Oracle of Delphi

FUTURE PRODUCTS -- GENERAL MOTORS

10 posts in this topic

Richard Truett

Automotive News

August 25, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

DETROIT — General Motors' heavy investments in powertrain technology are beginning to pay off in terms of better fuel economy.

-- GM is slowly building its hybrid business and will launch one new hybrid per quarter for the next four years.

-- The company has just opened an advanced powertrain testing laboratory in suburban Detroit.

-- The automaker is rolling out engine technologies that maintain performance while lowering emissions and fuel use.

-- GM has been adding gears to automatic transmissions, reducing the weight of its powertrains and designing engines capable of being mass produced with high-tech features such as direct fuel injection and turbochargers.

The template for GM's future engine strategy is already on the road in cars such as the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line. The engine used in those roadsters is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with direct fuel injection and a turbocharger. Horsepower is 260 — the most per liter of any production engine GM has ever made.

But Tom Stephens, executive vice president of GM's global powertrain, says more improvements are needed.

"I've got to make the lightest possible engines and transmissions," he says. "I've got to improve my combustion technology."

Future tech

Here are the plans for GM powertrains.

-- Direct injection, turbocharging and advanced valve actuation are being rolled out on smaller gasoline engines.

-- Automatic transmissions will have 6 speeds; GM will introduce dual-clutch transmissions.

-- HCCI and fuel cell technology could be ready by 2012.

Here's a peek at some of GM's upcoming powertrains:

Diesels: Two new diesel engines are in the works, one for trucks and one for cars. About a year from now, GM will launch one of the most radically new engines in its 100-year history: A 4.5-liter diesel V-8 will be offered in light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and in SUVs.

Because of the design — which eliminates the heavy cast iron exhaust manifolds and bulky intake manifold — GM cut about 75 pounds of weight, compared with a conventional diesel. A Silverado with the new engine should deliver a 25 percent fuel economy gain over the standard 5.7-liter gasoline engine and enable the truck to get around 26 mpg in city and highway driving.

There's also a V-6 diesel that GM is designing with VM Motori in Italy. The engine will be offered next year on European Cadillacs and could end up in North American vehicles.

Gasoline engines: Smaller and more powerful is the mantra at GM. In January, the automaker canceled its UV-8 (Ultra V-8) — a state-of-the-art, 32-valve V-8. The UV-8 would have replaced Cadillac's Northstar, a 4.6-liter engine with 292 hp. Cadillac's new 3.6-liter V-6 has direct fuel injection and is rated at 304 hp. Higher-performance versions could get a turbocharger and horsepower around 400.

In 2010, GM will launch first in Europe and then North America a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 120 hp. The engine will be used in the Chevrolet Cruze small car.

Hybrids: GM's hybrid powertrain architecture is set for the near future. The rear-wheel-drive Two Mode being used in the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade gets software tweaks in 2009 to improve fuel economy and performance.

Also in 2009, GM adds Two Mode versions of its pickups. A front-wheel-drive Two Mode hybrid will be available next year in the Saturn Vue crossover and could be used in most fwd vehicles. GM also plans plug-in hybrids. The Saturn Vue is expected to debut first around 2010.

In November 2010, GM plans to launch the Chevrolet Volt, which uses a different type of gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. The electric motor alone drives the wheels. The gasoline engine powers a generator that recharges the lithium ion battery pack.

Technology: GM hopes to be the first automaker to launch a vehicle with an HCCI engine. Homogeneous charge compression ignition enables a gasoline engine to run like a diesel at idle and at cruising speeds. The result is about a 15 percent fuel economy gain and dramatically lower emissions.

HCCI also is a key technology in terms of where GM wants to take gasoline engines before they start to be replaced by electric motors.

"Downsizing (displacement) with boosting is awesome," said GM powertrain exec Stephens, referring to the Solstice and Sky 2.0-liter engines. "But combining this with HCCI is really where I want to get to."

Fuel cells are also in GM's near future. The company is launching test fleets of Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in North America, Japan and Europe. GM's latest generation of fuel cell can fit in the space of a four-cylinder engine. The company expects to have fuel cells ready for mass production by 2012.

Transmissions: Nearly all of GM's automatics will be six-speeds.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/article/20080825/ANA03/808250310

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"In 2010, GM will launch first in Europe and then North America a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 120 hp. The engine will be used in the Chevrolet Cruze small car." really...not closer 150?

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"In 2010, GM will launch first in Europe and then North America a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 120 hp. The engine will be used in the Chevrolet Cruze small car." really...not closer 150?

Well, the truth is it's too early to peg the horsepower rating. A 1.4 liter engine with a turbocharger can safely and reliably make up to 210 hp. However, in a car targeting the average buyer with a nod towards fuel frugality power may not be the leading concern. This brings into light various concerns such as the ability to use 87 octane fuel and turbo lag. Also, depending on your driving style a more responsive engine with a 10~20 lb-ft less torque, but with a torque peak in the 1000s range may feel more powerful than one with more torque peaking higher up in the rev range. I know... I am married to a lady who probably has never broken the 3500rpm mark on her Civic's tach and probably never used more than 20~30% throttle on that 1.7 liter 115hp engine!

With direct injection and variable cam phasing making about 130hp/liter will mean a little lag running to about 18 psi of boost, torque peaking at 2000~2500 rpms and a diet of 91+ Octane. Going to 100hp/liter will get the torque peak down to 1600~2000 rpm with a practically zero lag ~9 psi and will likely open the door to 87 octane specification. If you want to incorporate stratified charge operation (aka lean burn), then power goes down even more due to special intake runner geometry and nitrogen storing catalysts which are not exactly consistent with the flow maximizing profile of an engine tuned for performance.

Even though I am not convinced that a 1.4 liter DI-Turbo will be any lighter or more economical than a 1.8 liter DI NA engine, the good thing about a turbocharged engine is that dialing up another 30 hp from the 1.4 liter turbo is really just a software change away. So... GM can have a super economical tune at 120hp but add a switch on the dash board. Push it and you get another 40 hp with premium lose a few MPGs in the city. The main difference is probably the electronic boost control map and using a fuel enrichment as an anti-detonant -- going from about 7 psi to about 15 psi and running richer mixtures than optimal.

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120HP should be enough in most of the cars the 1.4L is going to be in, but 150HP would be nice in some application.

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obviously one doesn't need 150 hp...~120hp with a huge flat torque curve with a 6 speed will be very ...thrifty. as long as the trans is build to use more power, 140hp just seems like a better idea. This makes even more sense if the 2.2L is out of the Cruze's options. assuming the cruze will actually an "SS" model, this HP gap is normal for europe, but seems like a knee-jerk to regs and gas prices...?

it's odd the 5.7L is still used for comparison with the diesel.

it mentions DI and others for more engines... but are there any plans now to put the GMC 4.9L DI engine into production or the like?

do we see the need for a W-body 6speed, or is [impala] just going to move to LWB EPII...in 10 years? lol

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obviously one doesn't need 150 hp...~120hp with a huge flat torque curve with a 6 speed will be very ...thrifty. as long as the trans is build to use more power, 140hp just seems like a better idea. This makes even more sense if the 2.2L is out of the Cruze's options. assuming the cruze will actually an "SS" model, this HP gap is normal for europe, but seems like a knee-jerk to regs and gas prices...?

it's odd the 5.7L is still used for comparison with the diesel.

it mentions DI and others for more engines... but are there any plans now to put the GMC 4.9L DI engine into production or the like?

do we see the need for a W-body 6speed, or is [impala] just going to move to LWB EPII...in 10 years? lol

Nah... the 1.4 can be the base engine and anyone who wants a hot compact can have an optional SS with the 260hp 2.0 liter LNF.

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Screw fuel economy. The direction of where the government and just about everyone else who jumps on the global warming bandwagon, is taking the Automotive industry makes me sick. The proposed and likely to pass cafe standards that are .going through the roof takes away choice After returning from Europe last month and seeing what the masses drive,I reject driving a 1.8 liter diesel. Everyone there of'course drives them because the fuel is so high. Without our leaders giving the American people choice(Cafe standards take away choice)we are sure to pack away V8's as non drivable collectables and model the Europeans. The car magazines and almost any other automotive news, talks about these little crap non performing commodity types of transportation. I am close to canceling all my subscpritions because I hate these cars that take away performance and safety. Am I crazy? don't other auto enthusiasts feel like I do? I don't see it anywhere. Everyone wants to be green,and as I see it cars aren't really polluting the air anymore,so lets work on extracting our oil because it belongs to us. And let us drive whatever the hell we want.

Edited by surgeont
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Fuel economy has little to do with global warming. My lawnmower is far more fuel miserly than my car (well the Honda at least) but emits far more greenhouse gasses due to its lack of a catalytic converter or other emissions controls.

You wouldn't drive a 1.8 diesel, but what about a 2.9 diesel? GM had one in the works right around the time this thread was originally posted that had about 135 more ft-lb of torque than the 5.3 V8 of the day.

Diesels can be plenty sporty, they just have to be geared for it.

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Fuel economy has little to do with global warming. My lawnmower is far more fuel miserly than my car (well the Honda at least) but emits far more greenhouse gasses due to its lack of a catalytic converter or other emissions controls.

You wouldn't drive a 1.8 diesel, but what about a 2.9 diesel? GM had one in the works right around the time this thread was originally posted that had about 135 more ft-lb of torque than the 5.3 V8 of the day.

Diesels can be plenty sporty, they just have to be geared for it.

Screw your lawnmower .......... Let the grass die plant rocks.

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You wouldn't drive a 1.8 diesel, but what about a 2.9 diesel? GM had one in the works right around the time this thread was originally posted that had about 135 more ft-lb of torque than the 5.3 V8 of the day.

You mean that VM Motori had it under works (possibly with a 3rd, specific, tune for a Cadillac application)....

And you will be able buy it (in Europe), in the Chrysler 300 / Lancia Thema :AH-HA:

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