General Motors is planning a fall 2007 launch for its highly anticipated so-called "dual-mode" or two-mode gas/electric hybrid version of the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.
Company insiders tell Inside Line the hybrid version of the trucks will see a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy over the conventional trucks, with a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg. The hybrid trucks will also be outfitted with a new V8 engine with an unspecified displacement that makes approximately 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
Both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are capable of using the new hybrid system. It is unclear which truck will be the first to get the hybrid system — or whether both will get it at the same time. However, because of the hybrid's anticipated expense — at least $3,000 more than the gas-powered versions of the trucks — GM may be leaning toward introducing it first in the GMC-brand trucks, which are aimed at a more affluent audience.
GM's dual-mode hybrid trucks will be equipped with the new V8 and two electric motors that control two planetary gearsets. Another key piece of equipment will be a fuel-optimization computer. "Dual mode" refers to the hybrid's transmission setup, which allows the truck to shift between a conventional 4-speed automatic transmission and a continuously variable transmission. The shifting between transmission modes is done with the help of the onboard fuel-optimization computer, which makes split-second calculations as to which transmission mode will be the best for conserving fuel. The work is done automatically, with no buttons to push by the driver.
This is the future of cars unfolding before our very eyes. Future cars will be more fuel-efficient and more automised.
Eventually, cars will do a great deal of driving for us.