MILFORD, MICH. — General Motors Corp. unveiled working versions of its large SUV hybrids. The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon will offer the gas-electric hybrid by the end of the year, improving the vehicles' gas mileage by 25%, GM officials said.
"We're still in the development stages, but we're on track to have these vehicles ready by the fourth quarter of this year," said Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of hybrid technology. The hybrid system powers the SUVs using electric motors (mounted inside the transmission), the gas engine alone or a combination, said Tim Grewe, GM's chief engineer for rear-wheel drive powertrain hybrids.
Additionally, the electric motors can be locked out of the drive train during times the engine's power is needed, such as in towing up to 6,000 pounds. Both models include a valve shutoff system that allows the 6-liter V-8 to operate on half of its cylinders to help conserve fuel when at cruising speed.
GM used a number of tools to improve the vehicle's gas mileage. Besides the hybrid system, it lightened the SUVs by more than 300 pounds. It replaced the hood and front tailgates with aluminum and changed the front fascia, side rails, and back of the vehicle. It also redesigned the vehicle grille and made other improvements to make it more streamlined, said Mary Sipes, vehicle line director for full-size SUVs.
The insides of the Tahoe and Yukon closely resemble their gas-only namesakes.
Source: The Detroit News