NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM hybrid SUVs' fuel rating rivals Camry's

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GM hybrid SUVs' fuel rating rivals Camry's
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Richard Truett and Leslie J. Allen | Automotive News | September 26, 2007 - 3:11 pm EST


The hybrid versions of the full-sized 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs will deliver fuel economy gains of 50 percent in the city over the standard, non-hybrid models.

Tomorrow at the Texas State Fair, General Motors will announce the EPA fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the two-wheel drive versions of the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids.

Those fuel economy ratings are expected to give GM best-in-class fuel economy for large SUVs. The ratings also rival those of many midsize and large cars. For example, the 2WD Tahoe and Yukon match the four-cylinder Toyota Camry's 21 mpg city rating and beat the V-6 Camry's city rating by 2 mpg.

GM expects to sell 10,000 units per year, combined, of the hybrid SUVs. Prices won't be announced until closer to launch, but are expected to start in the low- to mid-$40,000 range.

The Tahoe and Yukon hybrids are the first vehicles to use the innovative Two Mode hybrid transmission GM developed with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. GM will also use the hybrid system in pickup trucks.

The EPA fuel economy figures are lower than some expected, but that's due to the agency's changing its test procedures to more accurately reflect real-world driving conditions.

The official EPA figures for both vehicles are 21 city/22 highway for 2WD models and 20 mpg city/20 mpg highway for 4WD models.

The Yukon and Tahoe hybrids are equipped with GM's cylinder deactivation system, which cuts off four of the V-8's cylinders when the vehicle reaches highway cruising speeds. They have lightweight body panels and wind-cheating bumper covers.

The 2008 Yukon Hybrid goes on sale in early November.

The two-mode hybrid is a full hybrid, meaning the Tahoe and Yukon can drive entirely on electricity. GM's two-mode hybrids can go up to 32 miles per hour using just electricity. At higher speeds, the two-mode system uses either all gasoline or a combination of fuel and electric propulsion.

GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW invested $1 billion in the Two Mode system.

"This is something that really changes the game," said Gary White, GM vice president and vehicle line executive for full-sized vehicle development team.

Tahoe and Yukon hybrids are by far the most fuel-efficient large SUVs on the market. By comparison, the two-wheel drive 2008 Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 and the two-wheel drive Ford Expedition all get EPA ratings of 12 city and 18 highway. The EPA has not released figures for the 2008 Toyota Sequoia.

The Nissan and Infiniti ratings are for the 5.6-liter V-8 and the Expedition rating is for the 5.4-liter V-8. GM's Two Mode hybrid SUVs have a 6.0-liter V-8 engine.

GM is also planning to use the Two Mode system in its Silverado and Sierra pickups. The Dodge Durango will use the Two Mode system next year, and Mercedes-Benz and BMW will use their versions in the ML 450 and X6 SUVs.

Jamie LaReau contributed to this report.

Two Mode Specifications
The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon Hybrid tow like SUVs, but are no more thirsty than a midsized car.
Price: Low-to-mid $40,000 range
City/Highway EPA Ratings: 21/22 (two-wheel drive); 20/20 (four-wheel drive)
Engine: 6.0-liter, V-8
Horsepower: 332 hp
Torque: 367 pounds-feet
Transmission: Two Mode hybrid/four speed automatic
Batteries: 300-volt nickel-metal hydride for hybrid system; 12 volt for accessories
Towing capacity: 6,200 pounds (2WD); 6,000 pounds (4WD)
Curb weight: 5,541 (2WD); 5,787 (4WD)

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OMG 21 mpg city????????????????

that rocks!!!!!!!!

Almost twice the Nissan twins and the Ford Explorer! Excellent. My HHR gets 21 in the city for comparison and I am more than happy.

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i wonder how much the 4wd system loses. but man, this rocks. GM should be able to really rub some noses in this but as usual the hippie press will turn this around against GM.

if the armada gets 12 mpg......15,000 miles divided by 12 = 1250 gallons

tahoe.......21mpg......15,000 % 21 = 714 gallons........

that's over 500 gallons of gas saved a year. drive more, save more. wow

Edited by regfootball
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I wonder what it would get if it used the 5.3?

+1 ... if it's an Al 5.3 (part of the weight savings)

so when is someone going to shoehorn this powertrain into a new Canyon/CO. (can't put Co, that'd be a cobalt. hahah)

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but as usual the hippie press will turn this around against GM.

Consevative commentator Jim Crammer

There’s no real reasons to make cars here.

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I wonder what it would get if it used the 5.3?

Maybe less, because I'm thinking there HAS to be a reason for using the more powerful 6.0L, and not just for that power. The two actually get pretty similar mileage in current 1/2-ton models, at least for some people.

That said, these 2-mode Tahoes and Yukons are only going to come in one mostly loaded trim level, to simplify things, and STILL not even a guess as to price. But, current models with the same level of equipment are in the mid to high 40's, so I'm thinking at the bare minimum, they'll be around $45k.

Great system, but should be a very niche market...well, except for certain crowds who love big SUV's and now will think they're doing good for the world with a Hybrid model, regardless of its actual performance.

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Consevative commentator Jim Crammer

Cramer's a Democratic liberal who got wealthy managing a hedge fund.
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the 6.0L is a better & lighter engine and GM saves money b/c it can be used across all three hybrid SUV's. Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade. It would make no sense to develop and test 2 seperate engines for hybrid use right away. the 5.3L is too weak for the hybrid Escalade.

GM is going to sell every single one of these puppies. I hope they are prepared to sell more than 10k a year. I doubt this would be a "niche" market.

Imagine what they'll do for the lambda triplets.

Edited by jbartley
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I don't think 20 mpg is anything to write home about, it is only 3-4 mpg better than the average of the Acadia or Tahoe, at higher cost. And it may match the city rating of some cars, but cars can get near 30 mpg highway, which blow away the Tahoe hybrid. I think they should have used an engine smaller than 6 liters, 4.8 or 5.3 liter. I'd like to see this on some smaller vehicles and them make average 30 mpg, and a 40+ mpg car that isn't the Volt. I don't get why Mercedes can do a 42 mpg S-class diesel-hybrid, a 33 mpg ML350 hybrid with 340 hp and GM has a 20 mpg Tahoe.

The Tahoe hybrid is like the Lexus LS600h. The Lexus LS460 accelerates faster due to much less weight, and it gets 18/27 mpg, vs 20/22 for the hybrid. The hybrid doesn't add any benefit on that car, at least it adds a little bit on the Tahoe, but I'd like to see more.

Edited by smk4565
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I too would like to have seen them use the 5.3.

and I wonder if BMW will get raked over the coals for using a 4-speed in the X6 hybrid like some people here have done to GM for the Tahoe Hybrid.

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For a 6.0L V8 that is great, but I thought the 5.3's in last years Tahoe got around 20 too right?

you talking 20 city or highway?

I don't think 20 mpg is anything to write home about, it is only 3-4 mpg better than the average of the Acadia or Tahoe, at higher cost. And it may match the city rating of some cars, but cars can get near 30 mpg highway, which blow away the Tahoe hybrid. I think they should have used an engine smaller than 6 liters, 4.8 or 5.3 liter. I'd like to see this on some smaller vehicles and them make average 30 mpg, and a 40+ mpg car that isn't the Volt. I don't get why Mercedes can do a 42 mpg S-class diesel-hybrid, a 33 mpg ML350 hybrid with 340 hp and GM has a 20 mpg Tahoe.

The Tahoe hybrid is like the Lexus LS600h. The Lexus LS460 accelerates faster due to much less weight, and it gets 18/27 mpg, vs 20/22 for the hybrid. The hybrid doesn't add any benefit on that car, at least it adds a little bit on the Tahoe, but I'd like to see more.

If you're looking for ultimate mpgs, then you're right - a car is the way to go. A car can't do everything a truck can, so it's apples to oranges if you need a truck. (granted, some people buy trucks without needing them) A truck (and I mean a REAL truck, with real power to do real work) that can get 20mpg city is a huge thing. 3-4mpg over 16 is huge percentage-wise. I expect it is larger percentage-wise than if you built a car exactly like the prius, except non-hybrid, and compared the two.

In mpg, percentage improvements are far more important than the # increase in mpg. Let's say hybrid A moves mpg's from 15 to 20. That's a 33% imrovement. Let's say hybrid B moves mpg's from 40 to 50. That's a 25% improvement. While hybrid B is the better choice *if it meets your needs*, hybrid A is doing more to help the environment, and more to save the owner money, if you assume the same number of vehicle sales.

Comparing Mercedes cars and Lexus SUVs to hybrid *real trucks* is apples to oranges. While it's frustrating to not have a way to directly compare the hybrids because they're so different, it's great, because that means that more vehicle types are getting hybrid options. Of course, those who still think that hybrids have absolutely no good reason to exist still have their non-hybrid options.

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I've always thought the estimated 25% improvement wasn't much to talk about. The latest 50% improvement in city MPG claim is much better, and is definitely on par with other full hybrids.

2008 EPA ratings for city...

Tahoe 2WD: 14 MPG

Tahoe Hybrid 2WD: 21 MPG

+50%

Altima: 23 MPG

Altima Hybrid: 35 MPG

+52%

Camry: 21 MPG

Camry Hybrid: 33 MPG

+57%

RX350 AWD/Highlander AWD: 17 MPG

RX400h AWD/Highlander Hybrid (AWD): 27 MPG

+59%

Yaris: 29 MPG

Prius: 48 MPG

+66%

Escape FWD: 20 MPG

Escape Hybrid FWD: 34 MPG

+70%

And all of them have improved performance in addition to economy. These hybrid things really are an interesting curiosity.

Edited by empowah
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I too would like to have seen them use the 5.3.

and I wonder if BMW will get raked over the coals for using a 4-speed in the X6 hybrid like some people here have done to GM for the Tahoe Hybrid.

i don't know what you're talking about. BMW's are a gift from god, and the x6 isn't an suv, it's a four-door-coupe-non-suv-activity-vehicle so it doesn't need a six-spead, duh! lol.

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Percentages don't even tell the whole story.

Example

15000 miles

Tahoe 2WD

15000/14mpg= 1071 Gallons per year

Tahoe 2WD Hybrid

15000/21= 714

357 Gallons saved per year

Compared to car B

Car B

15000/23mpg= 652 Gallons

Car B hybrid

15000/50mpg= 300 Gallons per year

352 Gallons saved

What that means is, a Hybrid Tahoe getting a 50% increase in fuel economy, saves more gallons per year than a car going from 23mpg to 50mpg, which percentage wise, is a 117% increase in fuel economy.

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Cramer's a Democratic liberal who got wealthy managing a hedge fund.

Boooooyaaaaahhh!!! :P

And booyah to the SUVs ratings too! I hope FWD versions are not too far off, so the Lambdas and EpII can benefit from the technology as well.

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