GM Opens Magic Powertrain Kingdom

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gm opens magic powertrain kingdom

Oh me, oh my, GM is opening a new powertrain development center in Pontiac, MI. Why? According to GM Media Online, "Time equals money, and in keeping with this formula, General Motors today opened a brand-new, state-of-the-art global Powertrain Engineering Development Center that will bring advanced, fuel-saving powertrains to market faster and at less cost by reducing 10 weeks from its powertrain development process." Funny, doesn't building huge facilities equal money too? But seriously, GM says that powertrain development savings will hit $200m this year, thanks in part to this new facility. The 450k square foot building is "where GM will develop and test the Chevrolet Volt's electric drive unit, motors, power electronics and engine," according to the press release (note the use of future tense). The General will also use the facility to develop electric motors for fuel cell and hybrid powertrains, as well as other advanced gasoline, biofuel and clean diesel engines and transmissions. Compressed-air pallet lifters cut test changeover times from 24 hours to 20 minutes. New dynamometers can test every powertrain in all conditions. A global operating system unifies the development process and by shifting early calibration testing from raods to labs, GM says it can cut ten weeks from development time. Which should come in handy if they want to get the Volt developed within the already "well-pushed time envelope".

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  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 30, 2008

    Maybe they tested the V6's with "regular" antifreeze instead of "Dreck-Kool". Seems the horse is already out in the field, then GM touts a new "barn". Eh... Best of luck, GM. Work hard, maybe I'll be back in a few years.

  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Jul 30, 2008

    TTAC Readers: Check out the link that is attached below, interesting reading regarding GM's prior power train attemps as they relate to electric cars, specifically the EV1. The writer sounds like he's about to go Bolshevik on you at any moment but he makes good points about GM's intransigence, lack of focus, wavering, waffling yada, yada, yada.

  • Potemkin Potemkin on Jul 30, 2008

    Like many things with GM the savings are projected. I doubt they will ever recover the cost of the facility in actual hard dollars. Another case of "look everyone we are doing something to save the company", we are spending cash we don't have. More smoke and mirrors from the illusionists.

  • Reclusive_in_nature Reclusive_in_nature on Jul 30, 2008

    Kudos to ttac for the fair article. I just knew a sarcastic-GM-bashing remark was coming as I read along, but none came. Very impressive.