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GM Turns Up the Horsepower With U.S. Powertrain Development Center

Source: www.Edmunds.com/insideline

PONTIAC, Michigan — The Chevrolet Volt and all manner of new-age vehicles will get to your driveway a little sooner thanks in part to the all-new Powertrain Engineering Development Center that General Motors Corporation has inaugurated in this suburb near GM's headquarters in Detroit.

The first big benefit from this vast 450,000-square-foot facility, said GM, is the ability to chop about 10 weeks out of the time it takes to get a powertrain (traditionally, the engine and transmission) ready for a production vehicle. And that's only the beginning.

The new powertrain engineering facility here will be the template, GM said, for 11 powertrain development labs around the globe. In these advanced new labs, GM will be able to more quickly and efficiently develop and test everything from today's gasoline engines to diesels, hybrids and the so-called "range-extending" electric vehicle powertrains used by, at first, the 2010 Chevrolet Volt.

We saw all manner of cool and unique processes at work that enable GM to test as many as 120 engines, transmissions or hybrid/electric drive systems at one time in specially constructed dynamometers that can measure or test the most intricate operating parameters. Particularly innovative is a refrigerator-like box constructed to enclose the entire powertrain, enabling engineers to quickly heat or cool the engine to simulate Africa-like heat or Arctic subzero temperatures — a serious improvement over the old method of heating or cooling the entire dyno room to such extreme temperatures.

GM engineers — with a big assist from powertrain development specialist AVL List GmbH — adopted a unique new process to speed the changeover from one engine to another within each dynamometer, prepping each engine or powertrain system "offline" on a special transport pallet that rides on a cushion of air, just like a hovercraft. The pallet delivers the engine directly into the dyno, where a minimal amount of extra setup is required to have the engine ready for testing — cutting the time normally required for this kind of stuff from upwards of 24 hours to as little as 20 minutes.

And instead of weeks and months of grueling road testing, computer-aided engineering processes GM dubs "road-to-lab-to-math" drastically reduce time-consuming and expensive road testing to computer-modeled simulations that will improve the durability and reliability of the power plant in your vehicle. And GM says the increased input from computer-modeling development already will save about $200 million this year.

What this means to you: Some of the processes and procedures at work at GM's new Powertrain Engineering Development Center may set a new world standard. In the meantime, it means the advanced new stuff will get to you even quicker. — Bill Visnic, senior editor, Edmunds AutoObserver

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=129977
 

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I think that this is a very good thing for GM and it would be even smarter to link all 11 of these labs together so that they can get data compiled by one lab so that they wont have to do the same testing.
 

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All these powertrain development labs and we still can't get a fuel efficient engine out in a reasonable time frame... we can't get a high tech DOHC V8... And we can't get a quiet, refined engine across the board.

I mean really GM... quit managing by PR release!!
 

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All these powertrain development labs and we still can't get a fuel efficient engine out in a reasonable time frame... we can't get a high tech DOHC V8... And we can't get a quiet, refined engine across the board.

I mean really GM... quit managing by PR release!!
Did not General Motors have two engines named to the latest Ward's AutoWorld top ten engine list, more than any other manufacturer? Over the years General Motors has had many engines named to this list. Mgescuro, your comments are way too negative. This article was on how General Motors is reengineering its powertrain development process to decrease time, expense, and improve quality. General Motors' recent powertrains have been excellent and they are improving the development process to get better. Are you so critical of the endless Toyota "news" articles promoted by Toyota's PR department? Maybe you should scrutinize those Toyota fluff pieces for a change and stop being hyper-critcal of General Motors.
 

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They had one ready, and a really good one from all indications, but just decided not to build it due to CAFE.
GM should not be ruled by CAFE... They can still make the big cars with big engines as long as they actually give a crap about making smaller more fuel efficient cars. - something even up to last month they didn't seem to understand - not bring the Beat over ASAP.

GM gave up like a little girl, giving up developing this engine (and other items) and putting rear drive on hold when CAFE came in guns blazing.

Had GM actually invested in small cars throughout the years, they would have had a overall average mileage number that wouldn't have been too hard to achieve once the truck and car hybrids came online.
 

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Why bother with a DOHC V8 when you have a Gen IV or Gen V that will make more power, overall smaller, cheaper to build, and more fuel efficent?
 

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Did not General Motors have two engines named to the latest Ward's AutoWorld top ten engine list, more than any other manufacturer? Over the years General Motors has had many engines named to this list. Mgescuro, your comments are way too negative. This article was on how General Motors is reengineering its powertrain development process to decrease time, expense, and improve quality. General Motors' recent powertrains have been excellent and they are improving the development process to get better. Are you so critical of the endless Toyota "news" articles promoted by Toyota's PR department? Maybe you should scrutinize those Toyota fluff pieces for a change and stop being hyper-critcal of General Motors.
Great post.
Spot on.
Don't expect a response.
 

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Unless I'm reading this wrong, a benefit here potentially is taking GM engines from around the globe and testing them for the U.S. market. If that is the case, it may not be long until we see the best that GM has to offer right here in the U.S. --- in addition, of course to what is designed right here.

If the 11 labs worldwide are built off of one templete, as suggested, then that would seem to bolster the idea that these development labs will help spread GM engine technology worldwide, and knock down the traditional regional walls between Opel, Holden, GM USA, GM do Brasil, and GMDAT that saw only a handful of "world" engines, and left countries like Australia producing a very old version of the Opel I4's, for instance, or had GM North America re-inventing the wheel for small car engines.
 

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Hopefully development of all technologies in one place will lead to stronger powertrains from GM. I'm ready for GM to truely be in the forefront of the pack. Sure, they have some great engines now, but hopefully they are ready to beat back the competition now that they will be testing in one building for the world market.
 

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This is a great move by GM, all the cntres linked together just like the design studios, everyone can work on something diff to speed the whole process up
 

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All these powertrain development labs and we still can't get a fuel efficient engine out in a reasonable time frame... we can't get a high tech DOHC V8... And we can't get a quiet, refined engine across the board.

I mean really GM... quit managing by PR release!!
Example of efficiency:
Cobalt/G5 - 24/33 (28)
Astra - 24/30 (27)
Focus - 24/33 (28)
Civic - 25/36 (29)
Corolla - 27/35 (30)
Spectra - 24/32 (27)
Elantra - 25/33 (28)
Jetta/Rabbit - 21/29 (24)

Seems pretty much on par, no?

You've also STILL BEEN UNABLE TO BACK-UP THE "COMPETITION IS FASTER" ARGUMENT nor your opinion that they aren't doing things at a reasonable speed. I knowq you think that Toyota does it in 9 months and that the results come out flawless and with the gift of samurai super powers, but until we can see actual proof of that, I'm calling BS and with good reason: GMI staff memeber status does not absolve one from being called-out when they make ridiculous claims, nor from the need to back it up/prove it when called-out if they want to be taken seriously.

As far as high-tech engines go, what about VVT, direct injection and AFM, for starters. These things are being implemented in engines across the board, from I4s to V8s. The Northstars aren't exactly archaic, either, and would fill the DOHC V8 requirement of yours. The only place they seem to be behind is in hp numbers when compared to some of the latest efforts by other automakers, but what's on paper and how things perform in reality are apples and oranges. There's a LOT more than hp numbers at play when you really want to compare the performance of vehicles or their powertrains.

Whether and engine is OHC or OHV also should not matter these days: have you driven a car with the NEW GM pushrod engines in it? We're not talking about the 3100 SFi anymore with the 3500, 3900, LS Series, etc. They have plenty of go and manage not to sound like a tractor, not that the older ones were that bad either. They also now feature some of the latest tech, like VVT or AFM as well. They aren't very noisy, they don't vibrate or shake, they aren't slouches... What more do you want/expect? Silence, rocket-like propulsion and 300 mpg? Same as my compact car fuel economy comparo up there, I hate to break it to you but they're largely on par with the competition (OHC engines too, since I was speaking about pushrods in the end).

I think you need to stop criticizing by outdated, false perception.
 

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All these powertrain development labs and we still can't get a fuel efficient engine out in a reasonable time frame... we can't get a high tech DOHC V8... And we can't get a quiet, refined engine across the board.

I mean really GM... quit managing by PR release!!

I would think you would be excited mgescuro. Imagine the 10 weeks cut from engine design when applied to the Cobalt XFE. That engine would have been done in 15 months, 3 weeks.;)

I hope it is like MING said. That they can now cut down on the number of Continent/Market specific engines(and costs) and make all the engines worldly. GM will make the best engines as all the power train centers will have a voice.
 

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GM's powertrains are the least of their problems.

Look at the engine in my HHR SS: 2.0L(!) Direct Injected Turbo producing 260hp and gets 30 miles per gallon on the freeway!

And of course, no one needs to point out the LS7, LS9, etc... Another poster posted the fuel economy of the current Cobalt, and it's spot-on for its class as well. Sounds like the 1.4L Turbo in the Cruze may be class leading.

I agree that the DOHC V8 could be a problem for Cadillac. But if you have a good enough V6 (maybe twin turbo) it may be a non-issue in the future -- especially if you can spin it in a "eco-friendly" manner. I don't personally give a rat's ass about the eco-friendly angle, but I know a lot of people do. Make it a hybrid of some kind and you can get good press.


All these powertrain development labs and we still can't get a fuel efficient engine out in a reasonable time frame... we can't get a high tech DOHC V8... And we can't get a quiet, refined engine across the board.

I mean really GM... quit managing by PR release!!
 

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GM's powertrains are the least of their problems.

Look at the engine in my HHR SS: 2.0L(!) Direct Injected Turbo producing 260hp and gets 30 miles per gallon on the freeway!

And of course, no one needs to point out the LS7, LS9, etc... Another poster posted the fuel economy of the current Cobalt, and it's spot-on for its class as well. Sounds like the 1.4L Turbo in the Cruze may be class leading.

I agree that the DOHC V8 could be a problem for Cadillac. But if you have a good enough V6 (maybe twin turbo) it may be a non-issue in the future -- especially if you can spin it in a "eco-friendly" manner. I don't personally give a rat's ass about the eco-friendly angle, but I know a lot of people do. Make it a hybrid of some kind and you can get good press.
I agree GM has some good engines. Like that 2.0 DI engine. But they do not used them. Where do you get them? At Cobalt ss, sky red line. Why not replace 3.6l in g6 and give it 2.0 di. At least to be different from aura. See gm has some good engines but they never put them in cars that should be put in. They always put crapy engines. LIke that 3.6l that can only get 26 mpg. while honda accord with 3.5l produces more HP and it can manage 29 mpg. Why cant gm use that 2.0 in mid size cars. Give people a choice.
 

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I agree GM has some good engines. Like that 2.0 DI engine. But they do not used them. Where do you get them? At Cobalt ss, sky red line. Why not replace 3.6l in g6 and give it 2.0 di. At least to be different from aura. See gm has some good engines but they never put them in cars that should be put in. They always put crapy engines. LIke that 3.6l that can only get 26 mpg. while honda accord with 3.5l produces more HP and it can manage 29 mpg. Why cant gm use that 2.0 in mid size cars. Give people a choice.
Sorry, missed on that one. To whit,

Honda 3.5 V6 275 HP, 250 lb. ft of torgue

GM 3.6 DI V6 304 HP, 273 lb. ft of torque

Yes the Honda may get 29 MPG, but I regularly get 28 in my CTS on the highway, so I don't think one should be crowing when one's facts are not accurate. Lot's of love though!

My .02 :)
 

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Why bother with a DOHC V8 when you have a Gen IV or Gen V that will make more power, overall smaller, cheaper to build, and more fuel efficent?
Agree!
 
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