It’s an engine that could raise those trucks’ fuel economy into the mid to high 20s – higher than the new two-mode hybrid system in the trucks, which is rated at 21 mpg.
The engine has cylinder heads that eliminate the intake and exhaust manifolds. It’s truly an innovation should GM take pride in.
And they won’t build it.
Or perhaps the correct wording is they can’t build it. While GM struggles for survival by cutting costs and trying to reduce brands, innovations such as this new diesel are getting put on hold. That’s unfortunate, because the possible benefits of such an engine are huge.
It’s easy for observers of the auto industry (bloggers included) to immediately criticize GM for moves such as this. Certainly the people at GM know how badly they need innovation, especially the kind that makes pickups border on the fuel efficiency of a sedan.
The fact is, though, GM just can’t afford to move on with the development of this engine, which has already tested as quietly and smoothly as a gasoline engine. They’ve already received $13.4 billion in government loans, and they hope to receive another $16.6 billion. That’s money GM needs just to say in business… they simply can’t afford to innovate right now.
Some people will say they can’t afford NOT to innovate, and there’s some truth to that. A joint venture is a possibility, in which GM would work with another company to build the engines for them. But even if such an agreement were made today, it would be at least a year before the engines were in production.
While I truly believe this engine is exactly the innovation GM has needed for quite some time, I can’t help but wonder if it’s come too late.
Would you be interested in buying a light-duty diesel truck that achieved fuel mileage in the high 20s?