Holden fuels paradise
GMH has some big plans for the Commodore, writes PAULGOVER
ACOMMODORE with fuel economy to rival a Toyota Corolla is under development at GM Holden. It will not happen instantly, or as a single mechanical update, but the plan is to have a family six with world-class economy as soon as possible.
The first step is cylinder de-activation — a system to cut individual cylinders under low engine loads to reduce fuel consumption — which is already installed in Commodores exported to the US as Pontiac G8s.
It is likely to be fitted to domestic versions within three months and Holden has no explanation as to why it is not already available.
But GM Holden has much bigger plans for the Commodore and is stacking up engine technologies which could include an engine-stop system for city driving, an electric water pump, on-demand alternator, E85 ethanol compatibility and hybrid-style energy recovery.
‘‘If we do it right it will be $2000 less on fuel than a current Toyota Corolla,’’ GM Holden chairman Mark Reuss says.
It’s a challenge for Holden, but GM says forthcoming technology could boost economy by more than 20 per cent above current levels. Reuss won’t specify but promises improvements to the Commodore’s V6 and V8s.
‘‘If you look at what we have from later this year, from a technology position, it’s all aimed at Commodore. We’re going to aim to have it all over the next three years. We would like to have a new technology every three or four months.’’
He says cylinder deactivation will be first and believes it will make a big difference.
‘‘That’s one of the priorities. There are about four other technologies that are going to be done in the next four years that are pretty good,’’ he says.
But Reuss will not be drawn on an official litre/100km objective for the Commodore.
‘‘We do’t have a fuel economy target. We have a CO2 target and I would like to get the fleet under 180g/km,’’ he says.
‘‘I prefer to set up our targets with CO2 targets, because fuel economy comes. CO2 drives the right behaviour . . . to get the right powertrain with the right technology.’’
Reuss believes an economy boost will keep people in the big-car class despite the growing shift to small cars in Australia.
‘‘We’ve got to cover the small segment, but people don’t abandon large cars because they want a small one. It’s because it becomes unsustainable,’’ he says.
Big plans: the Commodore family’s engine technologies could include an engine-stop system for city driving and an electric water pump.