Story by: Bhargav TS & Sricharan R

The Bengaluru-based General Motors Technical Centre India (GMTC-I), an engineering and research centre of General Motors(GM), is working on new products for the upcoming trends in the world market. The Detroit-based GM is moving towards the vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. GMTC-I is helping the global leader to bring in the best future-ready products. GM and its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the brand names of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. Around 85% of GM’s total vehicle variants are being worked upon at GMTC-I and it plays a very significant role in GM’s global plans.

Brian McMurray, Vice President, GMTC-I Engineering and Operations, told Auto Components India, “We are focused on the vision of the company that is zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Zero emission is the ultimate goal and to achieve this we need to take several steps. From an internal combustion engine perspective, we will continue to work on the engines and will make it more efficient for quite a long time. At the same time, we will also work on electrification. When you have a vehicle that can do more than 300 km, it means you are close to eliminating the range anxiety for the customer.”

“Some of the new engines we produce are of cutting edge, state of the art technology. Still they are affordable. Now, we have the Active Fuel Management (AFM), or Cylinder Deactivation technology, which can shut down any number of cylinders to capitalise on the most efficient method to move a vehicle. This is a big deal,” he said.

GM recently launched the new technology in the lightest Cadillac ever made with the lightest 2-litre engine. AFM is a General Motors engine technology that shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders in light driving conditions to improve fuel economy. AFM saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during some driving situations – such as highway cruising — and then seamlessly reactivates the other cylinders when a driver needs more power for acceleration, climbing a gradient or hauling. AFM uses a combination of simple hydraulic valves and sophisticated software to switch off the cylinders when the driver doesn’t need full power. When more power is needed, the system seamlessly re-engages the additional cylinders. The primary benefit of Cylinder Deactivation/AFM is to achieve higher fuel economy without downsizing engines. The technology can improve fuel economy by up to 12% without sacrificing performance. He said that the new development has good response and it has set a new benchmark.
About electrification which is another major trend of the future, McMurray said GM is ready and has recently launched the Bolt. He also mentioned that the next generation Bolt is coming up, and there are other EV products that will be released in 12 months. Some elements of the EVs have been done in GMTC-I.

McMurray said that GM is coming up with more new engines to compete in the global market. GM is coming up with a range of small and large engines with maximum fuel economy. “It is not just a global propulsion problem, but a vehicle problem. We need to work on the aerodynamics and make sure to eliminate energy loss. We also need to work on the electrical system, design and manage the air around the vehicle. New generation tyres, resistant braking system and much more are being designed to get to zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. With everything is in place, we will come out with a series of products.”

Engineering is a global function for General Motors and the India design centre is an integral part of it. GMTC-I houses a design studio and an engineering centre. The India centre contributes to a significant percentage of the GM global programmes, including design, analysis and development of vehicles and propulsion systems. The VP stated GMTC-I was part of the development and their expertise was used in the new engine and the new transmission. With the market changing quicker than ever before, McMurray said the technical centre in India plays a major role at the global level.

“With the market changing quickly, what is relevant today might not be relevant tomorrow. It will change. So, when the new technology comes in, we may not be ready for it but, we will adapt to it very quickly. This is where the engineering powerhouse comes in, where we will be working on new technologies and adapting to new technologies,” McMurray, said.


In the recently-held 37th FISITA World Automotive Congress, the global automotive technology capability of General Motors Technical Center India (GMTC-I) unveiled a locally- built prototype electric vehicle (REEV), designed exclusively for the national REEV student competition. Unveiling the vehicle, General Motors Vice President of global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, said, “The world-class engineering capability we have at GMTC-I in Bengaluru is playing a significant role in GM delivering its commitment to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

As a part of GM’s global engineering operations, GMTC-I offers India’s leading designers and engineers the opportunity to work on cutting-edge global technology projects, and the potential for global careers, he said. As Mary Barra, CEO of GM, has said, “We are seeing more change in the automotive industry in these five years, than we have seen in the last 50.” “I believe that designers and engineers will be at the forefront of this change,” Nicholson said.

Brian McMurray, GMTC-I, Vice President of Engineering and Operations, said the intellectual horsepower of GM’s designers and engineers in India was further demonstrated when FISITA accepted the team’s 71 technical papers covering various innovation areas. “GMTC-I plays an important role in GM’s global core business: designing and engineering world-class vehicles that inspire the passion for safer tomorrow,” he said.


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