General Motors is developing a range of diesel-electric hybrid drivetrains that could appear in production Vauxhalls and Opels within five years.
Engineers at GM Europe’s powertrain HQ in Turin are studying the feasibility of integrating the company’s existing hybrid components — motor-generators, batteries and control electronics — with diesel engines.
Everything from mild hybrids to a diesel version of the Voltec powertrain architecture of the Volt/Ampera is on the table, according to GM Europe’s advanced technology chief engineer, Maurizio Cisternino.
“If you want the best fuel consumption, you have to go with the diesel-electric hybrid,” he said. Hybrids are most efficient in the city, while diesels are best for motorways; Cisternino said these theories have been proved through simulations.
Cisternino believes that C and D-segment models like the Astra and Insignia are the best candidates for “more substantial electrification”, meaning the most technically advanced hybrid systems. Cisternino’s team is aiming for a 1000 euro (£880) premium over petrol-electric hybrids, similar to the difference between conventional petrol and diesel cars. But he admitted, “This does not work at the moment.”