The powertrain (or propulsion, at General Motors) arena is a diverse one these days. Today, automakers offer internal-combustion engines, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully battery-electric vehicles.
Where and when is it best to focus on each segment? GM vice president of global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, joined Autoline to discuss what the automaker is doing now and what it plans to do in the future to prepare for a day when the internal-combustion engines reaches retirement.
GM’s overarching goal, part of its zero crashes and zero congestion strategy, is also zero emissions. One day, GM plans to only build cars without tailpipe emissions, though it’s unclear just when that will be. As long as buyers scoop up V8-powered pickups, that day is likely far ahead.
But, to help squeeze efficiency from engine today, GM has introduced its latest Dynamic Fuel Management system. The system debuts with the 2019 Silverado and 2019 Sierra‘s V8 engines. Lightweighting is also a major focus to increase fuel economy at GM.
In the future, battery-electric powertrains and fuel cells will become of more importance. Nicholson says it’s unclear when the internal-combustion engine will meet its demise, but various countries around the world already have plans in place to ban the propulsion method in the coming decades. At GM, he says, the company must be prepared.