GM changing light-truck technology

July 3, 2003
General Motors is developing several new technologies to make its light trucks more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, while providing users with a more flexible vehicle. In the first quarter of next year, GM plans to start producing its FlexPower pickup truck, a vehicle equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that should improve fuel economy by 10%-15% while providing 120 volts of onboard
General Motors is developing several new technologies to make its light trucks more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, while providing users with a more flexible vehicle.

In the first quarter of next year, GM plans to start producing its FlexPower pickup truck, a vehicle equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that should improve fuel economy by 10%-15% while providing 120 volts of onboard power for construction tools.

GM plans to build about 500 FlexPower trucks next year to see how the market reacts to them.

Product & marketing manager Dan Tigges told Fleet Owner that FlexPower trucks are not typical hybrids because they do not have electric motors. New electronics and software, combined with a 42-volt torque converter, shuts down the engine as the driver steps on the brake, then restarts it when the driver presses the accelerator.

This system eliminates the need for a generator and starter, Tigges said.

GM is also working on a system called "displacement on demand," with technology that should be ready in two to three years. It controls the number of engine cylinders in use based on load demand.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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