ethanol is unsustainable in it's current form. Even if you slapped the corn flakes out of my kid's hand and forbid me to eat corn-fed beef just to put all corn production towards ethonal, and forced everyone to buy new engines that ran ethanol, we could only supply 7% of the country's current demand for fuel.

Fourth, ethonal has a lower energy density than gas, so you'll get lower mpg.
quote:
Unfortunately, they seem to be a necessary evil, to get people to consider alternative fuels.
Lastly, it's just stupid. Screwing around with markets always proves to be detrimental. People will do what is best for them and their family. As more efficient forms of fuel emerge, the market will adjust. Stop assuming that you know better than everyone else... you don't. You know what's best for you, not for me.


RE: just an observation...
By semo on 3/15/2007 2:28:23 PM , Rating: 2
my post was against corn and i just simply stated a fact that you get more ethanol from sugarcane.

also i didn't suggest all vehicle run on ethanol. fossil fuels have spoiled so many into thinking that you can get all your energy needs from one source. obviously you can't grow ethanol in every part of the world. the electricity from a household socket is rarely produced entirely from a single source. hydropower can't supply the whole world with electricity so why build hydropower stations?

quote:
Fourth, ethonal has a lower energy density than gas, so you'll get lower mpg.
gas has a lower energy density than diesel, so you'll get lower mpg (just thought of mentioning it, not telling everyone to go buy diesel burning cars).


RE: just an observation...
By Playit on 3/15/2007 4:50:22 PM , Rating: 2
A few points worth making...

I actually agree that we shouldn't be using Corn… Hemp would be a much better source of biomass... But a few things are worth considering.

First... Free markets are not always the best method to anticipate change. Investing in alternative resources can lessen the eventual effects of an oil shortage on the nation's economy. While alternative fuels are not economical now, they could potentially be in the future with additional research. We could either try to fund that research directly (which rarely ever works) or "inspire" the market to do so, by influencing the market away from Oil. It's really just a short-term long-term question. I'd actually just prefer higher taxes on oil to have the same effect, but this method can certainly work as well.

Lastly I don't agree that screwing with markets never works. We do so all the time and often to great effect. The uranium market would be a good example. One might also consider the various Air Quality acts. More to the point of this discussion, I'd suggest that the national investment in NASA is a good example of a government directing resources into a field with no immediate economic potential. If we can look at our tax subsidies for Ethanol as an investment into developing future technologies then it might be more digestible.


RE: just an observation...
By fic2 on 3/15/2007 10:38:45 AM , Rating: 2
My problem with ethanol is that it is made from corn when there are more energy rich crops out there. Of course, those aren't sponsored by ADM so aren't used. Basically, the whole corn/ethanol "craze" is because ADM has some of the best politicians that money can buy.

Oh, and if ethonal was closer to it's true price it would be much more expensive. Of course, if gas was closer to it's true price it would be, too.

The best thing the government could do for fuel economy for vehicles is to raise taxes on a gallon of gas by about $0.50 and stop ALL subsudies on gas/ethanol/whatever. Then consumers would not only demand cars that are fuel efficient they would probably actually buy them.


RE: just an observation...
By AGAC on 3/15/2007 10:08:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, those flex fuels are a necessary evel. 20 years ago pure ethanol was implemented in Brazil in up to 80% of the fleet. But the price of ethanol was much more susceptible to climate since it is a crop, then people start slowly coming back to gas only. With flex cars you can choose the cheapest fuel but the compression ratio is somewhere in the midle of the ideal (a litle higher than gasoline and a litle lower than ehtanol would require).

The technology for variable compression engines is currently under development and there are a few of these variable compression systems working on tri-fuel (ethanol, gasoline or compressesd natural gas in any proportion).

These engines are extremely efficient and will be deployed shortly. Unfortunately, ethanol or hydrogen fuel cells are still sci-fi in the mainstream market.


RE: just an observation...
By hubajube on 3/15/2007 4:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
You can just use direct injection. That will allow you to raise the compression ratio for gasoline.


RE: just an observation...
By EBH on 3/15/2007 3:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
i agree, plus whats the point of making a hybrid suburban, the weight alone will waste gas

its either a sports car or a SUV, from one extreem to the other


RE: just an observation...
By brianvanh on 3/15/2007 8:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree....I think that progress takes time and that a 25% reduction is tremendous. You aren't going to go from complete oil dependency to complete oil independence overnight. It takes time and is an evolutionary process.

Personally, I drive a large full size truck (flex fuel truck by GM)...I own a farm and I could not do my work without it. Generally speaking, I think that most people who own trucks and SUVs don't really *need* them. But if they are going to drive them, then a 25% reduction will certainly help. Is this where we need/want to be? No...but it's a good start.

If you expect people to stop driving SUVs overnight and if you expect oil dependency to go away overnight, then you are certainly an idealist with no understanding for what it will take to make a practical migration away from oil/gas. It's going to take time and it's going to take progressive companies (like GM) to move these concepts forward. Take this for what it is....great progress towards a long term goal.


RE: just an observation...
By semo on 3/15/2007 11:34:19 AM , Rating: 2
i don't think you can say that these trucks are 25% more efficient because you just added a battery and an electric motor. what are the conditions and assumptions? are those ideal figures or average?

i think once you start cruising on the highway you might actually increase fuel usage since now you have dead weight in the form of a battery and other hybrid components. you can call the prius a city car and assume it will be used in the city but a truck like that probably won't always stay in city.


RE: just an observation...
By Playit on 3/15/2007 4:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
I answered this in more detail below, but the different engine is part of the additional efficiency. That is how they can still be more efficient at higher speeds in some circumstances. To what extent will depend upon implementations. The Ford Escape Hyrbid is actually less efficient at higher speeds (compared to lower speeds) but still better than the gas equivalents at those same speeds due to the improved engine cycle.


!!!!!
By TheWizardofOz on 3/15/2007 11:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
Having more efficient vehicles is good. But why would someone need a bigger SUV/SAV than a Toyota RAV4 anyways? Yukon is an unneccessary vehicle like many American SUVs (size-wise)

I see trucks, SUVs, 18 feet long cars with unefficent engines. Why? American life style? Excuse me but f.. this. Nobody can say that this sort of lifestyle is good in any aspect. In Europe there are 30 year old Mercedes station wagon cars, pulling 24 feet trailers uphill. But no, in US you have to have a V8 or a V10 engine being pulled by a 4wd truck to do that, because you need power, right? Riiiight...

A perfectly normal 4 person family can drive one compact/midsize car ( VW Passat, BMW 3 series, Mercedes C Class...etc) with a diesel engine for their weekend. And the size of these cars are perfectly enought for their needs?

In US, a single mom with 3 kids has to have a Ford Excursion with a V8 to do her grocery shopping.

Ghandi once said "I consume less, so others can exist". So why is US wasting resources, even if they are cheap?




RE: !!!!!
By AxemanFU on 3/15/2007 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently you need to get some exposure to real world day to day transportation requirements in the good old US of A. Our nation is VASTLY larger than any european country, our population densities are much lower, and so, with the exception of our densely populated cities, public transportation is utterly unfeasable because the infrastructure costs to make it reasonably accessible would be utterly enormous. So you are essentially dependent on personal transportation. Most of us live and work tens or scores of kilometers from our workplace, unless we are in urban areas, so long drives are unavoidable in many cases.

Then we get down to vehicle size. People generally buy the smallest vehicle that can do all they need it to do. For me, that is a half ton truck, or larger. I'd much prefer a light diesel engine, but noone seems to want to provide one in the USA. So we've been stuck with gasoline engines. A lot of people transport, on a fairly regular basis, large amounts of cargo or tow trailers. I tow a trailer a couple of times a month or more that would not be towable by any normal production car..trying to stop it quickly with a light vehicle would be suicide, so a larger, heaver truck with bigger brakes and better stability is required. I pay a lot extra in vehicle pricetag and gas, and taxes, for that choice. With my truck, I'm everyone's best friend that has a little "rollerskate" car when they need to move a piece of furniture, or buy a matress, or something like that. For towing, or transporting cargo, you can get a smaller vehicle to struggle to do it, but it is unsafe, as the small vehicle can't control or stop a heavy load in an emergency.

I see a lot of city dwellers bitching about vehicle size that have never probably been off a paved road, or towed a large trailer with a vehicle, and don't realize how frequently this is done out in the burbs or countryside. Why should we drive a teeny tiny hybrid, and then have to go rent a damn truck every time we need to haul or tow? It is just not practical.

I'm still waiting for my light diesel engine, but neither Japan or Detriot is giving me anything smaller than a 225HP 6+ litre monster in a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck. A smaller 3-4 litre 150HP diesel would be quite adequate if it could put out 350-400 ft/lb torque.

If you want to drive a small car, go for it, but it is simply not practical for everyone in the USA to do that. Deal with it.


RE: !!!!!
By dever on 3/15/2007 1:58:31 PM , Rating: 1
!Self-righteous moron alert!
quote:
unneccessary vehicle
quote:
perfectly enought for their needs
Wow, the arrogance is palpable. How do you know what is right for someone else's needs? If I had three kids, a couple of dogs and liked to take the occasional weekend camping/boat trips I might go for something bigger than a RAV4. There could be hundreds of other reasons why someone would chose a larger vehicle other than status. They may, in your opinion, be less than perfect, but that's your opinion. Many of us prefer to live in a country that respects freedom. Many of us cherish the liberty that many before us fought and died for. Giving up each of our decisions because some person in DC thinks there's a better way is fool-hardy. It's best to realize that the people who would make these decisions have only their own interests in mind. Often influenced by industry money or personal and political gain. That's the reality. This is why I vote freedom first.


RE: !!!!!
By TheWizardofOz on 3/15/2007 2:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
Decision and freedom are not unlimited. Your freedom ends where it conflicts with my freedom. Large, uneconomical cars are killing people in collisions with other smaller vehicles, burning more gas to pollute our planet and consuming more gas so others can't buy.

Just because someone has more power to buy, doesn't mean they should do it. It's simple macro economical fact that even if you pay for something but you consume more than average, you are making that resouce harder to get for the others.

Do not give me nationalist, patriot act. I did not ask for it. Realize that whatever you do it does not only affect you, it affects everything.

driving inefficient big cars is part of American lifestyle? And you can do it because this is your decision? Rethink that... Be more sociological about your decisions to match your environment.


RE: !!!!!
By dever on 3/19/2007 1:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
Missed the point Oz... it may be quite inefficient for someone's needs to buy a small vehicle. There is no one more capable of making that decision than the purchaser. It is foolish arrogance to assume otherwise.

As an alternative, one might buy two smaller vehicles, requiring two people to drive at the same time to the same destination for many purposes. Twice the manufacturing costs, and just as much fuel innefficiency, and completely unreasonable for that family.

Also, those who make choices to buy bigger vehicles are already paying for that decision, not just through higher vehicle price, but higher purchase taxes, higher fuel costs and taxes, personal property taxes, repair costs, etc.


RE: !!!!!
By JediJeb on 3/15/2007 2:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A perfectly normal 4 person family can drive one compact/midsize car ( VW Passat, BMW 3 series, Mercedes C Class...etc) with a diesel engine for their weekend. And the size of these cars are perfectly enought for their needs?


Ok what about the family of 6 with thier two dogs and camping equipment and a couple canoes? Imagine craming all that into a VW Passat and driving 6 or 8 hours or maybe even 14 hours to get to where you are going.

quote:
I see trucks, SUVs, 18 feet long cars with unefficent engines. Why? American life style? Excuse me but f.. this. Nobody can say that this sort of lifestyle is good in any aspect. In Europe there are 30 year old Mercedes station wagon cars, pulling 24 feet trailers uphill. But no, in US you have to have a V8 or a V10 engine being pulled by a 4wd truck to do that, because you need power, right? Riiiight...

Can you pull a 5 ton tractor on a trailer or maybe a 24 foot trailer loaded with that amount of building materials with that Vercedes station wagon once or twice a week for several miles over unpaved roads that are nothing but mud? With a good 4wd truck you can do that and use it to go pick up groceries later.

Many Americans are using 20 and 30 year old trucks to do this type of work. Where I live is about 100 miles from the nearest large city, and actually for a large percentage of Americans large cities are 50 to 200 miles away. I don't think someone who is single and only drives back and forth to work within a city in the warmer climates needs a SUV for that, but when you are facing a drive to work that is 50 miles one way and you could have 8 inches of snow on the way before you get home, those 4wd vehicles seem pretty nice then.



Why's the city mileage so low?
By isaacmacdonald on 3/14/2007 7:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
I thought hybrid's do best in the city because of the huge gains afforded by regenerative braking. So why is there still a huge discrepancy between city and highway in the tahoe hybrid?

That aside, I can see this being a big hit. At the 45k price point the extra 3-5k is a lot more palatable, and the returns will probably be more easily realized than they are with the low-power/weight sedan hybrids.




RE: Why's the city mileage so low?
By ElFenix on 3/14/2007 7:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So why is there still a huge discrepancy between city and highway in the tahoe hybrid?

because it's a two mode system with an electric assist when cruising...


RE: Why's the city mileage so low?
By otispunkmeyer on 3/15/2007 4:01:57 AM , Rating: 3
same with Lexus GS hybrid (or is it the IS?) it wont go more than 2 miles on its battery and motor, so the engine is pretty much on constantly, like a normal car.

infact in those cars all the motor seems to do well is aid acceleration, which might not be too bad a thing since thats where you tend to use the most fuel, in in-efficient short bursts.

still these cars are a bit of an oxymoron, but i guess the clueless will buy them, like the prius, (which is easily beaten by a golf diesel) and feel good.


RE: Why's the city mileage so low?
By ElFenix on 3/22/2007 1:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
no, the GS is a single mode hybrid. the hybrid assist does nothing for you on the highway, only when accelerating and driving slowly (which is why the prius gets better mileage in the city than highway). the tahoe system helps both on the highway and the city, so both figures go up.

the GS won't go more than two miles because the battery pack is small.


Hmmm?
By Shintai on 3/15/2007 8:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
Can anyone tell me whats the benefit of an SUV? I mean, what can an SUV do that a 1/3rd of the weight station car that goes 60-80mpg cant.

SUV and any green talk is a big joke. Didn´t GM get the memo yet, or they still continue to lose about 2500$ per car they make because they lack complete marketunderstanding. Its soon a last minute wakeup!

These SUVs wouldn´t even be allowed in most of the european countries due to safety regulations. And on top of that they would be taxed to death for their stupid fuel economy. Its a car that most drive their children to school and shopping. How did that ever need a 300hp monster with a 5.4L engine. A 70-100hp 1.6 or 1.8L engine would be more than enough and then some.




RE: Hmmm?
By Playit on 3/15/2007 9:53:43 AM , Rating: 4
America doesn't have the same infrastructure as Europe. We don't have a modern train system and we are significantly more spread out. As such, we spend much more time in our vehicles. That we are willing to sacrifice gas efficiency for comfort is not a surprise. If Europeners weren't space confined, leading to higher cost of land and parking area, and didn't pay significantly higher fuels costs, they'd probably be driving SUV's too.

As for mimicking their situation, we can't do much about having so much cheap land. It's worth noting that SUVs aren't popular in areas of the country where land is a costlier commodity. And before you go and raise the gas tax remember that being so spread out has made us reliant on large distribution channels for our products. This system is largely run on trucks, which would be hugely affected by gas increases. Updating our train system would be tremendously expensive and wouldn't have the same success of Europe considering the organization of our population centers.

It's an apple to oranges comparison.


RE: Hmmm?
By Zoomer on 3/15/2007 7:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A 70-100hp 1.6 or 1.8L engine


Current models gives you 125 - 140 bhp for these displacements. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Civic

IMO, 125 hp is plenty of power for a car.

(Scroll down, or search for
"1.8 litre SOHC i-VTEC engine that produces 140 bhp")


Think Before you Comment
By Playit on 3/15/2007 9:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
So every time we have a hybrid story people run out to spew their uniformed opinions on the rest of us. There are certainly reasons to like and dislike this announcement, but at the least you should understand what a Hybrid is and how it works before you start doing so.

First...

People do have need for larger vehicles. Those people will continue to purchase those vehicles and this is a great step in providing greater fuel efficiency to them. I know one personal example... The people I know that drive the most miles every year are a couple that does insurance adjusting. They have to drive out (while pulling a large trailer) to sites ravaged by storms (read as bad roads) and bring all the tools needed to navigate such a situation (ladders, wenches, spare tires …). That business is the largest employer in their small town. You can also include people that work in construction, appliance repair, oil production, dock operation, etc). It’s not just farmers that need a large vehicle with excellent off road capabilities and towing capacity.

Second…

Many, but not all, of the new hybrid systems obtain their higher efficiencies by using a different engine system. Otto cycle engines are tuned to obtain a blend of torque and power throughout the entire RPM range. As with all things, being the jack of all trades makes one the master of none. They are not as efficient as a more dedicated engine like an Atkinson engine that attempts to maximize power production while sacrificing flexibility and torque. Electric motors can provide excellent torque and acceleration, but power draw increases with speed.

Some people continuously complain about two aspects of today’s hybrids, the first being why the engine isn’t solely run to power the electric motor. This can and is done on some vehicles but runs into its own problems. Power draw from a purely motor driven car varies greatly with speed, while power production from a highly optimized motor is relatively continuous. This requires a large battery to balance the load requirements. One also needs a large battery with a very high maximum power discharge to allow for top speeds. Batteries fitting this description are large, heavy, and expensive. Their weight eliminates much of the gain of the more efficient engine while their expense makes the vehicle unaffordable. We have been trying to improve battery technology on a global scale since the Second World War with some limited success. But it’s a hard problem and we don’t have a solution yet. This problem is magnified on larger cars that require even greater power draw.

Other people seem to want hybrids dropped in favor of biodiesel or ethanol. We don’t have enough of either to replace oil, nor could we with our current production methods. If we scaled up our current methods, we would have serious water pollution problems to replace our current problems with air pollution. They are essentially a pilot program to improve the tech.

Instead, manufacturers have adopted a ‘hybrid’ solution. They use the more efficient engine and an electric assist to provide the additional torque and speed sacrificed by the engine choice. The use of an electric motor also allows for regenerative braking further improving efficiency. The end result effectively mimics the performance of a larger engine (many Escape Hybrid owners compare their car’s 4 cylinder performance to that of the 6 cylinder not the non-hybrid 4 cylinder). It also improves gas mileage both overall and in the very important city driving category. Escape 2007 MPG ratings under the new EPA fuel economy standards: 6-cyl 18-23 , 4-cyl 20-24 , Hybrid 31-29 . Thos are very real gains and for the first time put an SUV into the gas range of a comparable sized sedan. It also gives mechanics and manufactures valuable experience with motor and battery technology. We will eventually see a fully motorized large vehicle, but not until we have drastic improvements in battery technology. Until then, this is the best available technology (not including diesel hybrids).




RE: Think Before you Comment
By fic2 on 3/15/2007 10:49:07 AM , Rating: 2
For every one of your "one personal example" of people that need a larger vehicle I can name you 40-50 personal examples of people that don't but have them anyway. I can include in that a guy I know that has a big truck and his wife has a Prius. He commutes about 30 miles roundtrip every day in his truck while the Prius sits home with his wife.


RE: Think Before you Comment
By SmokeRngs on 3/15/2007 12:33:40 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
or every one of your "one personal example" of people that need a larger vehicle I can name you 40-50 personal examples of people that don't but have them anyway.


I don't care what you think I need. It doesn't matter. I find it hilarious that you and others like you think you can dictate to people what they need or don't need. You're not me or the person driving down the street in an SUV. You don't have a clue what the vehicle is used for. All you saw is the person driving down the street in an SUV that wasn't loaded down with twenty passengers or a truck without five tons of equipment in the bed and a trailer hauling another ten. To you, that means it's not needed. Based on one sighting at one particular point in time, you deem that person as wasteful and doesn't need their gas guzzling vehicle. Using a small sample that you happen to see you deem the vehicles as basically worthless.

You wouldn't even know if the person in the SUV just dropped off twenty people and has the vehicle full of groceries. You wouldn't have a clue if the truck had just unloaded and dropped off it's trailer.

I would say you're wasteful. I'm sure you've driven somewhere in your vehicle when you could have just as easily walked or ridden a bike. You are wasteful. I'm sure you've driven in your car alone instead of having someone in every seat in the car. You are wasteful. Your vehicle has more power under the hood than absolutely needed to get from point A to point B. You are wasteful. I'm just basing this off the standards you hold those driving an SUV or truck to.


20-25mpg is pathetic
By Ytsejamer1 on 3/15/2007 10:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm kind of on the "This hybrid idea is crap" bandwagon. GM certainly does have the technology to do this. They've done electric based cars in the past with the EV1 and all that. But they abandoned the whole thing and now Honda and Toyota who have more efficient cars are kicking the crap out of GM (and Ford, and Chrysler). I think Hybrid technology on smaller cars may not be the end-all, be-all, but any change(big or small) to the old and dirty ICE is an improvement.

But this definitely seems like a executive's idea to throw the word Hybrid at the market and see if they buy it just because. 20-25 mpg is pathetic and sad...maybe it's an improvement for this type of vehicle, I dunno. What's worse is an vehicle that has worse efficiency. If the market is telling you that you need more fuel efficient vehicles, one would think that you wouldn't just keep releasing a fleet of tanks on wheels. You better come up with something new instead of rebadging the same old crap.

To play devil's advocate for just a second...people that think they need something so huge for their personal vehicle are insane. People need to adjust their thinking. SUVs didn't just appear out of nowhere though...they were pushed by the American manufacturers and it's part of our consciousness now. Now going back to hybrids such as the Prius and Civic, it's going to take time for the idea to warm to the population. But so far people are speaking with their wallets. We seem to forget that it's up to the general public to influence change...in someway.

To wrap it up, this is not forward thinking by GM. They would be best advised to really start putting their heads together in order to come up with something REALLY revolutionary if they want the company to do well.




RE: 20-25mpg is pathetic
By SmokeRngs on 3/15/2007 12:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To play devil's advocate for just a second...people that think they need something so huge for their personal vehicle are insane. People need to adjust their thinking. SUVs didn't just appear out of nowhere though...they were pushed by the American manufacturers and it's part of our consciousness now. Now going back to hybrids such as the Prius and Civic, it's going to take time for the idea to warm to the population. But so far people are speaking with their wallets. We seem to forget that it's up to the general public to influence change...in someway.


I believe you are incorrect. The car makers didn't make SUVs to push down people's throats. They made SUVs because people wanted and needed them. Car makers don't "create" a market by forcing people to buy vehicles; they supply what a market wants and demands. I have never heard of an employee of a car manufacturer holding a gun to someone's head forcing them to buy and SUV.

The SUV market exploded because the consumer wanted and/or needed them. That's a simple truth of supply and demand. The consumers demanded SUVs and the car makers supplied them.


RE: 20-25mpg is pathetic
By andrinoaa on 3/16/2007 3:02:27 AM , Rating: 2
sorry but I think you got it arse about.
How much money was used in advertising the "Marlborough man"
myth? Step out side of america and you can see it, step inside you cant! You have been sold a pup. Gm and Ford make more money on large trucks than cars, so what are they going to push?
Cosumers didn't demand SUV, they are sold an "experience"
that only the car makers can supply.
Never underestimate the ability of a glutton to want more.
Its human nature. When petrol in america hits european prices, these SUV will go the way of all dinosaurs
keep burning them fosil fuels man. LOL


RE: 20-25mpg is pathetic
By Andrwken on 3/16/2007 3:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I believe you may have it "arse about" (whatever the hell that means). Suv's became popular in the early 90's care of the Ford Explorer really. Lots of room, pull a boat, yada yada yada. The full size suv's you see nowadays were just about to be pulled from production in GM. Then you started to see conversion companies offering suburbans with packages that had 3 row seating and the like which made it a very useful "tool" (which is what any car really is, right?) It wasn't until people started dropping big cash for those conversions that GM and Ford decided to update and civilize their "suburbans, blazers, and broncos" to make them more like the conversion trucks that were selling for 10 grand more than their base vehicle. This was a market driven purchase due to gas being 1.25 a gallon, people in this country having boats, snowmobiles, campers, etc, and having a few kids. The do it all vehicle with 4X4 (cuz we hunt and it snows too). Lock it up with the fact that I would rather play the averages and have my kids in one of these "rolling tanks" and pay a few hundred bucks a year more in gas, than have some dumbshit in a toy car changing his clothes in the driver's seat while talking on his cell phone, "accidentally" slam into me and kill or maim my family. Don't get me wrong, I still have a 30 mpg car for single person driving for work commutes (less than 10 miles as well). But I traded my full size truck on one of these so I can have the "swiss army Knife" of vehicles at my disposal. A tool, that does everything I need it to, except use a little more gas than I would like. So too bad your country, wherever you are, may have regulations for size, or expensive gas. I will make my decision based on the best "tool" for the job; not what some fool's opinion on the internet 1000's of miles away has to say. I agree some people may not need all the things these trucks offer. But who are you to make that choice either. A lot of you people are probably burning a lot of electricity right now on a super fast computer that only uses 20% of its processing power(you dont' need it). I may be a lot more efficient in other Practices of my life (small commute, efficient house) and use less fossil fuel overall than a small car driver does. Btw, I heat my home from trees I replant, so I know I use less fuel than most people already (no natural gas or fuel oil bill).

Btw, good for GM for giving people the "option". I don't see myself buying a hybrid as the cost increase takes probably 10 years of gas savings to make up anyway (not to mention the added repair costs down the road). Which, btw, is the same problem we have with diesels in the USA. The trucks come with a 5-7000 price increase for 3-5 mpg better. That's a lot of gas for the premium.


fools' hybrid
By lucyfek on 3/14/2007 9:34:26 PM , Rating: 1
it feels good to have a ride with "hybrid" sticker on the a.. (or a crossover (yesterday they called this suv but the word won't sell anymore)), even if this has nothing to do with low fuel usage. old clunkers can get 30+ mpg, but they insist that 20 is the sign of progress. most Americans (and newcomers which seem to challenge themselves to match them in wasteful lifestyle once they get here) need some wake-up call (10$+ a gallon?) - it sucks that that everybody else has to pay for their stupidity (pollution, inflation, ...).
whoever said that it was never too late to learn had not had americans in his/her mind.




RE: fools' hybrid
By walk2k on 3/15/2007 12:12:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah 20/25 isn't real exciting huh?

I'm glad to see some progress... ANY fricken progress.

But I'd also like to see a trend towards smaller/lighter cars. The larger vehicles are still not as safe, still destroy the road surface with their weight, still blind everyone with their headlights, and still reduce visibility of everyone around them.


RE: fools' hybrid
By oab on 3/15/2007 1:13:23 AM , Rating: 2
They don't blind everyone with their headlights, just everyone who happens to not be in a suv/truck.

Though, part of the problem is headlights that are not adjusted properly to NOT point into peoples eyes.


RE: fools' hybrid
By Jedi2155 on 3/15/2007 3:02:38 AM , Rating: 1
quote:

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. -Winston Churchill


Diesel trucks anyone?
By AGAC on 3/15/2007 10:29:04 AM , Rating: 2
I just can't understand why diesel trucks are not popular in America. I live in Brazil and drive a big diesel powered Ford F250. Just gotta love the truck. It´s powerful and fuel efficient. It is more reliable than the gas one, I would not want a gas one since it would run half the mileage with the same quantity of fuel. Diesel straight or hybrid are the only way to go in big SUV and trucks.




RE: Diesel trucks anyone?
By hubajube on 3/15/2007 5:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
Most people don't buy them because of the $6000+ price premium plus most people don't require that much truck. 1/2 tons serve most truck users needs. Only people that do moderate to heavy towing with heavy payloads buy diesel trucks here. I live in a rural area where people have lots of animals and most home owners have diesel trucks. We don't because we couldn't afford one when we bought our truck but in a few years we'll sell the one we have and buy a diesel.


By Nightmare225 on 3/14/2007 7:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
Looks good, Hybrids are becoming a much larger presence in the automobile market than they ever were... :)




orphan quote
By ElFenix on 3/14/2007 7:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
"You need to be aware of that when you're working around them," said Arlington plant manager John Dansby. "If you're trained properly, there shouldn't be any problems at all."
doesn't make quite as much sense when it doesn't follow "300 volt electrical system."

anyway, good for GM.

" The two-mode system provides an assist from the electric motor on takeoff as well as at cruising speeds. Most hybrid systems supplement the gas engine only at low speeds."
interesting. i wonder how high up the speedo the hybrid assist works?




Diesel
By Steele on 3/17/2007 1:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Diesel is the wave of the future, my friends.

I drive an F-250 3/4 ton pickup with a 7.3 litre Turbodiesel engine. Running on #2 pump diesel, I get about 16 miles per gallon. Not great. But I don't run on pump diesel, I make my own fuel from waste oil... Vegetable oil is refined into biodiesel, and mixed with small quantities of filtered motor oil. I get 18-20 miles per gallon, and can still haul around all the stuff I need to do my job.

If GM put diesel engines in all their hybrid systems, they would win this war in a heartbeat.

Steele




By BleedingEdge on 3/19/2007 3:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
Here's a link to two videos regarding 2007 SUVs, be sure to watch both video segments.

http://www.forbes.com/video/?video=fvn/lifestyle/d...

Enjoy.




I'm Sorry, I had to Say it.....!
By cheetah2k on 3/14/2007 11:06:50 PM , Rating: 1
Lets hope they're not using batteries manufactured by Sony or Sanyo!

LOL




Even bigger Hybrick
By andrinoaa on 3/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By Xenoterranos on 3/15/2007 1:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
<rant>
I'd sell my Dodge and buy a truck from chevy tomorrow if they offered a TRUE hybrid truck. I'd even pay a premium for it. I know they have the engineering prowess to get 15mpg while hauling and 30mpg otherwise, why they don't do it I simply do not understand. For the love of crap, the F150 is the best selling vehicle of ALL TIME, and Ford has yet to release a hybrid version of it. Chevy would make a killing if it told all it's fleet customers that it had a truck that could cut the fleet fuel consumption by 40%, since most trucks (even the work ones) spend most of their time carying 1 person around with nothing out back.

Damn you chevy and ford for making me wish Asia would hurry up and kick your collective asses out of the market. I want a TRUE hybrid truck already!
</rant>


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By robertgu on 3/15/2007 2:08:12 PM , Rating: 4
Man I love to see the amount of people just buying into the "Asian auto makers are fuel efficient and domestic auto makers are all gas guzzlers" idea. It seems they have done a great job at marketing.

quote:
Damn you chevy and ford for making me wish Asia would hurry up and kick your collective asses out of the market.


If people bothered to even look beneath the marketing genuis and public perception, they will realize that the asian manufacturers are not so green and the domestics are not the worst in efficiency.

For this example I take the perceived poster child for environmental friendly and fuel efficient of the asian auto manufacturers: Toyota. And for the domestics, I take the largest manufacturer and the perceived maker of the worst fuel efficiency cars in the US: GM.

I selected vehicle classes which the avg. American family would own as their primary vehicle or work vehicle: full-size sedan, large-size truck, mid-size truck, mid-size SUV, and large-size SUV

And for kicks I selected all V8s and 4WD where available to show the worst case mileage.

The mileage information came from: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorSelectYea... an excellent website that calculates mileage based on the new EPA standards which better reflect real world conditions.

Here’s the results:
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD V8.......2007 Toyota Tundra 4WD V8
14 city 19 hwy.....................................13 city 17 hwy

2007 Chevrolet Tahoe 1500 4WD V8....2007 Toyota Sequoia 4WD V8
14 city 19 hwy.....................................13 city 17 hwy

2007 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD...........2007 Toyota Tacoma 4WD
15 city 21 hwy.....................................16 city 20 hwy

2007 Pontiac G6 V6............................2007 Toyota Camry V6
18 city 28 hwy.....................................19 city 28 hwy

2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4WD V8.....2007 Toyota 4Runner 4WD V8
13 city 19 hwy.....................................14 city 18 hwy

As you can clearly see, Toyota is by far the more environmental friendly auto manufacturer and GM clearly should be stomped out of existence for their “criminal” actions on fuel economy.


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By hubajube on 3/15/2007 5:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
In the real world the Tundra gets worse gas mileage than equivalent Chevy or Ford pick-up. It's only a couple miles per gallon difference but it's a real difference. BTW, I own a Tundra and I would like to buy the new one because we need the extra towing capacity and the stability of the new one. Our present truck isn't a dog under towing with one horse but with two horses it kind of sucks. The present Ford and Chevy 1/2 tons aren't much better but the newer one's are larger (in the right places) and have a MUCH greater towing capacity. Also, we plan to go to a trailer with 5th wheel hitch (MUCH more stable) and that would require a diesel powered truck. I would like to buy a Toyota diesel but that doesn't exist. If they don't have one ready by the time I'm in the market, I'll go with Chevy (Allison transmissions).


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By andrinoaa on 3/16/2007 2:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
I think you missed the point. Don't compare shite with shite. In Australia, 7 of the top ten selling cars are cars with 4 cylinders. Just face facts, people are voting with their wallets. 90 out of 100 people can do just fine on 4 cylinders. You guys have bought the american dream.
Get real, the faster you burn up the petrol reserves, the sooner you wont have any!! If you have a need fine, if you don't,whats the point? Thats what most people are saying. I dont think we are putting anyone down on purpose. Its just that it seems to be an american perspective that it will last for ever and its your right to use up the whole friggin supply.
Think of the benefits if most people had a small car to run (I dont mean a mini size car )
Less time filling up
More money in pocket
Petrol will last more years at a reasonable price
You wouldn't have to buy a prime mover to get the next biggest thing
You wouldnt be held hostage to foreign interests ie M East
You would have more rational foreign policies, who knows the rest of the world may like you again
The environment will be under less pressure
LOL


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By andrinoaa on 3/16/2007 3:16:05 AM , Rating: 2
I hope I got my message across without upsetting anyone.
Those SUVs you compare are what I expect from this class of vehicle. ITS FRIGGIN SHIT ECONOMY !!!!!!!! all of them
Thats my point. Your expectations are so friggin short of whats possible. Thats my point again. You guys take this shit, and accept it meekly. man what more can I say
( I have no hair left )


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By robertgu on 3/16/2007 1:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
In my comparison I am not trying to make a point a justify our voracious use of oil, I'm just pointing out a perception problem I see in the US, which IMHO, wrongly gives manufacturers like Toyota entirely a free pass; while domestics like GM is the favorite whipping-boy for negative MPG discussions.

Like you I long for better MPG and less dependence on oil which is increasingly coming from areas hostile to the US. This puts more and more of our brothers and sisters in harm’s way to protect our interests in these assets.

In America, the people have made a collective decision to entitle people a lifestyle the way they want it. This is part of our “earned” quality of life. Being that a lot of America is not urban, much of it is suburban and spread out over vast lands, the avg American wants the utility and flexibility of a truck or SUV. The urban centers have latched onto this lifestyle and have adopted the large trucks and SUVs either as perceived flexibility for their day-to-day soccer mom and weekend warrior lifestyle, or for "fashion" symbols that a truck or SUV projects for the person. This is the choice of the American people, the auto manufacturers’ and politicians are only providing or allowing what the majority of Americans want (as evidenced by people voting with their wallets – last I checked I did not see auto manufacturers’ wielding guns forcing people to buy large trucks for “frivolous” uses).

But I am not one to advocate “forcing” all the public to “accept” smaller cars and such by forcing auto manufacturers’ to only build smaller vehicles by either having Govt. raise the corporate MPG standards or by adding stiff amounts of taxes to gasoline as regions like the EU does. For me, the raising price of crude oil is already doing a fabulous job of weeding out the “frivolous” users of trucks and large SUVs all by itself; without additional Gov’t regulation. Increasingly, more and more of the new buyers of trucks and SUVs are people which have a good use for such a vehicle. And increasingly the people that do not need such a vehicle are moving to hybrids. So progress is being made.


RE: Even bigger Hybrick
By hubajube on 3/16/2007 3:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your expectations are so friggin short of whats possible. Thats my point again. You guys take this shit, and accept it meekly. man what more can I say
Sigh! Why do you assume you know what my expectations are?


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