Over at AutoblogGreen, one of our colleagues has a report that General Motors may be introducing hybrid versions of its Lambda CUVs (the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia), as well as the GMC Sierra. Previously, GM had not indicated that any of these vehicles would be hybridized. Since the Sierra is built on the same GMT900 platform as the already available Tahoe/Yukon two-mode hybrids and the upcoming Escalade and Silverado hybrids, let's tackle that one first. The Silverado and Sierra are essentially the same vehicle with only visual differences, so this one is a no-brainer and it's only a matter of time before GMC announces a Sierra Hybrid.
The Lambda hybrids are a different story entirely. According to Brian Corbett, GM's spokesman for Hybrid programs, there are no immediate plans to build a hybrid version of the Lambdas. In fact, during a conversation we had with Bob Lutz at the LA Auto Show, he indicated that the existing front-wheel-drive, two-mode transmission would not fit in the Lambda's engine compartment as it wasn't wide enough. According to Corbett, a second generation version of the two-mode system was under development, but that is at least three to four years away from launch. The mild hybrid system that is currently installed on the Saturn Vue and Aura is designed for smaller vehicles and wouldn't be suitable for the larger Lambdas in its current form. A second-generation version of that system is also under development using a lithium-ion battery and should appear somewhere around 2010-11, which may work in these big wagons. Given the new fuel economy regs, GM is sure to do something with the Lambdas, although dropping in the Cadillac 2.9-liter diesel V-6 might be an even better option that would also help towing capability.
[Source: AutoblogGreen, General Motors]