Later this year we will see the first Tahoe Hybrid land here at our dealership. This is exciting because this will be the world’s first two-mode hybrid propulsion powered SUV!
While traditional full hybrid systems offer only one electric mode, used in low-speed driving, the Tahoe system will offer one mode for low speed and light loads and another mode for highway speeds. In the first mode, the hybrid system can operate in three ways: electric power only (motor drive), engine power only (engine drive), or a combination of both motor and engine drive. In the second mode, sophisticated electronic controls produce efficient engine operation as well as full power in conditions when it is needed, such as passing or towing.
Engine power is supplied by a Vortec V-8 with cam phasing and late intake valve closing. The engine also features Active Fuel Management technology (which allows the engine to run on 4 or 8 cylinders) for improved fuel efficiency when less power is needed. Electric power comes from two 60kW motors and a 300-volt battery pack.
Regenerative braking will also help turn kinetic energy back into electricity for the battery pack to store using technology developed in the GM EV1 electric car. All of this adds up to a full sized SUV that is 25% more fuel efficient. That means EPA fuel economy numbers in the 20 city/26 highway range!
What do you think? Is this the future for all vehicles? Or will a “parallel hybrid” system, like what just debuted in the Chevrolet Volt, be the norm?