It’s one thing to say “the electrification of the car is inevitable” (Bob Lutz) when you’re buying the motors from suppliers. But GM is putting (somebody’s) money where their oracle’s wandering mouth is, and getting into the electric motor building business. The General has announced that $246 million dollars, of which $105 million came from a DOE grant (not loan), will be spent on facilities to build lighter, smaller and more efficient electric motors for the next generation of their two-mode hybrid system and rear-wheel drive applications. Looks like a “slim-Jim” version is being developed for a “future range of rear-drive cars”. Hmm…According to a report in Automotive News, the motors will be 25% smaller and have a 20% greater output than the ones currently used in the not-so-popular two-mode hybrid system. Additionally:
The motors will be used in GM’s next-generation rear-drive, two-mode hybrid vehicles, specifically full-sized trucks arriving in 2013. The motors are also expected to be used in a future range of rear-drive cars, GM will announce today. Savagian said the new motor will use less electricity, resulting in better fuel economy. He didn’t provide specifics.
GM currently offers a two-mode hybrid in such vehicles as the 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and Silverado pickup. They average 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Additionally, with the smaller packaging, “we will be able to utilize them in (rear-drive) cars as well,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman of global product operations. He made the announcement today at the Washington auto show. No details were given for car applications. The motors will be built at a plant in White Marsh, Md., outside Baltimore, said spokesman Brian Corbett.
And what would that mysterious “future range of rear-drive cars” be? If it’s anything other than an eventual replacement for the CTS or the smaller ATS, you got me.