General Motors has seen the writing on the walls when it comes to efficient vehicles. Although gas prices have dropped more than 15 cents in the past few weeks, Americans are still gravitating towards smaller vehicles that are easier on the wallet when the times comes to fill up the tank.
GM has spent the past few years working on a number of technologies to bring lightweight, advanced, and fuel efficient powertrains to its vehicles and a number of them are already available or will soon be hitting the general populous.
GM's reinvigorated powertrain efforts revolve around traditional gasoline engines, diesels, hybrids, and Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines according to Automotive News. GM is also looking to replace nearly all of its existing four and five-speed automatic transmissions with more efficient six-speed units.
For its gasoline engines -- much like Ford's efforts with its EcoBoost lineup -- GM is looking towards direct injection (DI) and turbocharging to extract V6 performance from four-cylinder engines and V8 performance from six-cylinder engines. GM's current turbocharged DI 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine can be found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Saturn Sky Red Line, Chevrolet HHR SS, and the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. In its current form, the engine delivers an impressive 260 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque.
In the near future, GM will apply turbocharging to its existing DI 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine to boost output from roughly 300 HP to around 400 HP. On the lower end of the spectrum, a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will finds its way into the Chevrolet Cruz -- the replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt -- in place of the existing 2.2-liter normally aspirated (NA) four-cylinder engine.
On the diesel front, GM points to its upcoming 4.5-liter V8 diesel engine which will be used in its light-duty pickups and full-size SUVs. According to GM, the engine itself is 75 pounds lighter than traditional diesel engines and will allow its hefty trucks to achieve 26 MPG on the highway.
When it comes to hybrids, GM is already making ground with its mild hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and Saturn Aura Green Line. Eventually, the company's more efficient two-mode hybrid system -- currently used in full-size pickups and SUVs -- will find its way into the Saturn Vue Green Line and GM's other mid-size cars and SUVs.
Finally, GM is also banking on HCCI technology to extract diesel-like fuel economy from a gasoline engine. DailyTech first brought you news of this technology when Mercedes unveiled its F700 research vehicle. According to GM, adding HCCI to a gasoline engine boost fuel economy by 15 percent and significantly reduced harmful tailpipe emissions.
GM hopes to stay a step ahead of its competitors with its upcoming powertrain advances; however, its competitors likely aren't sitting still when it comes to their own efforts in striving for greater performance and engine efficiency.
quote: I'm having a heck of a time finding the torque numbers, but the European Opel Astra 1.4L Turbo made 140hp out of that tiny little engine, and I saw references to a "weaker 125hp engine" making ~200NM, or about 145lb-ft.
quote: But in the end, the car is a tool, and so looks aren't as much of a selling point.
quote: I look at all the hybrid cars & damn near all of them on the market now, are not attractive at all to me especially the ugly Prius.
quote: Yet it's fuel mileage is 19/27, or a bit better than the 430 HP Chevrolet V8 at 16/26. Hmmm, V6 power at V8 mileage, I would say that was, ummm, well, NOT fuel efficient.
quote: I think the point he's making is that when it comes to cars, American manufacturers seem to make questionable decisions when it comes to equipping engines.
quote: At full throttle turbo engines have to run pretty rich to keep cylinder temps down
quote: I have a DI turbo engine. My target afrs are still around 12 under full boost. The compression ratio isn't stellar either.
quote: The point is: "GM goes high-tech to improve fuel efficiency" is a crap assertion.
quote: don't involve driving a gift box for a car (not even a shoe box)
quote: travel 1,192 miles on a single 60-litre tank of diesel...averaged a staggering 90mpg on a 9,000 mile road trip around Australia, securing a place in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records.
quote: It's impressive mileage to be sure. I'd want a little more than 90bhp though.
quote: The 2006 jetta tdi in my driveway has 100hp and is fun to drive
quote: Yanks still want large cars?
quote: And if they are not - why not?
quote: After all, they tried that "small car" crap here back in the 80's at the end of the last oil embargo. Americans, quite frankly, didn't want them.
quote: orth Americans have NOT bought into small cars at all, we've just redefined what we used to call a mid-sized car to be a 'subcompact'.
quote: But in the best-case scenario, Kaufmann said, the United States could only produce an additional two to four million barrels of offshore oil a day - not enough to shift the global supply-demand balance in a world market that now consumes about 86 million barrels a day and is growing fast. About a quarter of that consumption now occurs in the United States.
quote: I think if we started opening the taps on our oil reserves, we'd see prices around $3.00 a gallon for a while.
quote: Why are cars built with the capability of speeds of 200 km/h or more when the maximum speed limit I've seen is 120 km/h?