January 7, 2003

GM to offer hybrid powertrains on a dozen models

Detroit, Michigan – General Motors announced that it will offer optional hybrid powertrains on several of its most popular models including trucks, SUVs and mid-size sedans starting in late 2003.

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“This is a major commitment to offer consumers three different hybrid propulsion systems on three vehicle architectures, representing more than a dozen of our most popular models,” GM President and CEO Rick Wagoner announced on Monday at the North American International Auto Show.

“Although today’s hybrid market represents relatively low volumes, we’re well positioned to meet market demand as it develops. In fact, if consumers were to select the hybrid option on all of the models included in our multi-year plan, it could eventually exceed 1 million vehicles.”

The models start with the already announced production of the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks in 2003.

Starting in 2005, GM will begin production of a Saturn VUE featuring a dual electric motor system that will boost composite city/highway efficiency up to 50 percent to nearly 40 mpg. GM will also include a hybrid option for the Chevrolet Equinox starting in 2006, which mates electric motor assist to GM’s VTi variable transmission to the highly efficient Ecotec four-cylinder engine. The combination of VTi with electric motor assist is a sensible approach that provides a fuel economy increase of nearly 15 percent on one of GM’s smaller vehicle architectures. GM will also offer the same hybrid system in its Chevrolet Malibu sedan, with production scheduled for 2007. If successful, the system could be readily available on other mid-size models as demand warrants.

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In addition to the pickups, which start production in 2003 for fleet customers (retail consumers will be able to purchase the vehicles in 2004), GM will offer in 2007 a revised version of this system that adds GM’s Displacement on Demand technology which will be made available on the next generation of GM’s popular full-size SUVs, including the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe. This combination boosts fuel economy by 15-20 percent.

“We do think the technology has the potential to become a factor in the market,” said Wagoner. “We also see hybrids as a bridge to fuel cells, making these programs of value for developing production drive systems and power controls.”

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