GM New Vehicle Engineering Organization for Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: GM New Vehicle Engineering Organization for Hybrids

Friday, January 25, 2008

GM New Vehicle Engineering Organization for Hybrids

GM is forming a new Vehicle Engineering Organization for Hybrids, Extended-Range Electric Vehicles and Batteries. It's job will be to accelerate the implementation of hybrid and extended range electric vehicles (what they like to call the Volt).

As of now, GM has several different hybrid implementations up in the air.

The first 'hybrid' was a belt alternator system (BAS) that was considered a mild hybrid system. While it had regenerative braking, it's basic fuel saving device would be to shut down the engine while the vehicle was stopped.

The second system they have put in place and are rolling out now is the two-mode (sometimes called the dual-mode) full hybrid engine they co-developed with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. The latest hybrid vehicles from GM should see great strides in fuel economy, but the system is only being implanted into the larger SUVs and trucks because of their cost and size.

The third system, what GM likes to call range extended electric vehicles is fully powered by the electric motor. When needed, the small gas engine will kick in and recharge the battery that powers the electric motor. As such, the gas engine has been pushed into being the secondary system (the reverse of the mild engine). This system is at least a couple of years away but is already being promoted through the Chevy Volt. These will most likely by the plug-in hybrids from GM.

Press Release Follows:

GM Forms New Vehicle Engineering Organization for Hybrids, Extended-Range Electric Vehicles and Batteries

WARREN, Mich. - In another step aimed at bringing the electrification of vehicles into the mainstream development process more quickly, General Motors has formed a new engineering organization especially dedicated to implementing hybrid and extended- range electric vehicles (E-REV) and advanced battery technology. The global team will be led by Robert Kruse, executive director of vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicle and batteries. In North America, the team will be based in Warren and Milford, Mich. In Europe, the team will be based in Mainz-Kastel, Germany and in Asia-Pacific they will be located in Shanghai, China.

"The future of automotive transportation will be based on electrification of our vehicles," said Jim Queen, GM group vice president of Global Engineering. "By having a vehicle engineering team in place and focused on delivering the technical aspects of hybrids and E-REVs, we can accelerate these programs and get them into production quickly and efficiently."

GM's newest vehicle engineering team will develop vehicles using a variety of propulsion systems including gas-electric hybrids and GM's innovative E-Flex architecture. Vehicles that will be engineered by this team include the production E-REVs based on E-Flex architectures; Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado 2 Mode; Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid; Saturn Vue 2 Mode Plug-in; Saturn Vue and Aura Hybrid; GMC Yukon and Sierra 2 Mode; and the Cadillac Escalade 2 Mode.

This team will also support GM's CO2 initiatives in Europe. In China, they will support the Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid. Other, yet to be announced global hybrid and electric propulsion vehicles are expected to be developed under this organization.

Kruse, 48, was executive director of Vehicle Integration, Safety, Regional Chief Engineers and Performance Division for GM's North America engineering staff. Kruse began his GM career in 1978 as a co-op student at Buick Motor Division, and has served in a variety of leadership positions at Buick, Cadillac, Vehicle Development Technical Operations, the North American Car Group and GM Powertrain.

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