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CHINA: GM announces first hybrid project with SAIC

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 October 2004

GM has announced its first hybrid project to be undertaken with Chinese partner SAIC. The joint hybrid bus program will utilize a hybrid powertrain developed by GM's Allison Transmission Division that uses dual electric motors to launch the bus from a stop and regenerative braking to capture energy in an advanced battery system. It will be packaged in a bus manufactured by Sunwin, SAIC's bus joint venture in Shanghai.

 "The launch of our new hybrid bus program and our participation in the Challenge Bibendum demonstrate that GM is not just focusing on today's market but helping drive the development of a sustainable automotive industry in China through mutually beneficial partnerships," said Phil Murtaugh, Chairman and CEO of the General Motors China Group. "We are leveraging GM's century of technological advances to improve the performance, efficiency and emissions of vehicles in China."

According to Murtaugh, "The hybrid bus project represents one of the first concrete steps being taken jointly by GM and SAIC in the promotion of fuel- efficient and environmentally clean transportation. GM's strategy is to initially apply hybrid technology in high-volume and high fuel-consumption vehicles such as mass transit buses. Our hybrid bus project will help Shanghai explore alternatives that have the potential to greatly impact its public transportation system."

GM and SAIC will jointly produce one hybrid bus for commercial evaluation in the primary stage of the program. The partners will then leverage real- world in-use data to study the feasibility of mass-producing the hybrid bus for Shanghai and China.

There are currently about 17,000 buses in operation in Shanghai. Each runs an average of 155 miles (250 kilometres) per day. A 30 percent improvement in fuel economy could result in savings of 12 tons of fuel per vehicle per year.

Hu Maoyuan, President of SAIC, said: "The new partnership will enable us to combine GM's rich global resources and emerging technologies with SAIC's expertise in the development of commuter buses for the creation of the next generation of motor vehicles in China. We are focusing first on buses because of their importance to China's public transportation system and because they consume greater amounts of fuel."