GM powertrain plans: high-tech, low weight

Click above for more early images of the production Chevy Volt

It's no secret that we appreciate what General Motors has been able to do with just two-liters. The direct injected and turbocharged mill powering the rear-wheel drive Solstice GXP and Sky Redline along with the front-wheel drive HHR SS and Cobalt SS models is an excellent one. What's more, its 260 horsepower represents 130-horsepower per liter, the highest ever from a GM production engine and on par with the best from the world. Expect to see more of this kind of technology from new GM engines along with more six-speed transmissions. Also expect an ever-higher percentage of aluminum to appear in all engines from all manufacturers.

GM also has plans for diesels and hybrids. The upcoming 4.5-liter diesel for full-size trucks and SUVs manages to weigh about seventy-five pounds less than other diesels of similar size. On the hybrid front, Automotive News says that GM will offer one new hybrid per quarter for the next four years -- that's sixteen new hybrids. That number would not include the Volt, a car which GM considers fully electric with a range-extender, and is something we've heard for a while now.

GM is also hard at work on HCCI engines, which we have covered extensively and offer the promise of diesel-like economy with the ability to use gasoline. Fuel cells are still on the table, though we'd imagine that today's tough financial times could slow down the development of GM's hydrogen plans. We'll take the trade-off of an HCCI engine over a hydrogen fuel cell as it would likely have a much larger impact and be ready for primetime much sooner.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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