General Motors re-brands engineering arm to reflect era of EVs

General Motors (GM) is dedicating more than 4,000 employees to the development of new fuel cell and battery technologies as part of a manufacturing shift towards hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

The US firm, which owns the Vauxhall brand in the UK, is re-branding its Powertrain division of designers, developers and engineers as GM Global Propulsion Systems – to reflect industry trends towards alternative fuel vehicles.

Around 50% of the GM Global Propulsion Systems 8,600-strong taskforce will be working to develop fuel cells and electric battery systems, according to GM. 

“The new name is another step on our journey to redefine transportation and mobility,” said GM’s executive vice president of global product development Mark Reuss.

“Global Propulsion Systems better conveys what we are developing and offering to our customers: an incredibly broad, diverse line-up – ranging from high-tech three-cylinder gasoline engines to fuel cells, V8 diesel engines to battery electric systems, and 6-, 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-speed to continuously variable transmissions.”

As part of the re-brand, GM will build on an electric vehicle portfolio which includes the Chevrolet Bolt, which now has a range of more than 200 miles from a single charge. Hydrogen fuel cells and fuel-saving cylinder deactivation systems will also continue to be developed as part of GM’s drive towards increased EV production.

System diversity

GM Global Propulsion Systems’ vice president Dan Nicholson added: “Gone are the days when a gasoline engine and a transmission designed independently meet a customer’s expectations. Today’s customer is demanding unprecedented technology integration that requires unprecedented engineering and supplier partnerships.

“The diversity of our propulsion systems requires a name that reflects what we are already working on and delivering to our customers. I believe this will establish an industry trend.”

GM recently agreed to become early sponsors of a research programme investigating the energy consumption of industrial robots being used in bodywork factories in the automotive industry. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden found that energy consumption could be reduced by 40% through new movement optimisation techniques.

GM also recently announced that all of its Vauxhall facilities across Europe – including the Luton and Ellesmore Port facilities in the UK – had reached 100% landfill-free status through increased recycling, re-use and energy -from-waste operations.

Matt Mace

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