Daimler is now building its own version of the two-mode hybrid transmissions that were co-developed with General Motors and BMW. The Daimler-built transmissions are used in the Mercedes-Benz ML450 and BMW X6 hybrids. Inside of each of those transmissions are two electric motor/generators which are produced by former GM parts division Remy International.
A day after announcing that it would invest $246 million to start building electric motors in-house, General Motors made a second announcement about the issue: Baltimore would be home to that production. The Baltimore transmission plant, which is actually located in nearby White Marsh, MD, has been building the two-mode hybrid transmissions used in GM's full-size pickup trucks and SUVs since 2007.
The last time we heard anything substantive from General Motors about its plug-in hybrid program was last August, when it announced that the planned Saturn Vue PHEV would instead be re-badged as a Buick crossover. We all know how that worked out. GM backtracked after less than two weeks and canceled that vehicle. While we were at the Volt battery plant this morning, we ran into Brian Corbett who is the spokesman for all things hybrid at GM.
Hybrid transit buses using the GM-Allison Two-mode hybrid system are becoming fairly common in North America with several thousand now on the road. In the UK however, the two-mode buses are brand new, with the first four recently going into service in London. The two-mode hybrid transmissions are installed in Optare Tempo bus chassis that are being used as part of a hybrid test program in the British capitol. Several different hybrid systems are being evaluated by Transport for London.
We've had numerous opportunities over the last two years to drive various SUVs and pickup trucks equipped with the two-mode hybrid system spawned from GM, Chrysler, Daimler and BMW. Among the claimed advantages of the two-mode hybrid system is the ability to dramatically improve fuel efficiency while still maintaining the functionality one expects of these trucks, including towing. We've even had the opportunity to sample the towing capability of the now departed Dodge Durango hybrid. In doing s
During the General Motors third quarter earnings (or lack thereof) conference call on Friday, company executives discussed the vehicle introduction schedule for 2009 and 2010. Several cars that had been expected to debut during 2009 have been pushed back to the following year, including the Saab 9-4X and Cadillac CTS Coupe. GM declined to discuss any vehicles beyond the 2010 calendar year. One vehicle that notable by its absence in the list of vehicle launches is the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid. T
The man in charge of hybrid powertrain development at GM Larry Nitz has confirmed that the E-Flex team has made the decision to switch engines for the range extender in the upcoming Chevy Volt. The original concept was to use a turbocharged 1.0L three cylinder engine to drive the generator. Instead they have decided to use a 1.4L normally aspirated version of the engine that will power the upcoming Chevy Cruze in turbo form. Nitz also discussed the issue of why performance of the Volt won't be d
During a media preview of the new BlueTec diesel powered Mercedes SUVs here in Vermont, Thomas Ruhl Director of R-Class, SUV hybrid and BlueTec discussed some of the alternative drive systems coming from Stuttgart in the near future. While he didn't get into any of the electric car programs that have been discussed recently, he did talk about hybrids. Ruhl confirmed that the S400 BlueHybrid and ML450 BlueHybrid will be launched in the U.S. in 2009. BlueHybrid does not mean these are diesel hybri
Now that Chrysler is getting ready to launch the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen hybrids into the world in a few months, the question of what's next arises. We already know about the Dodge Ram getting the Two-Mode hybrid system in 2010. About this time last year at Chrysler's 2008 model year preview EVP-product development Frank Klegon indicated that there would be additional hybrid applications coming in the next few years. Mike Accavitti, Dodge Brand director told the Detroit Free Press that
Last summer Ichiro Suzuki was selected as the MVP of the baseball All-Star game and got the keys to one of the first Chevy Tahoe Two-Mode Hybrids. At the time, those SUVs were still more than six months away from production. This year, Chrysler is getting ready to launch their own full-size hybrid SUVs and they may be awarding one of the early production Aspen Hybrids to a women golfer at the Ginn Tribute LPGA tournament this weekend. If any of the 144 golfers, including Annika Sorenstarn, shoot
Hot on the heels of word that Holden Special Vehicles was looking at alternative drivetrains for future high performance models for the GM Australian lineup comes news that Holden will introduce a mainstream hybrid within two years. Nick Reilly, GM President Asia-Pacific was in Australia recently for an annual review at Holden and announced that the brand that developed the Zeta platform would introduce a gas-electric hybrid within two years. According to Reilly, the big Commodore sedan would li
When Nissan introduced the Titan pickup truck earlier this decade, they became the first Japanese Automaker to directly challenge the U.S. manufacturers in the full-size truck segment. Unfortunately for Nissan, the gamble didn't pay off, but the company knows when to stop throwing good money after bad. With sales of only 65,000 a year and no sales outside of North America, it didn't make sense for Nissan to spend money developing a new generation vehicle. The capper on the deal were new fuel eco
As Chrysler gets ready to launch their first hybrids this fall in the shape of the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen two-modes, Hybrid manager Abdullah Bazzi has posted answers to some reader questions over on the Dodge blog. While none of the questions are particularly deep or earth shattering, Bazzi does reiterate that a hybrid version of the Ram pickup is coming in 2010. Although at least one reader would like to see a hybrid version of the new Dodge Challenger, Bazzi says that would depend on