• Jan 21st 2010 at 8:02AM
  • 24
2009 Chevrolet Silverado – Click above for high-res image gallery

Pickup trucks have always been a major component for any successful full-line automaker here in the United States, and, even though sales are down, it doesn't seem likely this will change any time soon. What will change, though, are the kinds of expectations truck buyers will have for their new rigs, and that includes improved fuel economy without a reduction in capability.

In order to meet these seemingly diametrically opposed objectives, General Motors will reportedly invest hundreds of millions of dollars into its truck platform in an effort to add a few precious miles per gallon to its fullsize Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

Included in the fuel-saving technology may be more than just tweaks to the engines and transmissions. For instance, Automotive News reports that The General has been working on an innovative grille that would boast electronically-operated openings that could improve aerodynamic efficiency when maximum engine cooling isn't needed. Such a system was first seen in concept form on the Cadillac Provoq crossover from the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado LT, Z71 Crew Cab. X07CT_SL085 (United States)
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  • Image Credit: null
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Extended Cab. X07CT_SL069 (United States)
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Extended Cab. X07CT_SL077 (United States)
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado LT, Z71 Crew Cab. X07CT_SL093 (United States)
  • 2007 GMC Sierra SLE Extended Cab. X07GM_SL070 (United States)
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ. X07CT_SL020 (United States)

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The General has been working on an innovative grille that would boast electronically-operated openings that could improve aerodynamic efficiency when maximum engine cooling isn't needed. Such a system was first seen in..."

      Wasn't an innovative grill that shut off when not needed introduced on a Rolls Royce... almost 100 years ago?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally its nice to see they started working on one story :

      Long back ,In home of a priest a sacred ceremony was happening. There was a cat in the home and there was more chances for the an to run over the appliances for the ceremony. So the priest brought a small cage and put the cat inside the cage and kept at the side of the ceremony place and did the ceremony. After this for all the ceremony he used to do this to avoid problems from the cat. The priest passed away, his son started the same and he too did the same. After some time the cat passed away and people thought the cat was an integral part of the ceremony. so people started search for a car which looks similar to the old cat and ceremony was postponed till they find a suitable cat. No sacred ceremony occurred till they found a similar cat

      Now the second story : There was a big soap company which makes bar soaps. One of the problems were from the manufacturing line they get a lot empty bins mixed with final product and it became a big customer issue. The company invented a scanner of empty boxes and employed a person to take care and verify the scanner data.

      The same problem occurred in small company and they put a fan over the manufacturing lane and adjusted its speed such that i can blow away empty bins.

      May be this is the next story they should teach teams before they shedding hundreds of millions. May a nice idea to move grill from front to a less aero effected area which can dissipate more heat to air and offer less air resistance and size the grill to a required one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      1) Reduce size of side-mirrors, make them more aerodynamic.
      2) Adjustable height of suspension
      3) Aerodynamic front fascia
      4) Recessed windshield wipers (under the edge of the hood)
      5) Use aerodynamic, lighter wheel designs
      6) Flat under body
      7) Tonneau cover
      8) Turbos
      9) Start-Stop

      There's many things that could be done...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or, just.. you know.. make 'em smaller?

        They put all the R&D into the Sierra and hang the Colorado out to dry. Why don't they put some effort into small trucks? There is very little fuel benefit to the Colorado in its current form, but my instinct is that it could be so much better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm an RVer of many years and know all too well about the horsepower and perhaps even more so in trucks, the torque wars that have gone on. But truck guys like to ride high in the saddle and have bragging rights. But realistically, few actually need the extra power and torque we've seen in the last few years. It's driven the cost of new trucks even higher and plunged fuel mileage lower. I get better fuel mileage in my big block gas that many of the big diesels today and that was one of their selling points.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was thinking something like the Volt power train concept (electric driven with a V6 engine to extend the range)

      My idea would have a strait frame with cavities that can hold battery-packs in. It would start with a 20 mile range, and have extra space for more miles.

      The vehicle will have four electric motors (one in each wheel) to propel it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A Mazda is a vehicle with a wankel engine.
      Most pick-ups are vehicles with a wankel driving.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What about a Mazda pickup? (grin)

        Yep, Mazda makes small pickups, similar to the Ford Ranger, and no, they don't have a Wankel rotary engine, neither does most other Mazda models. Mazda currently uses their Wankel rotary only in the RX series sports cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should be investing in alt energy companies that produce sustainable fuels in the $70-80 oil range. Like they did in Coskata and they could be doing with Great Plains- The Camelina Company or Sustainable Oils. There's nothing wrong with the ice, it just needs sustainable fuels running through it. Mr. Tibbs calls it "drop in replacement". Learn more at the BiofuelsDigest.
      I think GM still has it's head up it's arse. The 4-seat wonder called the Volt will have an extremely tough time dealing with the Prius....extremely to the tenth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's a fuel-saving idea - buy a car instead. There are plenty of people who need a pickup truck, but there seems to be even more people who buy a pickup truck who don't need one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Electric 4wd with traction control and hydraulic activated suspension could provide truck-like off road mobility at the touch of a switch and ultra-efficient energy use.
      • 5 Years Ago
      they should make two models one for posers who just drive a pickup because it makes them feel more manly but never actually do any work with it, just commute and one for working men who actually do physical work with their truck. The commuter version could have wider softer seats and more cupholders and a small 4 cylinder engine, and the real one could have upgraded engine and more durable seating, This way guys who just pose in their trucks wouldnt be wasting a bunch of gas for nothing, plus those guys wouldnt know a 4 cylinder from a V8 on their best day
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm, that's odd, fueleconomy.gov shows fuel economy numbers for a 4x4 Tacoma with the 2.7L 4cyl and a 5spd manual. Not sure how you get one though. On Toyota's website I tried to build one and every time I chose the 4cyl, it kept telling me I have to change back to 4x2 and add the automatic transmission.

        You can, however, buy a Chevy Colorado (or GMC Canyon) with 4wd and a 4cyl engine if you'd like. fueleconomy.gov shows the availability and the Chevy website let me build one too.

        As far as building two seperate trucks, one for poseurs and one for people who use them, it's kind of been done before. Honda builds the Ridgeline which is unibody and virtually no one considers a real truck. What's happened? People continued to buy real trucks instead and the Ridgeline is a sales failure.

        Regardless of what purchases you think they should make, people will still buy real trucks regardless of whether they need them or not. If that's what they want to buy, that's what they will buy, whether it be status, style, or actual need. Same reason people buy a 7-Series, S-Class, A8 etc. How many of them "need" such a car? They want them, so they buy them. If we all bought cars based on need, there'd be no luxury or sports car makers or any number of other specialty vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @dave R
        The tacoma requires the 4.0L 6 cyl upgrade in order for the 4x4 trim. Yes 4x4 is offered. Yes 4 cyl is offered. No they are not offered together. :( and it makes me sad.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Took me all of 5 seconds to find a 4cyl 4x4 for you: Toyota Tacoma:

        • 5 Years Ago
        It really makes me sad that you can't really find a 4x4 truck with a four cylinder engine. The only one that I know about is the Suburu Baja, and they don't make that anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about that really cool 4.5 L diesel they have ready to go...
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about start by stopping the rediculus horsepower war that has gotten everyone thinking any truck with less than 300hp is useless? And secondly how actually letting the people who want it buy that 1/2 ton diesel you designed? And how about creating a real replacement for the S-10 for people who find utility in small trucks, oh yeah and putting a 2.0-2.5L diesel and 30+mpg in it. If some tractor company from India can do it, I would think GM could.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The best way to improve towing power and hauling power is to get rid of the internal combustion engine. The sad truth is that ICE has limited torque. This limitation is why manufacturers feel the need to have a huge inefficient engine.

        A pickup (see rasertech.com) with a beefier version of the Volt's drivetrain would out haul, out tow, and out perform any fossil fuel powered pickup. The Volt will have a 110kW motor. The Raser E-REV truck uses a 200kW motor. The Balqon heavy duty hauler uses a 240kW motor and it can haul 40 tons. Obviously somewhere in the middle would be the sweet spot for a pickup truck.

        http://www.rasertech.com/download/22/ (PDF, "Raser’s E-REV powertrain was designed to work in popular light trucks such as the GM Silverado and the Ford F-150")
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're right about the HP wars (although there are some who actually need that kind of pulling power)

        My '86 GMC had about 160 hp or so and served all my needs and the needs of the painter who bought it from me. A two mode hybrid hooked up to a direct injected 2.4 liter 4 cylinder would outperform it in every way. And it would be a much lighter, cheaper drivetrain than the 6.0 with cylinder deactivation.

        Don't believe everything you hear - the Chevy Colorado may not be perfect, but it is a great improvement over the S-10.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I definitely agree that a hybrid power-train would be best suited for increasing fuel economy in todays modern trucks (And you may not even have to sacrifice horsepower). The only thing that i would like to see is a diesel hybrid truck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM is not smart enough...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's a clue GM...make your cars smaller.
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