General Motors Unveils Parallel Hybrid Technology For Commercial Vehicle Applications

7,000 vehicles to be equipped with parallel hybrid drives in 2004.

Published: 09-Jan-2001

DETROIT, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors (GM) (NYSE: GM) unveiled today a first-of-its-kind parallel hybrid technology that will bring lower emissions and improved fuel economy to commercial-duty truck and bus applications.

Developed by GM's Allison Transmission division, the EP System(TM), one of the world's first "roadworthy" commercial parallel hybrid solutions, is the next step in Allison's "Preview" hybrid deployment program. The system joins Allison's series hybrid ES System(TM) as a key product in its Allison Electric Drives(TM) family of advanced hybrid solutions for truck and bus applications.

The EP System offers a range of benefits, including a "traditional" integration into existing vehicle platforms and lower associated costs, and about 60 percent better fuel economy than a conventional diesel system in a transit bus application.

"The EP System is the cornerstone of GM's 'next generation' of hybrid technologies," said General Motors Vice Chairman Harry Pearce. "Like the Allison-developed series hybrid solutions put into duty in Orange County last month, these advanced hybrid electric technologies are an important step forward in improving the nation's air quality, conserving fuel and ensuring the health and safety of our citizens."

The EP System extends the functionality of Allison's series hybrid ES System to a broader class of commercial transit and trucking applications. The EP System is designed to ultimately bring the "hybrid advantage" to vehicles such as articulated buses, suburban coaches, military vehicles and medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Designed in a compact, standardized platform that enables integration across a range of commercial vehicle types, the EP System is compatible with existing vehicle architectures. The Allison Electric Drives EP System also is flexible and is easy-to-scale to a broad range of commercial applications.

Allison's EVDRIVE(TM), the company's proprietary hybrid drive unit and centerpiece of its hybrid program, makes possible a conventional component "packaging" that facilitates integration of the EP System into existing vehicle designs. This component configuration, which combines electrical machines and mechanical torque transfer, is highly efficient. The split torque continuously variable transmission (CVT) design of the EVDRIVE enables use of smaller engines, and provides maximum efficiency by transferring power to the wheels via a combination of mechanical and electrical means.

"The parallel hybrid electric system is the most efficient hybrid architecture available today," said Larry Dewey, President of Allison Transmission. "In addition to bringing the benefits of hybrid electric technology to an entirely new class of commercial vehicles, the EP System will help establish hybrid technologies as effective, practical and commercially viable in these larger commercial applications. This system stands ready to revolutionize transportation as we know it, and is an important step forward in establishing viable transportation solutions based on sustainable mobility."

Allison has successfully integrated the EP System in a 40-foot Gillig Phantom transit bus and a GMC C7500 "TopKick" truck. The Gillig bus joins one of Allison's series hybrid buses in providing shuttle service to media during the North American International Auto Show. Future plans call for additional installations into suburban coaches, articulated buses, class 8 trucks and a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) from GM Defense.

Allison's ES and EP systems will employ PowerCache(TM) ultracapacitors from Maxwell Technologies, Inc., an advanced super capacitor technology that delivers significantly extended life compared to conventional batteries. In addition, the super capacitors offer a reliable and durable energy source that is about one-third the weight of batteries and one-half the volume.

"The EP System represents Allison's latest success in taking advanced hybrid solutions from experimental to commercially viable technologies utilizing groundbreaking, state-of-the-art development techniques," said David Piper, Director of Engineering, Allison Transmission. "By leveraging the benefits of GM's advanced technologies, Allison Transmission will continue to develop the type of environmentally responsible, viable and sustainable hybrid propulsion systems that today's commercial applications need."

In 1999, Allison successfully completed a demonstration hybrid bus program for the New York City Transit (NYCT) Authority. In 2000 the company began its hybrid electric "Preview" program. This program, the first step of which was undertaken with New Flyer of America, will bring series hybrid electric buses to transit systems across North America. California's Orange County Transit Authority was the first transit property to place an Allison-powered hybrid electric bus into revenue service on December 14.

Allison's ES and EP Systems use common components, including the energy storage system and power inverter; this minimizes total investment and system cost.

Allison Transmission leads the world in the design, manufacture and sales of medium- and heavy-duty automatic transmissions. Founded in 1915, the General Motors division has produced and sold more than three million transmissions.

General Motors, the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide. In 1999, GM earned $5.6 billion on sales of $176.6 billion. It employs about 388,000 people globally. GM is investing aggressively in high technology and e-business within its global automotive operations and through such initiatives as e-GM, GM BuyPower, OnStar and its Hughes Electronics Corp. (NYSE: GMH) subsidiary.

GM also operates one of the world's largest and most successful financial institutions, GMAC. More information on General Motors can be found at www.gm.com .

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