Fuel economy, safety on GM's SAE 2010 Congress agenda

  • 06-Apr-2010 11:51 EDT

GM’s Cruze uses a 1.4 liter Ecotec engine to save fuel, while the Terrain uses a larger version of that platform.

General Motors will be highlighting at the 2010 SAE World Congress the rapid evolution of its vehicles as they add options for infotainment and safety while also reducing fuel consumption and emissions. GM speakers will discuss a range of topics in panels and technical sessions, while a couple of vehicles on the show floor will give attendees a chance to see how these concepts translate into end products.

On the floor, GM plans to show two vehicles. At press time, a Chevrolet Cruze and GMC Terrain were set to demonstrate GM’s innovations. The 2011 Cruze compact sedan, which debuted in the U.S. late last year, is a global car refined for America. It focuses on fuel economy, using an Ecotec 1.4-L I4 turbo with variable valve timing that offers up to 40 mpg U.S. EPA highway fuel economy. Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions also help reduce fuel consumption.

The compact also addresses the industry’s growing focus on safety. Electronic stability control with rollover sensing helped the Cruze win a five-star rating from the New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) in Europe, Australia, and China. GM said the compact was the first passenger car to receive maximum scores in both the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests since EuroNCAP began testing in 1997.

Though compact cars are getting a lot of focus in response to new government requirements, GM is still marketing the larger vehicles that many Americans desire, showing the Terrain in its booth. Highlighting GM’s focus on reuse and common technical platforms, the Terrain SUV is also powered by an Ecotec engine, though it uses a larger 2.4-L direct-injected version.

It also boasts a number of infotainment options such as a 7-in touch-screen navigation system, a 10-GB hard drive, and a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens and inputs. The hard drive enables a radio station-like song library to be stored for instant playback through the radio

On the technical side, marketers and engineers from a range of divisions will be among the many speakers at SAE World Congress meetings. Electrification is a key trend in the industry, one with ramifications far beyond the auto industry. GM speakers will be among those who look at Smart Grid Technology on Tuesday morning.

GM experts will also be discussing sustainability as part of a climate control session. The nitty gritty of design will be addressed with a computational fluid dynamics presentation that compares lift and drag predictions. Fault detection will also be examined in another technical session.

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