With the ground-breaking Chevrolet Volt now on its way to customers, General Motors is already looking to expand its leadership role in vehicle electrification, recently announcing a major expansion of its electric vehicle (EV) development and engineering operations in Michigan. A bonus: The new effort will result in the addition of a 1,000 jobs in the state over the next two years.
“We want to give our customers energy choices other than petroleum and to make the automobile part of the solution when it comes to the environment,” said GM CEO Dan Akerson. “GM is going to lead the industry in the adoption of various vehicle electrification technologies, whether its electric vehicles with extended-range capability, like the Chevrolet Volt, or the recently introduced eAssist technology that will debut on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse.”
And those two vehicles will certainly be a step (or more) in the right direction: The Volt offers 25 to 50 miles of all-electric, no-emissions driving, but also features an efficient on-board generator that can provide up to an additional 340 miles of anxiety-free driving if the batteries are depleted. Based on that kind of performance, the EPA recently rated the Volt as delivering the equivalent of 93 mpg in all-electric mode as well as a very impressive 37 mpg when relying on its gasoline-powered generator.
The 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist, introduced at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, is another illustration of GM’s expertise in high-efficiency electrification systems. The car will feature a 2.4-liter direct-injection I4 engine, a cutting-edge six-speed automatic transmission, and an advanced 15-kW motor-generator unit. Working together, this new powertrain is expected to deliver EPA ratings of 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway, giving Buick’s full-size sedan slightly better fuel efficiency numbers than today’s compact Honda Civic. Plus, all that efficiency also comes with a power boost of up to 15 hp during acceleration.
“The LaCrosse with eAssist technology is the latest example of how this successful car is shaking up the segment and helping to reinvent Buick,” said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing.
And it’s also an excellent reminder of how GM’s new approach to EVs is going to shake up the entire industry.
Source: Chevrolet in the news
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