• Jan 6th 2010 at 6:01PM
  • 34
If you want to maximize you fuel efficiency in the city, your best bet is probably a hybrid. On the flip side of the coin, if you do most of your driving on the open road, diesel engines tend to be much more economical than their gasoline-powered siblings. What if you could combine the two, though, and end up with the best of both worlds?

While it would hardly be the first automaker to embark down that path, Autocar is reporting that General Motors is working on a diesel hybrid powertrain that could see production in various Opel and Vauxhall models (such as the Astra and Insignia) sometime after 2012. Sounds good, right? Of course, there are problems to work out.

One thing that's holding all major automakers back from diesel hybrids are both development and production costs, which can be substantial since both diesels and hybrids already carry a premium over gasoline-burning engines. Maurizio Cisternino, GM of Europe's advanced technology chief engineer, has reportedly told the UK publication that the automaker is aiming for a premium of 1,000 euros (£880 or about $1,400 U.S. at current exchange rates) for the diesel hybrid over traditional hybrids, something that would be quite an achievement.

If the hybrid powertrain does come to fruition, expect it to be paired with GM's upcoming 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, a special version of which is said to be prepared with computer controls that are compatible with The General's hybrid systems. It's also possible that a diesel engine will at some point be coupled to the automaker's Voltec powertrain as seen in the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the idea of a diesel-hybrid, and if they can make some big leaps like powering the turbos with the electric motors and keep the weight down diesels being heavier (usually) then it would be a success no matter the price because the efficency would be there, plus MAKE IT PERFORM!
      • 5 Years Ago
      If GM gets this going, that'll be a nice feather in their cap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      1,000 euros premium over a gas hybrid? Only if GM is HEAVILY subsidizing it and losing money on every one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If it was a Volt with a diesel... then isn't that what the Eagle iHammer Thrust was? It was a diesel engine powering an electric motor which is what drove the wheels.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's how to recoup the $1500....make the car come standard with the nav system that costs $70 to install but would be a $1400 option and charge for it. Then the markup offsets the cost of the driveline upgrade....
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        Making another vehicle that runs on petroleum is what convinced you they are taking the idea of peak oil seriously?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "GM working on hybrids" = Opel engineers in Germany are working on hybrids - GM takes the cred...but nothing new to this.

        The old slogan read: The technology Opel and Saab engineers are working on will
        much later be sold as "New GM developed" in the States...
        Who do they think we are...fools?

        I'm not bitter...no.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry pixel, you're wrong.

        "So how do you know caddy!?"

        Do a little research.. where does GM develop the two mode hybrid powertrains? Europe? NOPE. Try Pontiac, MI.

        Europe may be prepping the diesel engine, but the NVH issues and the actual transmission (i.e. hybrid) integration will be done here. It's only coming from GM of Europe because the diesel suppliers are located there.

        [OMG, fact on Autoblog!]
        • 5 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7?,

        I think that the US "hybrid" development is for old platforms converted to hybrid powertrains...like for trucks and so on.

        The core tech parts for Voltec-platform is done in Germany (Opel in Russelsheim), and head of the technical development is a Opel guy by the name Frank Weber...apparently he is flying between Russelsheim and Detroit quite frequently.

        And the Swedish Saab-team in Trollhattan (branded GM Powertrain for marketing reasons), has done much of the development of the very advanced electrical control system and units that manages the integration of electrial engine and combustion engine and so on the Voltec architechture...

        Much battery development with durability testing for the Voltec has been done by Opel in Mainz-Kastel otside Russelsheim.

        But the marketing team is mainly US based...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you have any info to back that assumption up?
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is the first indication to me that GM is finally taking Peak Oil seriously. Management may have a solution, at least for cars, to an increase in world demand.

        Now, what about those SUV and Trucks?
        They need to develop some Real Fuel Economy Numbers for Trucks as well.
        • 5 Years Ago

        If only GM had any kind of history creating a diesel hybrid:

        They all know how to do it. It's just a matter of making it profitable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Finally? Finally what? GM hybrids aren't exactly the technological or fuel economy leaders. GM's European diesels aren't exactly the technological or fuel economy leaders.

        So you're stoked that we'll see a mild hybrid iteration of a diesel car that will most likely get comparable mileage to other carmaker's regular diesel cars?

        • 5 Years Ago
        A friend of mine's uncle does Diesels for GM in Michigan. So it's not certain the Diesel engine is being done in Europe either.

        I hope pixel perhaps has some real info and not just assumptions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Americans don't like diesel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL it's nice to see him fighting with someone else for a change.

        Americans don't like diesel? If I could get a turbodiesel Lexus I'd buy a diesel, and I'm American. Oh wait, no I'm not because I like Lexus. I forgot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Generally Americans don't like diesels because of the diesels they were offered some 30yrs ago. God forbid that technology makes engines better. I know my gas engine is many times better than what I'd have been driving 30yrs ago as well.

        But, diesel is a low seller because the supply is not there, not necessarily because the demand is not there. That low supply also continues to drive the bad perception people have of diesels because they are not subject to the advances of the technology.

        Who sells diesel cars in the US currently? VW, Audi, M-B, and BMW. Of those 3, which offers an affordable diesel option? VW.

        Has VW ever had a problem selling their TDI cars? No.

        If other automakers would have stepped up the plate and actually sold diesels here instead of saying they would then pulling away, I don't doubt that more Americans would buy diesels and perceptions would change that much more quickly.

        I am seriously considering a diesel vehicle for my next purchase (probably still a few years down the road) As it stands, I'd be happy with a Golf TDI or even an A3 TDI (though it would be even better if they offered the TDI + quattro). I'd also have considered a diesel Subaru, but Subaru was one of the manufacturers that pulled the plug on diesels for the US before they even got here. I've never owned a diesel before, but my style of driving, combined with the efficiency of a diesel seems to be the perfect fit for me.

        I know I'm only one person, but I have no doubt that there are enough of us out here to give diesel cars a good business case in the US. The manufacturers just need to have faith and actually believe in it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then Americans are dumb.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Let me guess. You are a pretentious European tw@t who sees himself as superior to everyone else in the world.
        • 5 Years Ago
        mqa - You're a complete tw@t. Piss off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep, because the whole MPG (Miles Per Gallon) was designed to prevent easy comprehension of a car's fuel consumption.

        Why the hell does the number indicate miles and not amount of fuel?

        Do you think the average person knows how much fuel he burns on a 100 mile trip if he's told his car gets 17mpg?

        How about gallons /100miles?
        liters/ 100km?

        What we have now is not better than saying a car gets 1 mile per minute on 1 oz of gas at constant speed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow. One American likes diesel. And I'm sure you could find a few thousand more. It's a generalization, and it's generally true. Generally, Americans do not like diesel. That is why diesel autos are not widely sold in the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Price premium? Then make it for Cadillac.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, however it would be in GM's best interest to trickle that technology down through the remainder of their brands as well. Further, if they can do this and not have it sound like a tractor that would be great, or, at the very least, insulate the engine bay and cabin enough so that the sound is no louder than a normal petrol engine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree wholeheartedly. I would've hoped the Volt followed the same thought considering its price premium as well...but too late for that.

        As for this one, I think starting out at Cadillac to boost the technological image of Cadillac would help as well as ensuring that the losses aren't that great, per vehicle. And then, gradually putting it into the other models would work well.

        I hope it's not a dedicated system as the Volt powertrain is; it'd really hurt them if they are unable to adapt it to other vehicles easily and at a low cost.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Doesn't BMW have a similar powerplant under development? I seem to recall that they had it in an X5 and it was turning in MPG of 65-75 in the combined cycle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All manufacturers work on diesel hybrids, if you aint got one you're going to suffer badly. But unlike GM they'll wait until it's finished and tested until they go out and shout "look what we have".
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM doesn't even know what a diesel engine is! GM cars have always used isuzu diesel and after 1999 Fiat affaire,they started using Fiat diesels..the diesel they're using now,in europe are 90% coming from Fiat, GM Europe Powertrain is headquartered in Turin,Italy,just where it was during the 5 years long GM-Fiat alliance!
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