Hybrid Camaro? We'll tell you at 11...

FAZ8218

Good eeeeeeeevening.
Wackbag Staff
Feb 10, 2006
443
#1
Strange, but if they make it work, they'll be setting a trend.
http://www.printthis.clickability.c...OL14/708160413/1002/BUSINESS&partnerID=162736
Hybrid Camaro is new cruiser of my dreams

August 16, 2007

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

It could be the future of cruising, a muscle car for the 21st Century: A Chevrolet Camaro that could approach 40 m.p.g. on the highway and 30 m.p.g. in the city.

It might glide silently through future Woodward Dream Cruises, running on battery power up to 25 m.p.h. but with a beefy V8 engine poised to leap to life for a 0-60 sprint.

This Camaro, wedding Chevrolet's legendary small-block V8 engine to General Motors' advanced new hybrid system, isn't on the drawing board yet, but it is feasible, a knowledgeable GM source told the Free Press. GM has the parts on the shelf to get this dream car cruising. It would combine production-ready hybrid technology that hits the road this fall in some GM vehicles with the celebrated new Camaro that is to go on sale in early 2009.

"The Camaro is Chevrolet and GM's halo car," said Joe Phillippi, principal of AutoTrends Consulting, in Short Hills, N.J. "It projects an image that reflects on the whole corporation. To offer all the performance aspects of a classic Camaro and still be environmentally friendly ... that's a real plus from an image point of view.

"A hybrid Camaro, it could go a long way toward changing the perception of General Motors and Chevrolet," he said, particularly if the car won the seal of approval of Consumer Reports magazine or some other respected third party.

Even Chris Paine, director of the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?", which took GM to task for halting the EV1 electric car in the 1990s, would applaud such a move.

"The word hybrid is really starting to mean something at GM; they deserve another look from people," Paine said. "Anything that saves fuel and gives equivalent power is going to be exciting to the consumer."

Because nobody is officially working on a gasoline-electric Camaro hybrid, the fuel economy and performance projections are mine, not GM's. They are based on a reasonable extrapolation of the company's public statements about the Camaro and GM's new hybrid system.

"Every automaker is going to have to have a hybrid version of almost every model they build," said Tony Swan, senior editor at Car and Driver magazine. "It's a smart thing to do for marketing."

That hybrid system is impressive enough that Germany's engineering titans -- BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- jumped at the chance to share it with GM, kicking in cash and engineering talent to develop it.

"The Detroit Three have such a horrible public perception as technology laggards," said Michelle Krebs, editor of AutoObserver.com. "It's critical that they turn that around."

The new hybrid system combines the cylinder deactivation system that helped the Chevrolet Silverado achieve the highest fuel economy rating of any big pickup. It's a system called the "two-mode" hybrid.

It recaptures energy used in braking to charge its batteries and shuts the engine off when the vehicle is idling or puttering along at neighborhood -- or Dream Cruise -- speeds.

The system boosts fuel economy in city driving as much as 45% and improves highway fuel economy by a smaller amount, according to engineers working on the GM-BMW-Mercedes joint development program.

GM has already said a Camaro with a conventional V8 engine will get 30 m.p.g. on the highway.

The V6 Camaro will certainly top that, so it's a not too big a leap to infer eye-popping fuel economy figures for a hybrid version of the reincarnated muscle car.

There's a real question as to whether buyers want a hybrid performance car, though.

Honda failed when it pitched the hybrid Accord as a performance model, and the go-fast hybrid version of Lexus' GS sport sedan has struggled, said Rebecca Lindland, analyst with Global Insight, Lexington, Mass.

"The traditional hybrid buyer is not worried about performance," she said. "That may be changing, but even the slightest hint that it didn't perform as well as the non-hybrid would be death."

Most hybrid systems on the road today have little effect on highway fuel economy, but the two-mode was optimized to improve that number as well by letting the vehicle operate in fuel-saving four-cylinder mode for a longer period and at higher speeds than non-hybrid models.

GM is considering using the new system on other vehicles from the Zeta family of cars that includes the Camaro.

The company hasn't approved any of them for production. GM is weighing the fuel economy and image benefits against the system's very high cost -- considerably more than the less powerful and sophisticated systems used in today's hybrids.

GM has admitted it will lose thousands of dollars on every one of the big Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukons that will offer the system beginning this fall.

The price should fall as production volume rises and the company gets more experience with the system, and GM documents say the company does plan to offer it in rear-wheel-drive cars, though it won't say which ones.

"It looked for years like GM was behind Toyota" in hybrid and alternative-fuel technology, Phillippi said. "Now we're seeing significant movement. With the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids, GM is years ahead."
 

TrybalRage

Registered User
Aug 5, 2004
533
#2
Stop with the electric and the hybrid horseshit and start working on Hydrogen already. Same engines, better horsepower, zero emissions.
 

martianvirus

READY THE ANALPROBES!!!!!!!!
Nov 20, 2005
268
#3
I demand flying cars now!
 

BCH

Doesn't need your acknowledgement on Twitter
Wackbag Staff
Jun 9, 2005
578
#4
Does it come with a hybrid mullet?
 

Creampier

I have to return some videotapes!
May 11, 2007
366
#6
Stop with the electric and the hybrid horseshit and start working on Hydrogen already. Same engines, better horsepower, zero emissions.
To quote the awful Dennis Miller... do you really wanna be sitting in a mall parking lot with 1,000 mini Hindenburgs zipping around you?

I think hydrogen gas gets a bad rap, but it's worth considering since people can't drive worth a shit!
 

TrybalRage

Registered User
Aug 5, 2004
533
#7
Liquid hydrogen is actually safer than gasoline. A hydrogen fire would be a quick whooomph, and it's over. Gas pours and spills and runs.

Like I said, regular engines can burn it, BMW has a car that burns gas and hydrogen and only requires the computer to change the tuning a bit for the different octane. The problems are A) production in mass amounts and B) stations that supply it.

We don't all need wussy electric cars, a V-10 engine on hydrogen is just as clean as a 4 banger. Hydrogen + oxygen burned creates H20.