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.
Over the past decade, if there is one word that has become synonymous with green motoring it is hybrid. Ever since Toyota launched the first modern commercially viable hybrid with the original Prius (above) in 1997, over one million of them have hit the roads. Of course, as is so often the case, this overnight sensation was anything but. In fact, the technology was nearly a century in the making.
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
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
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
Ohio legislators are changing laws that allow any hybrid into the HOV lane. This means that GM's SUV hybrids are no longer allowed in the get-to-work-on-time lanes. House Bill 62, sponsored by state Rep. Todd Kiser, R-Sandy, would bring Ohio in line with the new national standards which only include hybrids that improve mileage by 50 percent in the city or 25 percent overall. Smaller SUV hybrids like the hybrid Toyota Highlander would still be allowed in Ohio's HOV lanes.
The ActiveHybrid system is the result of BMW's collaboration with GM and the former DaimlerChrysler, the Global Hybrid Cooperation. Their goal has been to engineer a modular two-mode hybrid system that can be modified in its behavior and function to suit the dynamics customary to the brand using it. Obviously, BMW is using it to fuel its proclaimed image of providing "Sheer Driving Pleasure," meaning sport performance preferred over economy. Nonetheless, the German engineers who obviously wrote
Right now, it seems we're in the calm before the hybrid storm due to be unleashed shortly by automakers the world over. GM may have taken nearly a decade longer than Toyota to get into the game, but now it's ready to talk the talk with its two-mode hybrid system. The bigger development is the use of plug-ins with lithium-ion power, which might hit the market as early as 2009. Toyota was planning on using lithium batteries in the next-gen Prius as soon as late 2008, but due to safety concerns the
The combination of high gas prices and a sales slowdown at Cadillac have caused the heads of GM's luxury division to consider adding a hybrid to the mix. During an interview with the Detroit News, John Howell, Caddy's head product honcho was quoted as saying that, "Pretty much every program I am looking at going forward has got a hybrid as part of it."