GM: Hybrid Drive A Good Fit For Pickups

By dancurranjr On March 17th, 2009

gmIn today’s falling market for full-size pickups, towing capability is more important than ever, General Motors Corp. believes. And that, it says, is one reason for its recent four point gain in market share, to 42 percent, in the segment.

According to AutoTech Daily, GM figures more buyers will embrace the new hybrid-electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra currently being launched by the company. The new pickups are fitted with the same two-mode hybrid system — teamed with a 6.0-liter V-8 engine — offered on the 2008-model Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade hybrids.

GM says the two-mode powertrain,which has four fixed gears as well as a planetary gear that combinesthe output of the gasoline and two electric motors, is a good fit for the pickups. The additional gear ratios improve towing capacity — 6,100 pounds for two-wheel-drive versions of the Chevy/GMC pickups — including in all-electric mode at speeds up to 30 mph. Although towing capacity is down significantly from the traditionally powered counterparts (9,700 lbs for a 2wd extended cab truck), GM says its system provides more oomph than Ford and Toyota’s hybrid trucks, which top out at 3,500 and 1,000 pounds, respectively.

Refinements also have been made to other parts of the pickups to better complement the hybrid system and optimize fuel economy, which is listed at 21 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway in the two-wheel-drive model, up 40 percent in the city and 25 percent overall compared
to gasoline-only models.

The 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery drives the 42-volt electric steering unit through a DC-to-DC converter. In addition to recharging the battery, regenerative braking helps extend the life of the regular brake linings.

The 2010 pickups also get low-rolling-resistance tires. A new exhaust system is tuned specifically for the V-8’s cylinder deactivation
system — which cuts cylinders under partial-load operation.

A new hydraulic shock mount on the cab helps reduce vibration. The feature also will be included in GM’s non-hybrid pickups. In the hybrid models, the system is teamed with a new low-noise electric cooling fan for the battery pack.

Despite the benefits, GM expects fewer than 15 percent of its full-size pickup buyers to opt for the hybrid system. This compares to a 25 percent take rate for the Escalade hybrid, which GM says is one of the highest rates for a hybrid drive in vehicles that offer it as an option. The hybrid versions of the Tahoe/Yukon account for about 15 percent of Chevy/GMC full-size SUV sales.

The two-mode hybrid system was developed in partnership with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. Chrysler briefly offered the system in the Durango and Aspen before killing both vehicles in the face of the company’s economic woes. BMW will launch its version in the new X6 crossover later this year. GM also plans to offer the system in the Saturn Vue, although the program has been delayed and is somewhat questionable considering the future of Saturn itself is in jeopardy.

SOURCE: WWJ News Radio

U.S. Hybrid Sales up 3.6% in August

By dancurranjr On September 5th, 2008

Reported U.S. sales of hybrid vehicles from the major automakers rose 3.6 per cent in August 2008, compared to sales in August 2007, with 26,045 vehicles sold. This represents a 2.08 per cent new vehicle market share for the month. Overall, sales of light-duty vehicles in the U.S. fell 15.5 per cent in August 2008, with sales of passenger cars dropping by 7.7 per cent and light trucks by 22.1 per cent.

The August 2008 hybrid sales results fell just short of the current August sales record of 26,249 units, reached in 2006.

At Toyota, sales of the Prius were down 4.2 per cent to 13,463; the company said the decline is due to limited availability. Camry Hybrid sold 3,456 units, a 19.3 per cent drop from August 2007, and representing 7.8 per cent of all Camry sales, which increased overall by 3.3 per cent from the year before. Sales of the Highlander Hybrid were 1,277 units, up 224.6 per cent from August 2007, and representing 15.2 per cent of all Highlander sales, which dropped 15.29 per cent to 8,070 units.

The Lexus RX 400h sold 1,277 units in August, up 9.0 per cent, and representing 14.2 per cent of all RX model sales, which dropped 10.6 per cent to 8,969 units. The GS 450h sold 35 units, down 73.1 per cent, and representing 2.1 per cent of all GS models. The LS 600h sold 71 units, a 73.4 per cent drop, and representing 4.0 per cent of all LS model sales.

Sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid were up 47.7 per cent to 3,105 units, representing 10.3 per cent of all Civics sold; total Civic sales rose 5.3 per cent to 30,052. The company also sold two units of the discontinued Honda Accord Hybrid.

Combined sales of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids dropped 27 per cent to 1,338 units, representing 8.0 per cent of all Escape and Mariner Sales, which rose 11.7 per cent in August to 16,634 units.

The Nissan Altima Hybrid sold 442 units, a decrease of 31.3 per cent from August 2007, and representing 1.7 per cent of all Altima sales. Sales of all Altima models dropped 0.5 per cent for the month.

General Motors sold 798 units of its two-mode Tahoe, Yukon and Cadillac Escalade models, representing 5 per cent of combined sales of all models in those lines, which were down 24 per cent. The Tahoe and Yukon made up the majority, with only one two-mode Escalade sold. The Saturn Vue with GM Hybrid System sold 417 units, representing 4.3 per cent of Vue sales, which totalled 9,649 units for an increase of 46.1 per cent. Sales of the Malibu Hybrid were 388 units, for 2.5 per cent of all Malibu sales, while the Saturn Aura Hybrid sold 26 units, for 0.6 per cent of all Aura sales. Overall, 0.5 per cent of General Motors’ total sales were hybrid vehicles.

Source: Canadian Driver

Tax Savings for 2008 and 2009 Model Hybrid Vehicles

By dancurranjr On August 20th, 2008

Thinking of buying a hybrid car? Doing so will save the environment and keep money in your wallet. You could be eligible for a tax credit of up to $3,000 depending on when the car is purchased and the model you buy.

The Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit applies to cars purchased after Jan. 1, 2006. Currently, there are more than 40 different models of hybrid vehicles eligible for the credit. You can see which cars qualify by visiting Once 60,000 hybrid cars from a particular manufacturer are sold, the tax credit is reduced until it’s ultimately phased out.

Keep in mind, though, that the credit is only available to the original buyer of the car. So, if you purchase a used hybrid vehicle, you can’t claim the tax credit. And, if you lease a hybrid car, the credit goes to the company leasing the vehicle.

The Internal Revenue Service has certified several vehicles as eligible for the hybrid tax credit. According to the IRS, “The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to vehicles purchased on or after January 1, 2006, and may be as much as $3,400 for those who purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicles.” In cooperation with the automakers, the IRS has certified the maximum hybrid tax credit for the following vehicles:

2008 Hybrid Models Tax Breaks

  • 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: $1,300
  • 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid (2WD and 4WD): $2,200
  • 2008 Ford Escape 2WD Hybrid: $3,000
  • 2008 Ford Escape 4WD Hybrid: $2,200
  • 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid (2WD and 4WD): $2,200
  • 2008 Honda Civic GX compressed natural gas vehicle: $4,000
  • 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT: $2,100
  • 2008 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid: $450
  • 2008 Lexus RX 400h 2WD and 4WD: $550
  • 2008 Mazda Tribute 2WD Hybrid: $3,000
  • 2008 Mazda Tribute 4WD Hybrid: $2,200
  • 2008 Mercury Mariner 2WD Hybrid: $3,000
  • 2008 Mercury Mariner 4WD Hybrid: $2,200
  • 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid: $2,350
  • 2008 Saturn Aura Hybrid: $1,300
  • 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line: $1,550
  • 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid: $650
  • 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD: $650
  • 2008 Toyota Prius: $787.50

2009 Model Year Hybrid Vehicles (So Far)



Credit Amount


Escape Hybrid 2WD



Escape Hybrid 4WD



Mariner Hybrid 2WD



Mariner Hybrid 4WD