By on June 2, 2011

For years now, Detroit’s inability to compete in the increasingly-important hybrid drivetrain has been part of its larger perception issues, driving the view that the American automakers are both less environmentally responsible and technologically adept than their Japanese competitors. GM waorked through a number of underwhelming hybrid technologies, including its BAS “Mild” Hybrid system and its Two-Mode V8 hybrid, while Ford had to back away from Bill Ford’s precipitous promise that it would build 250k hybrids per year by 2010. For a while now, it’s seemed that Ford and GM were content to avoid direct hybrid competition, focusing on “leapfrog”  technologies like pure EVs and the Chevy Volt extended-range electric car… but now it seems they’re going back into Prius-style “parallel hybrids” in a big way.

When GM canceled its SRX plug-in hybrid last week, we were told that the drivetrain’s long development time meant that the Theta platform underpinning the SRX would be dated by the time it was completed. But given how long the Theta plug-in had been in development, this explanation didn’t seem all that plausible. And sure enough, GMInsidenews.com reports that there was another issue:

According to sources familiar with the program, GM management elected to decommission the SRX PHEV because the vehicle’s battery was not seeing the efficiency gains that GM expected from it. A similar issue led to the demise of the proposed Cadillac XTS hybrid system nearly a year ago.

Both the SRX and XTS were slated to use a tweaked version of GM’s Two-Mode Hybrid propulsion system. The revised system was expected to utilize a lithium ion battery back in place of the current system’s nickel hydrate pack. It was also expected to see revised operating modes, possibly adding more modes to the current system. Topping off the new system was to be a plug-in option, similar to the recently-launched Chevrolet Volt.

With this news, the Two-Mode hybrid enters the Valhalla of overambitious GM powertrains which never quite panned out. None of GM’s partners who helped develop the system offer more than one version of it, and with development at GM now over, the system is officially a technological dead-end. But as you might be guessing, this setback does not spell the end of GM’s hybrid efforts… in fact:

GMI’s sources stated that GM has discontinued working on that particular hybrid program entirely; however GM has a new hybrid system that has already been in the works that will replace it.

Sources familiar with GM’s hybrid plans state that GM has been working on an all-new version of the Two-Mode system that should be ready for utilization in the 2015 model-year. The new system is said to have four fixed modes and take several cues from the Volt’s E-Flex system. So instead of putting out an expensive, inefficient system in 2013, it sounds like GM will just wait another year or two and utilize the all-new system.

Perhaps “technological dead-end” was a bit harsh… GM’s Two-Mode system clearly had some good ideas, as it influenced development of the Chevy Volt, but one hopes the new “Four Mode” development will do away with the weight, cost and complexity of the original system. But even if ithis “four-mode” is the hybrid drivetrain that GM finally gets right, its 2015 debut will come about 18 years after Toyota first introduced its Prius. That’s a lot of catchup to play.

Meanwhile, Ford is similarly serious about competing in the hybrid drivetrain area on its own terms. Whereas its first-generation of hybrid drivetrains, currently available in the Escape, Fusion and MKZ, relied on Toyota-licensed technologies, Ford has just announced development of an all-new e-CVT transmission for its next-generation of in-house hybrids. Ford notes in its release (which also announced a 1.0 Ecoboost engine and an eight-speed transmission):

Another new Ford transmission, to be installed in hybrid vehicles, starts production late this year at Van Dyke Transmission Plant in suburban Detroit. Full volume production is slated for the first quarter of 2012.

By next spring, Ford expects to be manufacturing more hybrid transmissions in North America than any other automaker or supplier. The new transmission replaces a unit currently made in Japan that is used today in Ford and Lincoln hybrids.

As with the new eight-speed, the new hybrid transmission is Ford-designed, Ford-engineered and Ford-built. It’s an e-CVT or electronic continuously variable transmission. The new hybrid transmission will offer improved performance over the current unit. The current Ford Fusion Hybrid can reach a top speed of 47 mph on electricity and go as far as one mile.

Can Detroit get its hybrid campaign back on track after losing a good 15 years to Toyota, the undisputed hybrid leader? One thing is for certain: with EV forecasts becoming increasingly bearish, hybrids and micro-hybrid stop-start systems are going to become more and more important for meeting increasing CAFE standards, as well as delivering relief from high gas prices. Detroit may be late to the hybrid game, but at least it’s stopped fooling itself into thinking it could simply leapfrog the technology. Now it’s time to roll up those sleeves and prove that Detroit can build a good hybrid after all.

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47 Comments on “Ford and GM Playing Hybrid Catchup...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Two-mode’s real problem was size: it was based on Allison’s bus transmissions and required a big vehicle.

    The problem is that hybrid buyers, buy and large, don’t buy large.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Well said. As far as hybrids, Allison was working on them in the 80s (flywheel kinetic storage) and introduced battery versions for transit buses on a similar timeline to the Prius.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I don’t think it’s fair to lump Ford in with the loafers at GM and Chrysler. Ford’s hybrid failures were being beaten to the patent office by Toyota and the subsequent licensing arrangements, and the competitive disadvantage of having to rely on Japanese battery suppliers.

    Two-mode was a good idea for the full-size trucks and SUVs it was intended for. True to form, GM made it a very expensive option instead of bundling it into the Escalade/Denali/LTZs that would have generated the necessary economies of scale to make the effort worthwhile.

    • 0 avatar
      HalfMast

      I’m not sure that I’d call GM a loafer on this… they weren’t much behind Ford, they just did it wrong. They decided they could own the hybrid pick-up truck market… and than found out there wasn’t one. And of course at that time, everything that they’d designed for the trucks was too big to fit into passenger cars, so they were back to the drawing board to get it small enough for the Malibu… which was probably STILL too big for the hybrid market.

    • 0 avatar
      Ar-Pharazon

      Ditto, bumpy. Exactly which automakers (aside from Toyota) have a hybrid program that beats or even compares with Ford? This article should be titled “Auto Industry Playing Hybrid Catchup” instead.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Apparently, the EPA tests don’t recognize the benefits of a start/stop system. While the original GM BAS is similar in concept and execution to the Honda IMA system, I guess they never put it in enough cars to really make a difference. And the fact that they were priced higher than the similar Malibus and Auras really didn’t help much. The Two-Mode system as installed in SUV’s and trucks would yield the greatest gains, but I would agree, hybrid buyers yawned at the prospect of a 20% increase in fuel mileage on a Suburban. Definitely a couple of swings and misses…

    I don’t know that I would characterize Ford as lagging behind Toyota in hybrid technologies. It should be pointed out that there are Ford technologies cross-patented with Toyota’s for hybrid vehicles. I think Ford is smart to in-source their new trannies in the US, particularly if they sell well here. Good moves, IMO.

    EDIT: I see bumpy beat me to it.

  • avatar
    dmchyla

    Point of clarification: Ford developed their current hybrid drivetrain in-house, only licensing some Toyota technologies in the control to avoid a legal battle. Of course, this led to the mainstream press only reporting “Licensed from Toyota”, no doubt to the chagrin of Ford engineers.

    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2005/11/is_ford_innovat_1.html

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not so much that the mainstream press uses the term “licensed”, it’s that the press and it’s readership doesn’t know what “licensed” means and tend to use “licensed” and “copied” interchangeably.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    “The Two-Mode system as installed in SUV’s and trucks would yield the greatest gains, but I would agree, hybrid buyers yawned at the prospect of a 20% increase in fuel mileage on a Suburban.”

    My fullsize GM trucks managed 12 – 15mpg regularly so even optimistically at the high side of these figures, a 20% gain to 18mpg was still not that great, and certainly not worth the price increase.

    My real cost savings fuel-wise came from all the time on the repair bay at the dealer or being flatbedded for another breakdown.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      15 mpg => 20% gain to 18 mpg

      vs

      30 mpg => 20% gain to 36 mpg

      Say you drive 15000 miles per year.

      1000 gallons in a 15 mpg truck, 833 in a 18 mpg truck. $584 saved per year (at $3.50/gal).

      500 gallons in a 30 mpg car, 417 in a 36 mpg car. $292 saved per year.

      Unless the hybrid system in the 15 mpg truck costs > 2x as much as the system in the 30 mpg car, it will pay itself back faster.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @protomech: thanks for doing the math. Everyone’s perception of value differs.

        Much more importantly, where are you buying gasoline for $3.50?

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Problem is that the GM hybrids were so insanely expensive even that sort of savings wouldn’t make the math work out, especially considering interest, etc. The Tahoe Hybrid starts at $51K…a $13K premium over the base Tahoe. It’s slightly better equipped than the base but nonetheless I’m guessing most people don’t have that extra $13K to blow to save $600 a year in fuel. Most people don’t drive 15,000 miles a year anyways.

        They have to get the price premium on the hybrids down if they want them to make financial sense.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      @tekdemon: how much is the premium for the hybrid system in the Lexus LS?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Between CAFE and $6 gas, their trucks will be all hybrid in a couple of years. And like Protomech said, the pmath works for putting the hybrid system on the biggest vehicles.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Then there was this:

    http://jalopnik.com/5649114/gm-replacing-22500-hybrid-battery-packswhen-it-gets-enough

    which didn’t help their reputation either.

    The 1mpg increase over a conventional 4-cylinder version was not worth the 4000 dollar hit.

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    Four modes?
    What are the 2 other modes, besides gas and batteries?

    Steam and nuclear power?

  • avatar
    HalfMast

    Why is Ford and GM singled out here? Yes, they are lagging behind Toyota in hybrids. So is every other automaker in the world, including Honda who actually had the first commercially available hybrid to market (1st gen Insight, i.e. covered moped w/ an electric motor attached).

    Ford’s quick response to license Toyota’s technology put them as the #2 in hybrids quickly, putting hybrid versions of Escape and Fusion on the road before GM or Chrysler even figured out what the word “hybrid” meant (Chrysler’s still looking for their dictionary). Yes, they are behind in technology, but it was a good strategy to keep in play in the market.

    We’re not going to see anybody but Toyota leading the hybrid race for another 10 years, so at this point the race is for second, and GM, Ford, Nissan, and Honda are all in contention.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I think you’ll be seeing Ford leading the hybrid “race” in less than 10 years, I’m betting 2 or 3 years but 5 at the most. The Fusion already out classes the Camry. Nissan isn’t even in the game buying their system outright from Toyota doing little to nothing with the technology themselves. So the “race” will be between GM and Honda for 3rd place.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Hyundai. The Sonata/Optima hybrids may be the first ones to see retail sales in the US, but they’ve been playing with various test mules for 5+ years now.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Other than the fact that the Fusion “outclasses” the Camry and Altima by running their electric motor to a higher speed that aids in sandbagging the EPA tests. Check out Consumer Reports and Motor Trends fuel economy tests. There isn’t more than an mpg or two difference rather than the 8mpg difference Ford likes to quote. When you’re looking at vehicles in the mid 30mpg range, 1 or 2mpg is insignificant.

        http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/112_0901_2010_ford_fusion_hybrid_2009_toyota_camry_hybrid/fuel_economy.html

      • 0 avatar
        HalfMast

        I agree with you that Ford’s hybrid versions of standard models (Fusion, Escape, etc.) are as good or better than Toyota’s hybrid versions of standard models (Camry, Highlander, etc.). But Ford needs a game changer to put up against the Prius (and Prii variants), like what GM intended Volt to be (but probably wasn’t). Maybe they could get something launched in 6-7 years, but I don’t think they’ll get the reputation and sales to push them ahead of Toyota in much less than 10.

        On a Ford-positive note, by the way, I have to think that Ford’s continued research and development on the EcoBoosts has to have a positive gains to the hybrid developments as well, though I really don’t know how a turbo on a start/stop and multiple-energy source system would work. But even the new 3 cylinder model without boost tied to a hybrid may be a good combination for Fiesta or Focus. I worry at times that Toyota is putting development dollars into everything EXCEPT combustion engines.

    • 0 avatar

      Why is Ford and GM singled out here?

      Because they both made news today about new hybrid transmissions. If pressed to identify a connection though, I’d say both depend on the Japanese supply chain far too much for their current hybrids. Why Ford pays license to Toyota may be a point of company pride, but it doesn’t change the business reality. Ron Gettelfinger (just for example) complained bitterly about Ford’s dependence on the Japanese supply chain for hybrids and the low domestic parts content in Escape and Fusion Hybrid (ironically, Fusion Hybrid appears to be 25% US/Canadian parts while the regular Fusion is 20%). As for GM, the Volt’s 40% domestic parts content and Aisin-made, imported transmission speak for themselves.

      I don’t subscribe wholesale to the challenging perceptions that I identify in the first sentence of the piece, but I do think Ford and GM could do more to develop their in-house hybrid capabilities. And, as this story shows, both are taking steps to move in that direction… so why so defensive?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Ford’s hybrid system was largely developed in house. My understanding is that some parts were similar to the patents that Toyota filed, and the licensing agreement was born. Toyota also licenses some of Ford’s patents through this.

        On GM’s transmission, I am about 99% sure it was developed in house and Aisin is building it for them.

        If you think Ford and GM should be building more parts of their hybrids in the US, that is one thing. But the development that they are doing is largely in house.

      • 0 avatar
        Ar-Pharazon

        So . . . this must be the point where commenters call you out for having an anti-Detroit bias, and you deny it, right?

        “Well, since two Detroit companies floated press releases mentioning hybrid technologies today, I figured I’d write a headline and an article that implies they’re behind the entire industry, which is patently untrue. But I don’t subscribe to those perceptions myself, and there’s no bias to see here.”

        OK. Perception is not reality.

        How about this headline?

        Ford and GM Announce Continued Work On Hybrid Technology — Nissan, VW, Hyundai Notably Silent

      • 0 avatar
        monomille

        I’m curious about these new “hybrid transmissions” since the Prius doesn’t even use a transmission in the normal sense – just a power split device using a planetary gearset described as “fist sized” to combine engine and motor inputs. I guess that the two motor generator sets Prius uses (or equivalent) must be included in the “hybrid transmission” being referred to. It’s all VERY different than what people normally think of as a transmission. For more info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      The Fusion Hybrid does relatively well against the Camry Hybrid but the reality is simply that the Prius line is Toyota’s hybrid heavy hitter. Both the Fusion and the Camry hybrids are gimped by the fact that their hybrid conversions mean gigantic battery packs in the trunk killing trunk space and preventing the inclusion of 60/40 fold down seats.

      Conversions might work better for larger vehicles (where you have space to spare) but the Prius handily outsells all the hybrids within several size classes because as a dedicated hybrid built from the ground up it actually requires the least compromise.

      If Ford and GM really want to catch up they’re gonna have to field a hybrid designed from the ground up like the Prius and be willing to lose money on it to fuel further development much like Toyota did for years.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        You don’t need a dedicated hybrid to have a car optimized for hybrid tech, though. The Fusion platform wasn’t designed with hybrid tech in mind, hence the compromises. The next-gen car can likely overcome those limitations while still being offered with both conventional and hybrid options.

        Prius does a great job of dominating a niche. But it’s still a niche. With volatile gas prices seeming likely going forward, I think flexibility is going to be the key to making money off hybrids — a platform that can do both lets the automaker change up their mix to suit market demands.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree about trunk space. It is one main aspect which keeps me from considering something like Fusion or MKZ. But isn’t Volt a dedicated hybrid?

    • 0 avatar

      +2

  • avatar
    Steven02

    The article makes it sounds like Ford didn’t develop its own system which is untrue. Ford did develop its own hybrid system and it is licensed to avoid legal battles. Toyota was awarded use of some of Ford’s patents in exchange.

    But, I don’t see a point in singling out Ford, and to a lesser extent, GM. Ford isn’t far behind in hybrid tech. They just don’t have a special car that uses it like the Prius does. I assume if you put Ford hybrid system into a car like the Prius, it would be a similar result.

    On the GM front, I have to wonder why you don’t call out VW, Honda, Hyundai/KIA, Nissan (who literally sells Toyota’s HSD), or others. Is this only a Detroit problem for some reason?

  • avatar
    faygo

    Article title is misleading and doesn’t even bother to acknowledge that Chrysler isn’t even in the game.

    I’d say the statement “relied on Toyota license technologies” is pretty slanted/uninformed. as has been noted by others, Ford didn’t license anything from Toyota in the sense of Nissan who bought the HEV system completely from Toyota for the Altima Hybrid. as the Ford HEV system was developed, it was determined that is was similar enough to Toyota’s that a patent/IP discussion was necessary. Toyota never provided any technical assistance nor parts.

    Ford is also not currently selling 1st generation systems, having moved through several iterations since the original Escape HEV.

    I suspect that recent-year sales figures would indicate Ford is #2 behind Toyota or if not, very close to Honda. Honda was first to market but the lack of a unique looking vehicle in the Civic HEV meant that those who wanted to advertise their greenness needed to buy an Prius (which was a better vehicle as well). the Accord HEV was a flop and while popular in Japan, I don’t think the Mk2 Insight has been a huge success here either.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      “Article title is misleading and doesn’t even bother to acknowledge that Chrysler isn’t even in the game.”

      No, it’s accurate:

      Ford & GM actually *are* playing hybrid catchup.

      At least from a consumer mindshare and operating fleet standpoint. They’re closing the gap from low visibility to *something*, literally “catching up” to the mindshare leader.

      Chrysler is an omission, in that they’re not doing anything (and can’t afford to). So perhaps you’d have preferred the title to say:

      Ford & GM playing hybrid catchup; Chrysler watching from sidelines

      That’d be more complete, and no more or less accurate.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    The reason that GM get ‘called out’ so much on issues like this is simple and easy to see assuming of course that one wants to see it. No other car company creates as much bluster and bullsh1te about it’s tech! Witness the Volt, the amount of hype around this turd that flowed out of GM’s PR dept. and their resident (then) loose cannon Bob Lutz was simply enourmous. We were treated to the notion that GM were gonna leap frog Toyota and everyone else with their EV tech, their 2-mode hybrid tech, their BAS hybrid tech and so on. According to various GM commentators over the years the Toyota parallel hybrid tech was the wrong way to implement a hybrid car. So who is and was correct after all? GM hasn’t exactly set the hybrid/EV world on fire with what it has actually brought to market after all that hype and multilple billions of taxpayer dollars. GM have only now finally figured out how to build a decent reliable small car. If GM actually lived up to it’s own hype, it would be building rides like George Jetson’s! GM’s long history of promising revolutionary products and delivering turdmobiles is what causes it to be singled out for the kind of criticism that it so richly deserves.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Yep, so when talking about people lagging behind hybrid technology, the only company that should be brought up is GM. I mean, obviously they are at fault because Toyota is really company that makes the Prius.

      If you look at what is available today, Toyota is the leader in hybrid technology. After that, it is between Ford, GM, and Hyundai (assuming the Hybrid Sonata is good), then Honda. After that, there are no players in the market right now. VW, Nissan (buys it all from Toyota), MB, BMW, Mazda… they all have nothing. But I guess they get a free pass because they aren’t GM.

      That is some interesting reasoning that you have.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Now it’s time to roll up those sleeves and prove that Detroit can build a good hybrid after all.”

    They arleady have, they’re called the Ford Fusion & Chevy Volt. As far as the Highlander Hybrid, talk about lipstick on a pig!!!….LOL

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    “If you look at what is available today, Toyota is the leader in hybrid technology. After that, it is between Ford, GM, and Hyundai (assuming the Hybrid Sonata is good), then Honda. After that, there are no players in the market right now. VW, Nissan (buys it all from Toyota), MB, BMW, Mazda… they all have nothing. But I guess they get a free pass because they aren’t GM.”

    No they don’t, they get a free pass because they don’t make great meaningless boasts like GM. All show and no go. Do you remember the original Volt concept? Everyone said WOW! Turns out among other things that it had a better drag coefficient going backwards than forwards! Wow turned to OOPS! Better change the design. Do you remember 120 miles on a single charge? do you remember 80? How about 40? Did I mention that it’s a pure EV, except when it isn’t. It’s also sort kinda a parallel hybrid also. GM spouted so much bull about this car with one executive contradicting the other in public about this car. Do you remember Fritz The cat claiming 230MPG? Only a RenCen dude would have the chuzpah to make such a deceptive claim with a straight face. So far the Volt’s biggest achievement is that it helped secure a multi-billion dollar bailout for GM. Yet another reason to ‘Call them out’.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      “No they don’t, they get a free pass because they don’t make great meaningless boasts like GM.”

      Excuse me, but WHAT?

      Nissan was in that list, and is more full of hot air than GM ever was.

      What’s the range of the Leaf? 100 miles?

      Except when it’s cold?

      And we’ll let you test it, even “long term” for a summer (but not during the winter).

      What a crock.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Nissan’s head honcho bet against hybrids, so to play catch up they bought the right to use the Toyota technology to create the Altima Hybrid. That gave them a credible entry, and probably the most fun to drive entry in the “affordable” class. But what’s next for Nissan? Continuing to adapt Toyota components, assuming TMC is willing to provide the parts? I’d hope for more from Nissan.

        The Prius stands alone. From that regard, Toyota is the undisputed leader. As far as cars with optional hybrid drivetrains, the Ford entries are just as good as Toyota’s are, and some may argue better. Toyota has more model to choose from though. The real disappointment in the hybrid field is Honda. Other than the first Insight, all other hybrid models didn’t cut it, either due to mechanical failures, battery problems, or less-than-promised mileage. A surprise for a Honda, for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      So, you knock GM for changing the design from the original Volt to make it more efficient. On the 120 and 80 mile figures, I think you are just flat making things up. The number was always 40 miles. GM never claimed it was a pure EV. It is an EV with a range extender. If you want to call it a serial hybrid, you can as well. In one particular mode, it acts some what like a parallel hybrid, but can’t run on gas power alone (unlike a true parallel hybrid). The complicated transmission also improves economy of the vehicle. But, I guess you can claim that that is a problem too. The data also wasn’t released because patents were waiting at the patent office to be approved. But, I guess GM should just tell everyone what they are doing and forgo the rights to patents.

      Now, the 230mpg thing, you are correct on. It was a dumb move to release a number based on a formula that wasn’t finalized yet. And notice that Fritz isn’t there anymore.

      And, I knew it was only a matter of time before the bailout came up. I get it. You hate GM. You get your facts wrong to promote your hate of GM. I understand that. So, in short, anything that calls GM out is good for you and makes you happy. Fairness be damned.

  • avatar

    I am very disappointed on the low quality of journalism in this article. How authors can be trusted in future if they do not know simple facts which even my grandma knows. Well I take all these ranting on internet and automotive press with grain of salt because many times author do not know what they are talking about.

    My grandma knows that Ford developed its own hybrid system second to Toyota and therefore is a leader and do not need to catch up. Other Japanese companies need to catch up with Ford instead. GM and Honda developed mild hybrid systems so they also need to catch up to Ford and Toyota. And rest of Japanese are not even in the game. So do no make scapegoat of Detroit. And where are Germans exactly? Detroit seems to be technically more advanced than Germans if take author point of view.

    BTW I have been in local Ford dealership to test drive hybrid and they did not have a single MKZ or Fusion hybrid. I wonder how they are they planning to compete. Without hybrid MKZ and Fusion are not interesting so much. I am not going to come back to Ford dealership every month to check out if they have hybrids on lot, more likely I would skip it altogether.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Meanwhile in Sweden…

    http://www.carpoint.com.au/news/2011/volvo/volvo-developing-f1inspired-fkers-system-25025

    Ah, the joys of variety.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    So, you knock GM for changing the design from the original Volt to make it more efficient. On the 120 and 80 mile figures, I think you are just flat making things up. The number was always 40 miles.

    You are the one who does not have your facts straight. To say that GM always claimed 40MPC is plain wrong. 40MPC is just the latest failed target for this vehicle.

    GM never claimed it was a pure EV. It is an EV with a range extender.

    Semantics! GM claimed it was a pure EV with a range extender. Get your facts straight. This was to distinguish it from the Prius which is and always was a hybrid.

    If you want to call it a serial hybrid, you can as well. In one particular mode, it acts some what like a parallel hybrid, but can’t run on gas power alone (unlike a true parallel hybrid). The complicated transmission also improves economy of the vehicle.

    You just proved once again how GM lied about this vehicle.

    But, I guess you can claim that that is a problem too. The data also wasn’t released because patents were waiting at the patent office to be approved. But, I guess GM should just tell everyone what they are doing and forgo the rights to patents.

    Why do you feel the need to defend GM on the volt. Do you own one?
    GM should tell the truth about what they are bringing to market or just shut up and say nothing if they are worried about patents.

    Now, the 230mpg thing, you are correct on. It was a dumb move to release a number based on a formula that wasn’t finalized yet. And notice that Fritz isn’t there anymore.

    And, I knew it was only a matter of time before the bailout came up. I get it. You hate GM. You get your facts wrong to promote your hate of GM. I understand that. So, in short, anything that calls GM out is good for you and makes you happy. Fairness be damned.

    And, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I was accused of hating GM. When someone does not have a factual basis for their arguement and when the plain facts are in opposition to what they WANT to believe, they resort to ad hominem attacks, “You hate GM”. I have news for you, I have spent 30 years either working for GM or it’s suppliers. I live right in the heart of Canada’s GM town. Most of my neighbours and friends and their neighbours and friends work for GM. I take a great interest in GM because all these people depend on it for their livelyhood. We want it to succeed and thrive but the idiots who were running GM when they dreamed up the reVolt put every GM worker at risk with their incompetence. You’re damn right I will call them out on every misstep they make because of what’s at stake. It has nothing to do with hate. but then when someone is so hung up on blowing sunshine up GM’s ass, they think anyone who does not do likewise ‘hates’ them. Pitiful.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    Ford had the chance for a genuine breakthrough in 2003.
    Had Bill Ford not trusted Mary Ann Wright to the degree that he did Ford would be far ahead of Toyota in HEV’s.
    Mary Ann Wright (Ford’s ex chief of the Escape HEV) threw a hand grenade into the mix when she left Ford to be VP of sales for Ford’s battery supplier: Johnson Controls. Ford’s VP of product development at the time was pushing it to Gerhard Schmidt but Mary Ann torpedoed his efforts.

    There is a small battery made available to Ford in 2003 that mimics the Biggest Battery in Michigan. But the chemical battery manufacturers consider it the ultimate disruptive technology. And for good reason.

    The BBM -Biggest Battery in Michigan – is co-owned by the 2 biggest Electric Utilities in Michigan. It operates every day. It generates almost 20% of all the electricity produced in the state. It has one one civil engineering Prize after another since built over 20 years ago. It operates everyday without pollution, without chemicals of any kind. Hyper-reliable and low cost to build.

    This same technology can be easily fit into a car, a truck, a city bus, a switch engine locomotive.
    in 2003;
    Ford’s own Advanced drive Train Engineers told me this is so.
    Eaton’s VP of research told me this is true.
    MathWoriks Detroit office approached me to coauthor an SAE paper that used computer modeling to indicate that it MAY indeed be true.

    Andre’ Citroen liked to hire civil engineers because he was convinced they had a more open mind.
    It’s a shame Bill Ford trusted VP’s don’t know which of their advanced HEV people are civil-minded.

    The proper HEV will have the same source of electricity as is used by Michigan’s utilities.
    The proper HEV will have tremendous torque, insanely -off the scale- acceleration, and yet will be powered by a tiny 3 cyl engine.
    The proper HEV will be a safe 3,000lb vehicle that easily gets 45-75mpg.
    The proper HEV “black box” will sadly be “Made In China”.
    It should have said “Made in Dearborn”.

    HEV discussions in America center on BAS, 2 Mode, 4 Mode, Mild, Micro, Prius vs Honda, Allison vs BAE-Orion (and more).
    These technologies are eating up research and battery factory “recovery funding” left and right.
    All the while these moot technologies are falling by the wayside behind the scenes in the biggest car market.
    And the US motor industry doesn’t even realize it.

  • avatar
    slumba

    Whatever happened to the hydraulic-hybrid technology? Always seemed like it would be perfect for truck-like stuff.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    Good question: what DID happen to the hydraulic-hybrid technology? Anyone know anything?

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Starting to power garbage trucks with it:

      http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/12/autocar-launches-e3-hydraulic-hybrid-garbage-truck/

      http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/recycling/news-01-18-11.htm

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