As GM gets closer and closer to bringing their first full hybrids to market, they are starting to promote them more and more. Their latest showing is happening in Texas, at the 2007 State Fair. Fair goers will get a chance to see the two full size SUV hybrids: the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid and the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, which GM has said will improve fuel economy by 30% using their new two-mode hybrid system.
Texas is an appropriate place to showcase these two new hybrids, since they will be built at at the GM Arlington Assembly Plant.
While the EPA rated mileage of 21 city/ 22 highway for 2WD and 20/20 for 4WD models won't exactly wow most hybrid enthusiasts (who expect to see 40+ mpg), for a full size SUV that's very, very good. And the important thing, for those who worry about how much fuel the US uses every year, big gains at the lower end of the fuel economy spectrum mean a lot more than big gains at the higher end.
For instance, going from 15 mpg to 20 mpg in a vehicle means the driver will go from buying 1,000 gallons of fuel to 750 gallons over 15,000 miles, a savings of 250 gallons. But going from 40 to 45 mpg will only save the driver 42 gallons.
GM expects to sell 10,000 units per year, combined, of the hybrid SUVs. Prices won't be announced until closer to launch, but are expected to start in the low- to mid-$40,000 range.The Yukon and Tahoe hybrid engines are the first to use the two-mode hybrid system co-developed by GM, BMW and DaimlerChrysler. Inside the engine, you will find two different powertrains, electric and gas. By pairing the two, you get a hybrid engine.
The electric motor will be capable of moving the SUV under its own power up to 32 mph, making these hybrid SUVS full hybrids. The electric motor is powered by the battery pack, which is powered through regenerative breaking and, when needed, by the gas engine. But the gas savings don't end there.
They are also being equipped with cylinder deactivation, which means four of the eight cylinders in the monster V-8 gas engine will shut off when the car is cruising on the highway. The gas engine will also shut itself off when the SUV slows down or comes to a stop.
The full size SUV hybrids will also have lightweight body panels and wind cheating bumpers covers.
Oh, and did I mention they can still tow? 6,200 pounds (2WD); 6,000 pounds (4WD).
"The new Tahoe and Yukon Hybrid SUVs offer the best of both worlds to customers and complement the Texan lifestyle – all the capability expected of an SUV with better-than-ever fuel economy," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.