(Photo by Joe Wilssens for General Motors)
What’s the outlook for powertrains going forward? According to Steve Kiefer, vice president of General Motors Global Powertrain, speaking at the recent CAR Management Briefing Seminars (cargroup.org), it is going to be a mix, not a single approach as they work toward achieving global fuel efficiency and CO2 standard. “It takes a balance,” he said, noting that GM is launching a new small-displacement engine family (from 1.0-liter to 1.5-liter), three- and four-cylinder variants, that will be used globally starting in 2017. He said that based, in part, on the success of the 2.0-liter turbo diesel available in the Chevy Cruze and the forthcoming 2.0-liter diesel that will be offered in the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, there will be an increase in the number of vehicles offered by GM in the U.S. market with diesels. “I’m very excited about diesels in the U.S. market.” Of course, that’s pretty much all on one side of the balance beam. “There will continue to be some amount of electrification,” Kiefer said. This will range from start-stop systems to light hybrids. Then there will be full electric vehicles. Kiefer also pointed out that GM continues to invest in fuel cell technology, working in a partnership with Honda. “No one can do this alone,” he said. “Collaborations are key.” All that said, it is worth noting that Kiefer opened his presentation with the Chevy Corvette and the LT1 engine. That is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 455 hp. He was proud to note that the Corvette achieves 17 mpg city/29 mpg highway. That’s right: 455 hp, 29 mpg.