Tahoe Hybrid SUV
The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid
SUV is a full hybrid model slated to roll out in 2007.
General Motors has taken
the strategy of developing their full hybrid systems for
their heavier and more fuel inefficient vehicles first
such as buses, trucks and heavy SUV models.
The lighter SUV's such
as the Saturn VUE hybrid will receive a mild hybrid system
rather than a full hybrid system first.
A full hybrid system means a vehicle can run on either the
electric motor, gasoline engine or both. The full hybrid system
is generally one or two electric motors assisted by the gasoline
engine when needed. The mild hybrid systems are the opposite
in that the gasoline engine is primary, assisted by the electric
motor when needed. The Chevy
Malibu Hybrid, also slated to roll out in 2007, will
receive a mild hybrid system.
The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid (and GMC
Yukon Hybrid) will both roll out with a version of
the Allison advanced hybrid bus technology. The Tahoe Hybrid
will also have the Displacement on Demand cylinder deactivation
technology, which inactivates some gasoline cylinders when the
vehicle is slowing down in order to conserve fuel. The expected
fuel savings on the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid compared with the standard
Tahoe will be around 30-percent, according to GM.
At this time, the production location for the Chevy Tahoe
Hybrid is uncertain. Standard Tahoe SUV's are currently
produced at GM's Janesville, Wisconsin and Arlington, Texas
plants. The hybrid system for the Tahoe and Yukon are being
produced in a joint venture with Daimler-Chrysler, which
will in turn use the same technology in the upcoming Dodge
Durango Hybrid SUV.
With recent advances in high-performance electric motors
being able to deliver more torque, the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid,
when it rolls out, will most likely be able to deliver both
better performance and greater fuel efficiency that the
current gasoline-only model. Time will tell how the development
of the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid unfolds as consumers still have
a bit of a wait.