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Holden EcoLine: Australian International Motor Show 2008

Motoring Channel Staff - 9/October/2008

Holden EcoLine
Holden EcoLine Launches @ AIMS 2008

Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet's electric car, the Volt, made one
of its first international appearance in Sydney

Chevrolet Volt
The Volt is a plug-in electric car, and takes
just 3 hours to fully charge its battery pack

Chevrolet Volt
The interior of the Volt looks high tech

Holden EcoLine
Holden will badge LPG, diesel, and new V8
models with the little green EcoLine badge

Holden EcoLine
Holden's diesel Epica is one of
the brand's latest diesel models

Sydney, Australia — As part of its new environmental push, GM Holden showcased a range of low emission initiatives at the 2008 Australian International Motor in Sydney. 

It also showed the awesome Coupe 60 first seen in Melbourne earlier this year, a vehicle that any self-respecting Sydney-sider should check out.

In order to better highlight it's green credentials, Holden has created the EcoLine brand which will be visible on all applicable cars with a small green badge. The following low emission exhibits were shown in Sydney:

Volt Plug-In Electric Car
AFM for V8 Holden Cars
Expanding Diesel Range

Chevrolet Volt

One of the most surprising exhibits at the Holden stand was the Chevrolet Volt, chiefly because this is one of it's first global appearances outside of America.

GM Holden head honcho, Mark Reuss, had this to say: "It is a reflection of the importance of the Australian market for General Motors that a vehicle as significant as Volt has been provided for this show."

Launching in the United States in late 2010, the Volt plug-in electric car has a cruising range of 64 kilometres on electricity and can save drivers up to 1892 litres of fuel per year according to GM Holden.

Just because it's an electric vehicle doesn't mean it's slow: it has a top speed of 160km/h.

The new model is expected to be the first mass produced plug-in electric vehicle, and could see Toyota Prius owners trading in as it will far more ecologically friendly.

A European version is being readied for 2011, and the business case for selling the Volt in Australia is being considered by Holden. 

The chances of it coming to Australia in 2012 are improving by the day, as Holden needs an electric model to compete with its Japanese rivals who will be flooding the market with hybrids and electric cars in the coming decade.

GM claims that charging the Volt overnight through a standard power outlet will use less electricity annually than an average household refrigerator and that the vehicle's battery can be charged in less than three hours on a standard 240v power outlet.

"This technology is potentially the most exciting addition to GM's range of alternative fuels on the horizon," said Holden boss Mark Reuss.

"As we move forward, it will be innovative solutions such as Volt that will sustain global motoring by reducing our dependence on foreign oil," added Reuss.

Follow the link for a detailed report on the Chevrolet Volt.

AFM: Active Fuel Management

Formerly known as displacement on demand, this new system will be added to all V8 Holden cars equipped with automatic transmissions from January 2009.

Holden's 6.0-litre V8 engines with AFM technology can shut down four cylinders, essentially transforming into 3.0-litre V4 engines when cruising.

This system reduces V8 fuel consumption by "up to one litre per 100 kilometres, with potential for even better results at constant cruising speeds" explains Holden.

The new AFM technology will be standard on all automatic V8 models in the Commodore, Ute, Sportwagon, Statesman and Caprice ranges says Holden, making the company the first local manufacturer to introduce the fuel saving technology.

Albeit foreign, Honda was the first company in Australia to release cylinder deactivation technology on its V6 Accord, which the chief recently road tested, and he says the system is very promising, which bodes well for Holden's 2009 V8 cars.

GM Holden's managing director, Mark Reuss, said that AFM will form an integral part of Holden's new EcoLine range of products: "AFM is a strong addition to our portfolio and to our Holden EcoLine range. It is one of many steps we are taking to provide fuel saving alternatives to Australian motorists.

"AFM delivers the best of both worlds to performance enthusiasts - improved fuel efficiency with the power they want in a V8," Mr Reuss said, adding that customers looking for V8 performance will find AFM "the smart choice."

Already in use on the Pontiac G8 (a restyled Commodore for the American market), AFM closes the intake and exhaust valves in four of the engine's eight cylinders while ensuring the engine maintains vehicle speed, effectively operating as a four cylinder.

According to Holden, the engine's electronic throttle control is used to increase cylinder pressure in V4 mode so that the engine can preserve the torque which drivers expect from a V8 powertrain.

The fuel supply to the deactivated cylinders will resume seamlessly providing all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration, or for hauling heavy loads.

Expanding Diesel Range

Though there was no sign of a diesel-powered Holden Commodore at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, Holden was spruiking its diesel range as one of the elements of its EcoLine brand.

The Australian car maker now has four diesel models in the range, including the Captiva SUV, the mid-size Epica, the Astra small car, and Colorado ute - all of which we have reviewed and can be found on the Road Test page.

"The energy challenges we face require many answers," said Mr Reuss. "For Holden, the future of sustainable motoring is a clear strategy of energy diversity.

"Holden EcoLine reinforces this approach by highlighting vehicles that use alternative fuels or fuel saving technologies. EcoLine vehicles suit a range of driving conditions and budgets and provide benefit for customers' hip pockets.

"Holden EcoLine is an easy way to communicate this 'Future Friendly' strategy to our customers. It highlights the ways we are making Holden a smarter choice for Australian motorists," added Reuss.

Holden has also dropped the price of its LPG Commodore and Ute models.

Related Links:
Holden 99c Fuel Cap (2008)
- Holden Sportwagon (Road Test)
Holden Commodore Hybrid (2010)
Holden Coupe 60 Concept (2008)
Holden Commodore Diesel (2009)
Holden VE Sportwagon (2008)
Holden VE Ute: SS vs SV6 (Road Test)
Holden Captiva Diesel (Road Test)
Holden Astra Diesel (Road Test)
- Holden VE Commodore - Dual-Fuel LPG (2006)
Holden VE Ute (First Drive)
Holden Coupe 60 Concept (2008)
Holden Commodore Diesel (2009)
- Holden VE Commodore vs Ford BF Falcon (Road Test)

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