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Giving birth to a new powertrain architecture is neither easy nor inexpensive, as GM, DaimlerChrysler, and BMW are demonstrating by dropping $1B on their "two-mode" hybrid technology. The costs for developing the transmission will not be evenly divided among the manufacturers, but instead will be split according to the number of units that each intends to consume. GM and DCX will opt for both RWD and FWD versions, while the boys from Bavaria are only interested in driving the rear wheels (presumably, we will not see a hybrid Mini). GM will build the RWD version, while DCX is likely to tackle the FWD transaxle.

The system distinguishes itself from currently available system by offering operation that's similar to Toyota's electronic CVT (eCVT, or "power-split device") during standing starts and at low speeds (where internal combustion engines cannot operate in an efficient manner), but then offering a transition to stepped-gear operation at higher speeds. The system is said to be more suitable for operation at typical highway speeds, as it doesn't require the large amount of electrical coupling that is currently required by single-ratio eCVTs. It also allows for heavy towing, which makes it particularly useful for trucks and SUVs.

[Source: Automotive News; subscription required]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hey Zo,

      I didn't say one thing about public transportation, so don't put words in my mouth.

      By tiny cars, I just don't mean Smart. I mean Fiats, Renaults, VW Polos, MB A and B class, etc. The fact is the average car in Europe, whether it's gas or diesel, is a lot smaller and more fuel efficient than the average vehicle here. Are you going to argue with that?

      In Europe your car is taxed based on engine capacity and that's why most people try to keep the capacity under 2 liters.

      You say "plus 70% of all the MBs and BMW sold have v6 or less". BMW simply doesn't offer "less" here. Their smallest engine is a 6-cylinder and while Mini is owned by BMW it is not a BMW. And I applaud them for making it and bringing it here, eventhough their 4-cylinder is not one of the cleanest and most efficient and they are in the process of updating that.

      MB and BMW make 4-cylinder and small 6-cylinder cars too, but we just get too many of those here. Because they know the consumer culture here is such that they can sell cars with the biggest engine here, whereas in Europe the governments and people are a lot more conscious about saving energy. And they and Audi get into these stupid horse power wars, instead of trying to come up innovations that address the more pressing problem of oil dependency and enviromental degradation. When hybrids first came out here, these companies all poopooed it as a gimmick and now they are scrambling to respond to consumer demand.

      About SUVs, to me the primary reason why someone buys a SUV over a car should be that he has a need to go offroad or on dirt roads on a regular basis and that was the case in early 90's before the SUV craze started. These vehicle waste a precious nonrenewable resource, pollute too much and are dangerous to cars around them and they are harsher on the infrastructure as they are heavier. Look at the temperatures this summer, Katrina and goodness know what's in store next. Even Bush admits that America is "addicted to oil".

      I have a feeling that people are waking up and realizing that this problem needs to be solved from the grassroots, not by the gov't or big dinosaur auto companies. Look at the record inventories of unsold SUV's and how hybrids and small cars are flying off the dealer lots. I'm sure most people who buy hybrids aren't hurting for cash for gas, but are more interested in not harming the environment than showing off in their MBs and BMWs.

      About EPA, frankly I find their ratings just slightly overoptimistic, I own a Corolla and a VW Golf and with both I manage to get close to the hwy number, if I drive mostly on hwys (but I do 70 not 55). Besides, if their numbers are off they would be off for everyone not just one set of cars.
      • 9 Years Ago
      PS: Lord knows we need more efficient vehicles that people will actually buy and that will meet their needs. I know that my situation dictates that I need an SUV with the ability to handle a decent amount of cargo and that can tow a moderate load. A Prius can do neither, so it doesn't matter how good the mileage is.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hey justme, I would be willing to bet the farm that the amount of pollution generated by the gasoline engines in the US is a small fraction of what the diesels in Europe make. There are an estimated 200 millon passenger vehicles in the US, of which only about 3 percent (estimated) are diesel, where as there are about 20 million passenger vehicles in Europe of which 60% are diesel.

      According to some quick research I did, it takes about 25% more oil to produce a gallon of diesel than gasoline, but diesel engines are supposedly about 30% more fuel efficient than a comparable gas engine. That leaves a net benefit of 5% in effiency. The bad news is that diesel engines emit an estimated 17% more pollution.

      The point to all of this is that the European autos, although more efficient mileage wise, are actually worse for the environment. What say you to that?
      • 7 Years Ago
      hi there, I use water to fuel a car as a supplement to gasoline. In fact, very little water is needed, only one quart of water provides over 1800 gallons of HHO gas which can literally last for months and significantly increase your car fuel efficiently, improve emissions quality, and save money. I found the way through this site http://www.runcarsonwater.us i really recommend it to everybody, it's a nice eBook where you can find the instructions on how to do it! take a look.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Ben Anderson
      Rhode Island
      1994 Truck
      349,000 Miles


      I have a 1994 GMC Yukon GT that has 349,000 miles and I have never touched the engine or transmission.

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      • 9 Years Ago
      If you can't read the jump you can read the same thing here> http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060811/FREE/60811001/1041
      • 9 Years Ago
      #8 I drive a modified 257whp 325i sedan with God's own manual transmission. I average about 400 miles to a tank of gas throughout my driving cycle. That correlates to about 23mpg combined, while my range jumps to almost 500 miles on road trips.

      My BMW doesn't feel like a "gas guzzling prestige-mobile." I only fill up three times/month or less. The only showing off I do is through my absence at the gas station.

      Good point about America's conspicuous consumption, though. The Bimmer is my only car, and I always walk or ride my bike for local stuff whenever I can. Keeps me in shape.
      • 9 Years Ago
      my wife and i recently took a trip from Tulsa,Ok to MESA VERDE park in Colorado.. also ROYAL GORGE.. mountainous terrain.. our trip lasted 2218 miles and we used 70 gallons of reg. unleaded.. you figure the mileage... by the way we were driving her 99 BUICK LESABRE...
      • 9 Years Ago
      How do you think it 'takes' 25% more oil to produce diesel fuel? Diesel requires less refining to make than gasoline, and diesel has 10% more energy per gallon than gas.
      Peak thermal effeciency of a naturaly aspirated diesel versus natural aspirated gasoline engine isn't that much (both are under 50%) but the turbocharger helps extract lost heat energy.
      and you don't always drive at full load, so the lean combustion of the diesel helps mileage, and also the no throttling helps.
      Sure Valvetronic is good, but the throttling has moved from the throttle blade to the valves, which is good for mixture preparation/fuel atomization, and engine responsiveness.
      and European diesel looks like bottled water, US diesel looks like piss.
      and pollutants, C02 and H20 are globally insulating gases (the sun does the global warming, so the correct term is global insulating)
      last time I checked if you get 24mpg in a gas car and 40mpg in a diesel, that is a big difference.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #3 "the main thing I like about automatics is that they reduce head-bobbing to a minimum)."

      uhmmm. Depending on the car and the automatic, the head bobbing can be even worse -- many trucks and SUVs. As for a manual, unless the car is under powered, if the driver knows how to shift properly, there is little to no head bobbing.

      Many people who have driven with others in a manual and then drive with me always comment to me, "how do you do that" because I can smoothly shift without the wiplash effect -- the art of the proper shift is lost to many people.

      Other than that, I agree with your comment.
      • 9 Years Ago
      jjaxon;

      Some of GM's mid and large sized sedans get very good highway mileage and are very roomy and comfortable.

      People who claim they need a 5,800 lb SUV to comfortably and safely take a highway trip might consider this.

      My point? Adding hybrid to large SUV adds weight (now up to 6,000 lb?) and complexity etc. For some people the best solution might be to buy something called a "car". This is similar to SUV but lighter, not as huge, and better aerodynamics.

      • 9 Years Ago
      A few months ago I made an attempt at explaining this system here:

      http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31539&highlight=dual+mode

      As for fuel economy information, I'm collecting real-world information here:

      http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php
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