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February 13, 2008

GM Unveils the Sierra Hybrid Pickup at the Chicago Auto Show

General Motors Corporation (GM) unveiled the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid pickup on February 3 at the Chicago Auto Show. The new hybrid pickup, which goes on sale near the end of this year, will achieve a 40% improvement in fuel economy during city driving and a 25% improvement in fuel economy overall. The vehicle will pair GM's two-mode hybrid system with a six-liter V-8 engine that features cylinder deactivation technology, relying on only four cylinders under light loads. It also employs what GM calls late intake valve closing technology, a fuel-saving measure that allows the engine to more easily suck air into its cylinders (this is often referred to as an "Atkinson-cycle engine"). The Sierra Hybrid is further indication that GM intends to include the two-mode hybrid system on most if not all of its heavier vehicles, having already released the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon Hybrid, with plans to start selling the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, the Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode hybrid, and now the GMC Sierra Hybrid later this year.

Photo of the Denali XT on a stage, with a display that says GMC behind it.

The GMC Denali XT concept is a flex-fuel hybrid sport utility truck with a short bed. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Steve Fecht, ©GM Corp.

GM also unveiled the Denali XT hybrid concept vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show. The muscular sport-utility truck combines GM's smaller 4.9-liter V-8 engine with the two-mode hybrid system, yielding a 50% increase in fuel economy compared to other small pickup trucks. The engine is also able to run on E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. In addition, GM announced that Chevrolet's small sport utility vehicle, the HHR, will be available in a flex-fuel version for the 2009 model year. The 2009 Chevrolet HHR will be GM's first four-cylinder model that can run on either gasoline or E85. See the GM press releases on the GMC Denali XT Hybrid, the GMC Sierra Hybrid, and the Chevrolet HHR.

Meanwhile, Hyundai unveiled its latest fuel cell vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show. The i-Blue Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle features Hyundai's third-generation fuel cell stack in a housing under the floor, with a 100-kilowatt motor up front and a compressed hydrogen tank in the rear. The i-Blue is Hyundai's first fuel cell vehicle designed from the ground up, an important step in the company's plan to commercialize fuel cell technology in the next decade. The Chicago Auto Show opened to the public on February 8 and continues through February 17. See the Hyundai press release and photos, and for more information about the show, see the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

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