TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — For the first time since the mid-1960s, General Motors will use the Tripower name on an engine.
But today’s Tripower setup — due in the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups — means something very different than it did in 1966, the last time a Tripower engine was offered in such cars as the Pontiac GTO.
For the new 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder engine designed specifically for GM’s full-size trucks, Tripower will refer to a suite of technologies that boosts horsepower and fuel economy, explained Mike Anderson, executive director of global transmission and electrification hardware engineering. Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars on Tuesday, Anderson said the new Tripower will encompass:
- Cylinder deactivation, which shuts off two of the four cylinders at light-load cruising speeds.
- Active thermal management that can increase or decrease heat in various parts of the engine to speed warm-ups or reduce temperatures in order to keep the engine running longer in its most thermally efficient range.
- Intake valve lift control, a system that reduces the length the intake valve opens at certain speeds, which helps improve fuel economy under certain drive conditions.
GM expects deliveries of the new engine to start after the new trucks are launched this year. It is rated at 310 hp, one of the highest ever for a regular production four-cylinder engine. The new engine also uses an electric water pump, and a new and more efficient turbocharger from BorgWarner.
The original Tripower setup referred to the use of three two-barrel carburetors sitting on top of Pontiac’s V-8 engines, used in the automaker’s high-performance muscle cars. The final version of Pontiac’s Tripower engine, a 389-cubic-inch V-8 used in the 1966 GTO, made 360 hp.
The arrangement was a less expensive option than fuel injection.
Pontiac offered Tripower engines in 1957-66. Pontiac muscle cars with Tripower engines from that era are now highly coveted by collectors, and the Tripower name is one of GM’s most revered.