The Tahoe hybrid is, in many ways, GM's biggest news at the Detroit Show, because this is the first time that anyone has taken a true hybrid system--co-developed with BMW and DaimlerChrysler--and applied it to a full-size truck. The so-called two-mode system generates around 300 hp and consists of an electric motor/generator and a Vortec V-8 OHV engine, using electric power only, engine power only, or a combination thereof at low speeds and light loads. It's the Toyota approach with two planetary gear seats and two electric motors mated to a gasoline engine. Unlike previous GM hybrids such as the Saturn Vue Green Line, the Tahoe hybrid will be able to accelerate with the gasoline engine shut off. The technology has worldwide applications, and GM is crowing that it will provide amazing gas mileage when combined with diesel engines in Europe. In the U.S., the same gasoline/electric powertrain from the Tahoe will also be fitted to the Escalade. On the highway, full eight-cylinder engine power is added to the electric motors for passing, climbing steep grades, and towing. GM claims 25 percent fuel savings compared to conventional Tahoes, improvements aided by such features as a 0.4-inch lower ride height, low rolling resistance tires, a streamlined hood leading edge, and a liftgate and hood made of aluminum. The truck goes on sale late in 2007 as a 2008 model.
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