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Green HSVs muscle in

On the table: They may not end up powering the flagship W427, but HSV says it currently has test mules powered by everything from LPG to diesel.

HSV investigates everything including LPG, E85 and diesel for its future power

14 Oct 2008

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) is running a fleet of green muscle-car prototypes in a bid to decide which alternative fuel is the best future option for the Australian performance brand.

HSV managing director Phil Harding said last week that a number of prototypes spanning a wide range of alternative technologies are currently in operation out of its Clayton base. He also made the point there was no hybrid among them.

Mr Harding said this evaluation would help the company decide which green powertrain would give it both the performance, fuel consumption and emissions reductions it needed.

“Looking to the future, HSV is in the initial stages of planning the next stage (of its development),” Mr Harding said.

“This will include decisions about what alternative fuels can be deployed in a performance saloon and alternative powertrain concepts.”So which alternative fuels and powertrains is HSV testing?

“Other than a hybrid, if you would like to elaborate on all the stories here today including LPG, then Clayton has a performance car running with that technology,” Mr Harding said.

Apart from LPG, this list is expected to include diesel and E85 ethanol. While HSV is keen to introduce new technology, it will only do so if the new powertrain delivers adequate performance.

 center imageLeft: HSV managing director Phil Harding.

“It only goes or it doesn’t go if we can get the performance out of the car, so it is good news so far,” he said.

“We are evaluating those concepts. Each one has an investment profile and each has a business return. I don’t know which one is going to win at the moment, but the message today is that we are there and we are experimenting with these different technologies.”HSV chairman Tom Walkinshaw told GoAuto in July that the company was evaluating a diesel model that could help the company expand its appeal in European markets.

However, a possible problem for HSV is finding an adequate diesel engine from the GM stable. While GM has a rich V8 engine catalogue, its turbo-diesel selection is weak, with the company relying on joint-ventures or sourcing them from VM Motori, which it recently purchased.

The most likely HSV diesel is a VM Motori 2.9-litre turbo-diesel V6 which has been earmarked for the Cadillac CTS, although this engine is also being considered for use in the regular Commodore range.

That said, Mr Harding indicated HSV might not necessarily take a VM Motori engine, saying: “I’m not limited to one supplier.”Diesel is most likely to be the first alternative-fuel HSV car to be given the green light.

Asked if diesel would help HSV in Europe, Mr Harding said: “I think you can answer that – 80 per cent of cars sold in Europe are diesel.”Mr Harding said HSV customers were not worried by fuel costs and said the brand had just achieved its best September sales for four years.

“We are not under pressure from a customer base that is concerned about those things, but every customer has an environmental attitude towards life,” he said.

“That is growing, and obviously we don’t know how much that will grow, so we need to be in there with our own answer to it.

“We are taking a measured approach.”

Read more:

Sydney show: HSV unveils special GTS, SV08

Walkinshaw hits out over fuel tax

HSV eyes Euro diesel

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