GM To Build Electric Motors For "Future Range Of RWD Vehicles"

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
gm to build electric motors for future range of rwd vehicles

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.

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  • Carve Carve on Jan 26, 2010

    Putting electric motors at the rear minimizes one of their best features: regenerative braking.

  • Pacificpom2 Pacificpom2 on Jan 26, 2010

    So this is the weapon that Holden will use to out ecotech Ford? Drop an electric motor into the Commodore where the auto box lives, batteries where the fuel tank is, or in the now vacant engine bay, electronics in the engine bay, voila! A "normal" looking PEV, no extra tooling for a new body/platform just readjust the suspension to tune it to different weight distribution. That also means you could have a mix of engine options, electric for the the conservationists and petrol for the die hard rev heads and racing. That also means that the kilowatt/hp numbers couldn't be fudged. You will have a 600hp = 447kw

  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
  • Irvingklaws Here's something cheaper, non-german, and more intriguing...
  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.