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Future models - Holden - Commodore - ECOmmodore

Holden's hybrid push

First effort: The ECOmmodore appeared last year in time for the Sydney Olympics.

V6 Commodore fuel miser on the way

20 Dec 2001

HOLDEN will have V6 and four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid Commodores up and running on public display within 15 months.

Both will be rear-wheel drive - as befits Holden's engineering philosophy.

The V6 will combine the forthcoming HFV6 - which will be built in Australia for domestic and international consumption - with an electric engine in a parallel hybrid arrangement.

The four-cylinder will also use the locally built Family II engine in a parallel arrangement, where the electric and petrol engine share the driving duties.

The development is being handled by Holden's manager advanced engineering Laurie Sparke, essentially the company's future tech chief. Mr Sparke also plans to have a series hybrid - that is when an electric engine does all the driving and a petrol engine runs only to charge up the batteries - up and running soon as well.

This is not the first time Mr Sparke has wheeled out hybrid technology, his team developing the ECOmmodore in time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

But that was front-wheel drive, a layout judged expedient at the time, and it used a 95kW, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine also employed in the Vectra.

No details are as yet available about which capacity HFV6 and Family II engines are being employed, although it is believed they will showcase engine shutdown capability to further save on fuel consumption and emissions.

Holden trials diesels

HOLDEN has entered into a deal with US giant Cummins to trial its diesel technology in Commodore.

It is believed the local arm of Cummins has made the approach to Holden and that a test program will soon be underway.

Cummins is best known for its heavy-duty truck engine applications, which top out at a V18 diesel equipped with no less than 12 turbos producing a staggering 2574kW.

It is also rated as the world's biggest produc-er of diesel engines above 37kW.

But it has also been keen to break into the burgeoning passenger car diesel market for some time and has had a "light-duty" engine project underway for three years.

Holden sees diesel development as a way to achieve fuel consumption targets and greater export opportunities for Commodore, particularly in the UK and Europe.

Holden has plans to take Commodore into the UK in 2003 after the VY launch, although interest from GM's UK affiliate Vauxhall has cooled in recent months because of its financial difficulties.

Holden has already been conducting some diesel assessment, trialling a BMW 3 Series, but it is not working with Isuzu, which is GM's designated centre of excellence for diesel engines.

Holden is also examining a proposal to develop 2000 CNG Commodores for the Singapore taxi market.

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