Hybrid Technology Changes Gears
Hybrid technology has come a long way and continues to improve everyday. However, the newest innovation in Hybrid Technology isn't a motor...it's a transmission?
It makes sense if you think about it. The motor's sole responsibility is to make power. It's the transmission's job to get the power to the wheels. GM took that and decided to make a Hybrid Transmission.
The design incorporates 2 electric-motors and 4 fixed gears. They work together to distribute both gasoline and electric power to wherever it is needed. The electric motors also have 2 separate modes in which they operate. The first is used when driving at city speeds. The second is reserved for highway driving. By using the 2 mode setup, GM is able to improve both city and highway efficiency.
"Our two-mode hybrid transmission is a leap forward in hybrid technology and a key part of GM's unique strategy to offer several different hybrid systems in a range of popular vehicles," said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. "Our multi-pronged hybrid program is in addition to our many other efforts to minimize the impact of our cars and trucks on the environment, including the 1.5 million GM vehicles already capable of using ethanol/gasoline blended E85 fuel, and our cutting edge advances in hydrogen fuel-cell technology."
In addition to the vast improvements the transmission will have for the automotive world, it will also create new jobs. GM plans to expand one or more of it's plants to accommodate for higher production levels if the new technology is a hit. The number of jobs is estimated from 45-100.
The new transmission will only be available in Tahoes and the GMC Yukons in the beginning. GM is hoping to expand the application to the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado by next year.