Print 103 comment(s) - last by randomly.. on Aug 29 at 12:13 PM

The upcoming Chevrolet Cruze will use a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine.

The Pontiac Solstice GXP uses a turbocharged, direct injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
GM goes high-tech to improve fuel efficiency

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.

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RE: Good to see
By HinderedHindsight on 8/26/2008 1:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
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. I'll use Ford as an alternate example to GM cars

For the longest time Ford had a solid 200 HP V6 3.0 24 Valve DOHC Yamaha based engine (since the mid 90's). They still use it today in a variety of vehicles (Fusion, Taurus, Escape) and it has been can reach 240 HP without a turbo.

Yet, their cash pony, the Mustang, they continue to equip a noisy 4.0 liter SOHC (bored out from a 3.8 liter they used to use in older Mustangs which only made 150 HP) which does 210 HP.

By all accounts, the 4 liter is less fuel efficient and more costly to produce, and is slower than the 3 liter depending on the vehicle you're sitting in.

This seems to be a staple of American car manufacturing: lots of different engines, instead of fine tuning one platform and using it in a variety of applications. They even have a very powerful and fairly efficient/cheap to produce 3.5 liter, yet they continue to invest almost every year in improving the underpinnings (suspension, gearing ratios, etc) and redesigning the exterior of the vehicle rather than upgrading the platform and giving it a more competitive edge.

And this comes from a person who loves the Mustang as a car and a staple of American history.

RE: Good to see
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 1:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware that the Duratec 30 was a Yamaha design. As far as I know, the Duratec 30 was developed by Ford.

Now, the 3.0 liter 220HP V6 used in the first and second generation Taurus SHO was indeed Yamaha designed as was the 3.4 liter V8 used in the third generation SHO.

RE: Good to see
By HinderedHindsight on 8/26/2008 2:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that the Duratec wasn't directly developed by Yamaha, but it was based off of the same design from those original SHO's. I was just as surprised to find that out the Duratec in my old 2001 Taurus.

Yet another sad mistake on the part of Ford. Because the 3.4 liter V8 was much heavier than the 3.0 V6 used in the first two SHO's, the third gen was a few tenths of a second slower to 60.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 3:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
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.
See Jimbo's post on CD's and frontal area. The Solstice's frontal area is why it gets worse mileage compared to say a Corvette. When you drop the same engine into the Cobalt, the mileage improves to 22/30.

RE: Good to see
By Alexvrb on 8/26/2008 11:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Cobalt gains 3 MPG in city and 2 on highway, and its because the cobalt SS has so much less drag than the Solstice? Gee, and here I was thinking about how the FWD Cobalt is geared less aggressively and is slower than its RWD Pontiac comrade.

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