9 July 2007

GM Two-Mode Hybrid To Cost Arm, Leg, Plus Body Part To Be Named Later

General Motors might absorb some costs of a Two Mode hybrid transmission in its
full-sized trucks to make the technology affordable to consumers, product chief
Bob Lutz says.The automaker plans to have at least three hybrid transmissions
and offer as many as a dozen hybrid models in the next few years. The Two Mode
system, which has two electric motors that assist the engine, would be the
premium system, Lutz said. The cost of that system is more than $10,000, sources
close to the program say.

That's not good.

Not good at all.

Note that it says AT LEAST $10k. Are you prepared to pay AT LEAST $35k US for an Aura? Or AT LEAST $32k US for a Malibu? What about smaller vehicles? If anything, this news means that GM is going to be stuck using the shitty BAS system for their low end vehicles for quite a while- at least until the economies of scale let them bring down the cost of their Two Mode system. The thought of GM subsidizing this system is ludicrous- using cash to subsidize the Two Mode would be suicide, especially since they're low on cash anyways, and much of their lineup is still in dire need of updates and revisions.

If you look at the Prius, it had 'premium' pricing for close to ten years before Toyota finally had the production capacity to make enough of them to drop the price. Does GM have 10 years? Or do they believe that using the Two Mode strictly in their $50k+ vehicles is a good strategy to persuade the general public that they are a green company? The whole thing is quickly becoming a joke- waiting for the vaporware that is the Volt, waiting for the Two Mode to become affordable, betting the farm on E85. And while they're touting upcoming technology, they continue to sell compact cars that are well behind everyone else in fuel economy, and utilize second rate 'hybrid' technology and trying to pass it off as filet mignon.

But it's all a conspiracy right Bob?

So to sum up- the Two Mode was supposed to be the silver bullet against the werewolf that is Toyota. And now it turns out that the werewolf can only be killed with silver bullets coated with diamonds. At a cost of more than $10,000 for the system, only the supremely stupid will bother with this system in anything less than a Cadillac- and that's not going to be enough for GM.

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