GM Unveils Next-Gen Hybrid System for 2010

In an effort to spread hybrid technology to a wider range of high-production vehicles, General Motors plans to improve its current mild hybrid system. GM unveiled the technology yesterday at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. The automaker says the new version will utilize lithium ion batteries, which will produce three times the power as the current nickel metal hydride battery pack. The revamped powertrain is also expected to deliver a 15 to 20 percent increase in fuel economy compared to a similar gas-powered vehicle. “This new system is another important step in our broad-based strategy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions,” said Rick Wagoner, GM’s chairman. The new system is expected to be ready for production in North America by 2010, and for global markets shortly after.

Demonstrated for the first time in the Saab 9-X BioPower hybrid concept in Geneva, the new system will be based upon the same belt alternator starter hybrid technology that is currently available in the Saturn Vue Green LIne, the Saturn Aura Green Line and the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. The revised technology is designed to be applicable to a broader range of GM’s model lines, both in the U.S. and abroad. Compatibility could extend to diesel and biofuel engines as well as newly-developed turbo-charged powerplants.

To date, hybrids from General Motors have accounted for less than one percent of the total hybrid market. “In order to have a real impact in reducing oil consumption, oil imports, and CO2 emissions, advanced technologies must be affordable enough to drive high-volume applications,” Wagoner emphasized. Once rolled out, GM anticipates volumes will ramp up to around 100,000 units per year. The company did not announce which vehicles will receive the new system.

In addition to using more powerful motors and more robust batteries, GM’s new and improved hybrid system will allow brief electric-only propulsion, extend fuel cutoff during deceleration, and expand regenerative braking to recapture more energy.

The company’s belt alternator starter hybrid system is a distinct and separate technology from GM’s more expensive two-mode hybrid system —currently being utilized in a number of the company’s largest SUVs—and the plug-in hybrid system planned for the Saturn Vue and Chevrolet Volt.


  • Jeff

    NEXT GEN????

    I must have missed it, where is the FIRST GEN???

    Not sure you can say anything they have done up to now counts as a viable technology. And this is only expected to achieve a 15 to 20% increase over ICE. They are on crack if they expect to move 100,000 units/year.

  • steved28

    Took the words out of my mouth Jeff. Except for the Li-On batteries, it seems they are years behind the better hybrids available now.

  • Antoine

    15% to 20% fuel savings is a significant improvement regarding the overcost. But, it’s a pitty that the volumes of production are expected to be so small: only 100,000 units/year after 2010 whereas Toyota sold 185,589 Prius in 2006.

  • Boom Boom

    We’ll see if GM can get Li-ON into production cars by 2010. Given their pathetic attempts at hybrids thus far (Aura, Vue, Malibu), I’m not holding my breath. (When does the Tahoe actually hit the roads?).

    I don’t understand how GM can put a Li-On battery in a car and get three times the output (which all sounds reasonable) but only get a 15-20% improvement!! The Camry hybrid (based on new EPA#s) gets a 35% improvement (25mpg to 34 mpg). The Civic Hybrid gets a 44% improvement (29 to 42). (And don’t tell me hybrids don’t get the advertised mileage ’cause I drive a civic hybrid and I get about 42 mpg over all and I do 70 on the highway and don’t drive like a freak).

    Shouldn’t GM be able to do better than that? Are these going to be performance hybrids (like the failed Accord)?

    I’d really like to support US auto, but if this is the best they can do, I’m driving a Japanese car (which may very well be built in Ohio…)

  • Skeptic

    I may have mentioned this already, but: VAPORWARE! My Dad was a “Chevy Man” for years, but he even switched to Honda before he died. I like Chevy’s cars, or have in the past, but their pretend hybrid stuff is just for press releases. How many times have they announced hybrids are “just around the corner”? Ten?

    Losers. They deserve to go out of business.

  • BoilerCivicHy

    good one

  • BoilerCivicHy

    I agree how about those fuel cell cars chevy has been supposedly researching for about 10 year that have been displayed at Disney and Epcot? How long are these going to be in developement? Its going to be up to small upstart companies and american consumers to start demanding AND PURCHASING, these vehicles to get the big 3′s attention.

  • Jake

    Looks awesome! that was a nice read… :)

  • amanda

    toyota sucks………….ford all the way baby……

  • Bert
  • Collin Burnell

    Amanda, my dear,

    I think you’re in the wrong place. Not that the Ford Escape Hybrid isn’t very nice and is the (lone) shining example of American Hybrid Engineering (to date) but with out Toyota (both Engineers and Corporate Commitment) most Hybrids would not exist including my Awesome Nissan Altima Hybrid. Are you not a fan of Hybrids??? Then you’re really in the wrong place.

    Now if you have a viable argument or point, please make it. We welcome that.

  • GuitarGuy305

    In my opinion, GM will always be light years behind Toyota/Honda in this arena.

    I do not believe that the American car companies are not concerned with the environment but only their bottom line and the bottom line of the oil companies. The “hybrids” they do have on the market were only introduced to try to cash in on the hybrid “fad” and are not even true hybrids in the sense that the Prius or the Civic are. If they do happen to introduce some kind of car/technology that is better environmentally or MPG-wise, it will only be due to the fact that they think there is money to be made.

    That being said, I would never buy a GM product even if it ran on rainbows and unicorns due to the fact that they had their chance to revolutionize the entire industry with the EV-1 all those years ago and they blew it.

  • judyann

    I heard that Hybrids are good mileage savers in the ecity but forget it on the freeway goign70mph they arenot better than normal cars.

  • GuitarGuy305

    Judyann-

    ANY vehicle’s MPG decreases as speed increases. The engine has to work harder to maintain higher speeds, therefore more fuel is burned. That being said, a hybrid vehicle is still more fuel efficient any any speed versus a comparable gas-only vehicle.

    I will agree that the “butter zone” when I get the best miles per gallon for my Honda Civic hybrid is 35-50 MPH. At these speeds you can coast a lot, maxing out the real-time MPG meter and driving the average MPG up. But I frequently make trips on the highway averaging 60-70MPH and I still can maintain an average MPG of about 45.

    City driving can be great for MPG. I’ve broken 60MPG on certain city-only trips. But like I said, I’ll take an average 45MPG on the highway at 60-70MPH over a comparable car’s 25-35MPG any day.

  • AlexK

    Well, maybe it was the Chevy Volt a few years back. That monumental failure. GM and every other US auto-manufacturer will be behind Honda and Toyota in terms of hybrids. Besided, Toyota nearly overtook GM in sales volume last year in ordinary cars. I am not a fan of GM or Ford and every year the Jap cars are proving that they can truly build an inexpensive, good quality for value vehicle. You see Jap cars all the time nowadays. When I get a car, it will be a Japanese car, as they have already proven many times that they are good.

  • vinayababu

    Mercedes-Benz S400 Diesel Hybrid news appears to be a bit old see the site of Popular mechanics
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/automotive_news/4232426.html

  • khooper

    I personally think they priced them out of the market. Perhaps they need to have a entry level one that’s a bit cheaper rather than a fully loaded one with the expense of the hybrid system putting it through the roof? For the starting price of a 4×4 Tahoe Hybrid you can get an Cadillac Escalade. Is the Auto Repair and Maintenance for this is easy?

  • Melvin Scott

    Oh I just love the car. It has a nice body color and body kits. A new rims will look much better on this ride. I saw some perfect rims at Autopartswarehouse.

  • Tim Hanlon

    I think the chevy Impala would be an excellent choice for an
    Hybrid. Its trunk is masive and could hold a batery pack
    system and still have enough trunk space left over for the
    average person to use. Its 3.9 V6 with cylinder deactivation
    system combined with the Hybrid system would provide a
    good mileage and still have a car large enough with adiquate
    trunk and interier space for a large car. GM is behind the 8 ball
    but could catch up fast if they offered something like the
    above car. I wiould be one of the first to buy one.

  • rjb

    If you can’t support the U.S. car makers …..Maybe you should move to japan!!!!!! I dont care where its made , where do you think the co. profit is sent??? Greed is an awful thing.

  • USA car industry a joke

    The US car industries are a joke. ALL TALK NOTHING TO SHOW FOR except for concept cars and things that never make it to the public. Im betting all of them will be bankrupt by 2010 if not earlier.

  • Anonymous

    Response to “Boom Boom”

    im a canadian and a pround north american…i will only buy north american products…as best as i can… i will only buy north american cars… I ask any of you who have a japenese car to take it off roading like you would of a truck…and i know you will get stuck…our car has gone off roading more than 10 times and it has come back nice and safe…its a 99′ buick century with 300,000 km on it…
    i ask you have you ever seen a jap/korean car do that before??
    this car was a north american built car … it was built in Oshawa… those guys are going through a rough time…i feel sorry for them…some of them will lose there jobs… 1 in 7 canadians will be affected if the big three go down…and even more americans will be affected…the best thing you can do is trade in your car and get an american built car from an american company before you can never get one again…

  • James Moore

    I am not sure how this model compared to mid size SUVs. I would rather go for other models. http:///suvwith3rdrowseating.net

  • sanfordsautomotive

    To become the top leading nation in producing automobile, the US auto makers need to think better than the Competition….specifically Japan. The top Japanese Automakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan are the worlds best selling most reliable well designed vehicle’s on the planet, they make up for the largest selling vehicle’s in the world. Here in the U.S we have the ability to overtake the Japanese market if we can only produce well designed, reliable vehicle’s . I own and operate Sanfords Automotive repair Salem Oregon and have been in business for over 30 years and have repaired a large number of Domestic and Foreign vehicle’s and for the most part I would never buy a American car….they simply are JUNK!… sorry, I love America but the products we make are inferior to Japan, simply put they make better Automobiles, electronics, appliances etc.

  • sanfordsautomotive

    To become the top leading nation in producing automobile, the US auto makers need to think better than the Competition….specifically Japan. The top Japanese Automakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan are the worlds best selling most reliable well designed vehicle’s on the planet, they make up for the largest selling vehicle’s in the world. Here in the U.S we have the ability to overtake the Japanese market if we can only produce well designed, reliable vehicle’s . I own and operate Sanfords Automotive repair Salem Oregon and have been in business for over 30 years and have repaired a large number of Domestic and Foreign vehicle’s and for the most part I would never buy a American car, they simply are JUNK! sorry, I love America but the products we make are inferior to Japan, simply put they make better Automobiles, electronics, appliances etc.

    http://www.sanfordsautomotive.com
    Frank Sanford