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Buick to launch its next generation BAS hybrid system

It's no doubt impressive when today's compact sedans -- which are loaded down with hundreds of pounds of safety gear and chassis reinforcements not found on vehicles from decades past -- top the 40 mpg mark. However, it's even more impressive when midsize sedans approach that mark as well.

You know about the compact 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2011 Hyundai Elantra which can hit 40+ mpg on the highway. Hyundai's 2011 Sonata midsize sedan can achieve 35 mpg on the highway in its base configuration. GM is now flaunting its 2012 LaCrosse which will come standard with eAssist technology (which will provide up to 37 mpg on the highway) and will be priced at roughly $30,000.

“It’s a very integrated powertrain system, with no compromises in driving performance, shift quality or ride and handling,” said Daryl Wilson, LaCrosse lead development engineer. “We believe this combination points to the future of vehicles powered primarily by an internal combustion engine.”

The LaCrosse will be powered by a traditional 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine which generates 180 hp. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. However, GM also includes its next generation "mild hybrid" system which it calls eAssist. On the LaCrosse, the eAssist electric motor provides an additional 15 hp and 79 pound-feet of torque during acceleration. Other features to improve fuel economy include an engine start/stop function and regenerative braking.

A 115V lithium-ion battery mounted in the trunk powers the electric motor, but it encroaches on cargo-hauling capabilities. Maximum cargo capacity drops from an already lackluster 13.3 cu ft to just 10.9 cu ft.

However, the benefits in fuel economy are huge. EPA ratings jump from 19/30 mpg (city/highway) to an impressive 25/37 mpg. The city rating falls short of Lincoln's MKZ Hybrid which pulls in an impressive 41 mpg, but that vehicle is priced higher at $35,180.

“The eAssist system is more than just the next-generation BAS system. The ability to integrate regenerative braking with the latest lithium-ion battery technology creates a system that delivers significant fuel-efficiency gains that customers will enjoy,” said Steve Poulos, global chief engineer of the eAssist system. “Being able to provide electric boost to the powertrain system during heavy acceleration and grade driving enables the LaCrosse transmission to operate more efficiently, while the added functionality of engine start-stop and fuel shut-off during deceleration provides added fuel savings.” 

Official pricing and availability of the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist should be available closer to its launch later next year.

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RE: But it's a GM....
By torpor on 11/15/2010 3:20:13 PM , Rating: 1
I would.

Think of it this way: do you recall the MPG number that was published for the Chevy Volt?

Do you think that number has anything to do with real fuel usage?

These cars are both great examples of engineering for the test. In reality, an electric booster like in the LaCrosse will have little effect on highway efficiency; that should be obvious by how they claim the electric motor will be used.

The Volt suffers the same problem: if going only by the federal MPG test, it seems incredible. Do you think the 40-mile range on the Volt is because GM did careful market research to find the appropriate range of the bell curve of commute distance, handed that data off to engineers, who then used it to create a best-possible tradeoff of cost and technical capability to come up with the system they created?

Or did they just study the test and find a way to blow the curve?

If real efficiency was the thing, GM would do a turbo diesel. Or a full-time electric motor with a dedicated generator, like trains have used for years in an industry obsessed with fuel efficiency. Or some other HOLISITC answer that addresses the question of efficency as a full statement, rather than some odd bolt-on.

In the end, there's a good reason that car commercials don't talk about Miles Per Gallon, but rather Em Pee Gees. So people like you think that 7 more of them is really, really good. It's just building to the test; also known as marketing-driven engineering.

And, for all the political BS in the replies to my original post above, this is what I think the biggest problem with American companies is today. They think marketing is enough to make up for uncompetetive, marketing-feature-list driven products. All other problems stem from this one, because truly great products will make up for a lot of organizational failures. But the self-deception required to pull this sort of nonsense will create more problems than the biggest bailout can cure.

I will say that the posters' assumptions on my problems with GM are a great view into their own personal issues with industry....

RE: But it's a GM....
By Spuke on 11/15/2010 4:10:45 PM , Rating: 2
So people like you think that 7 more of them is really, really good.
I average 27 mpg. I put an average of 11.8 gallons on each fill. That's a range of 318.6 miles. If I got 7 more mpg, that would put me at 34 mpg and 401.2 miles. That's an extra two days without filling at the same price point on commutes. Pretty significant to me.

RE: But it's a GM....
By torpor on 11/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: But it's a GM....
By Spuke on 11/15/2010 5:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
You are exactly the person I called out with the phrase "Em Pee Gee". Thank you for so clearly proving my point.
I'm not familiar at all with the "MPG" test. I only know mpg in the popular use. Where exactly am I being fooled again? If a carmaker advertises 7 more mpg. How is that NOT 7 more mpg? And if I get 7 more mpg, how is that not better? There's no slight of hand here. 7 more mpg is 7 more mpg. My car is rated 19/28 from the EPA. I average 27. 28 is not difficult to do. 29 is not difficult. I've gotten 33 mpg but that takes some effort. If I got 7 more as I said before, that would be better.

Instead of sitting on the elitist mountain with what you know, clue us in. Otherwise, what you know is irrelevant because it serves no purpose other than to overinflate your ego.

RE: But it's a GM....
By torpor on 11/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: But it's a GM....
By theapparition on 11/15/2010 6:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
That tinfoil hat on securely?

The manufacturers don't have to spy. The EPA divulges the conditions of the test directly to them. They use that data to optimize thier designs.

Well whooptie-frickn-doo.

You have your panties in a bunch over this? Get a life and worry about more signifigant problems.

While not perfect, would you prefer the wild west of every manufacturer rating things to thier own internal cycle? That used to happen (on both power and fuel economy) and it was regulated. All for the better.

Take a look at unregulated markets such as LCD panels. Apparently, 10ns GTG times and 1bazillion:1 contrast ratios are commonplace.

Standardized testing is a good thing. Can't believe you are that daft.

RE: But it's a GM....
By theapparition on 11/15/2010 6:03:23 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, since when was MPG not MPG?

I understand what this guy was attempting to get out. That the EPA cycle used to calculate the advertised MPG rating doesn't correlate to real life MPG. But he fails miserably.

Driving style, conditions, going uphill both ways all affect real life MPG. If he knew anything about scientific testing, you have to have a control. A standard to measure against.

While an individuals real life MPG may vary from tested (and the tests are not perfect), it's only a common baseline to compare vehicles against each other. That's all. Depending on driving style and use, you can get better or worse than the rating, but it doesn't change the fact that if a model is 50% more efficient than another, there is a good chance that you'll get 50% better fuel economy.

But instead, everything is a conspiracy to manipulate the populace into deception.

RE: But it's a GM....
By rvd2008 on 11/15/2010 4:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
GM would do ... a full-time electric motor with a dedicated generator

Hm, sounds like Volt to me . Not that I like it - IMHO overkill for some a small car. Totally "HOLISTIC" and overpriced approach.
Why not diesel? Dunno, probably not easy/cheap/rewarding?

RE: But it's a GM....
By torpor on 11/15/2010 5:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
I see you only needed about a month to forget...

It's no such thing.

It's not even close.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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