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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Actually
By foolsgambit11 on 8/26/2008 3:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree. The developing world has been growing at an amazing pace. Maybe some day we won't have to call them developing. The greater demand for a limited resource is probably responsible for most of the price of oil at this point (i.e. the 'speculation' price increase has just about settled out of the price per barrel). Increasing supply could help some.

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.

While that story argues that not much good would come of expanded drilling, it would be something. An approximately 3% increase in supply would probably cause a dramatically greater than 3% drop in cost. However, due to refining capacity restraints, not all of the that decrease in the price of oil would be seen in the price of gasoline.

But what if we could reduce demand for gasoline by 3%? Barack Obama claims that greater attention to vehicle operating efficiency (tune-ups, tire pressure, and driving style) would save as much gas as expanded drilling would produce. If we could drop global demand by 3%, we could see price drops substantially greater than 3%.

Both combined (the something for everyone approach) could have a dramatic, beneficial effect on the price of oil and gasoline. On the other hand, China, India, and the rest of the world haven't stopped growing. Much of Africa hasn't started growing rapidly, but it may. The increased supply will be offset by increased demand. So instead of a drop in price, even with offshore drilling, we shouldn't expect prices to drop. We can really only expect that prices will go up a little less than they would without drilling. But at least that's something.

Every little bit helps. On the individual level, improving fuel economy by keeping your car in shape and driving for fuel efficiency is part of the short-term solution. On the governmental level, increasing supply through drilling helps, and policies that reduce demand, like promoting hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles, are another part of the short-term solution.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki