GM Hybrid Models Coming in 2003 and Beyond

Models start with the already announced production of the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks in 2003.

Published: 10-Jan-2003

General Motors will offer optional hybrid powertrains on several of its most popular models — including trucks, SUVs and mid-size sedans — starting in late 2003, said GM President and CEO Rick Wagoner.

"This is a major commitment to offer consumers three different hybrid propulsion systems on three vehicle architectures, representing more than a dozen of our most popular models," Wagoner said. "Although today's hybrid market represents relatively low volumes, we're well positioned to meet market demand as it develops. In fact, if consumers were to select the hybrid option on all of the models included in our multi-year plan, it could eventually exceed 1 million vehicles.

"Because hybrids cost several thousands of dollars more than conventional vehicles, we believe offering multiple approaches on our most popular vehicles is the best way to explore the market for the technology," Wagoner added. "Consumer-based tax credits will play a critical role in gaining market acceptance by making these technologies more affordable."

The systems vary in complexity and cost to explore the market viability of each application. The models start with the already announced production of the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks in 2003. The new programs include:

Starting in 2005, GM will begin production of a Saturn VUE featuring a dual electric motor system that will boost composite city/highway efficiency up to 50 percent to nearly 40 mpg. A highly sophisticated system, featuring the most advanced components and control electronics, the VUE hybrid was designed to maximize efficiency with strong performance.

GM will also include a hybrid option for the Chevrolet Equinox starting in 2006, which mates electric motor assist to GM's VTi variable transmission to the highly efficient Ecotec four-cylinder engine. The combination of VTi with electric motor assist is a sensible approach that provides a fuel economy increase of nearly 15 percent on one of GM's smaller vehicle architectures. GM will also offer the same hybrid system in its Chevrolet Malibu sedan, with production scheduled for 2007. If successful, the system could be readily available on other mid-size models as demand warrants.

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