Worldwide truck sales exceeded 16 millions units in 1997 and are forecast to make up half of all vehicle sales in North America in the next five years. The implications of these numbers are not lost on Ken Sohocki. Chief engineer of General Motors' all-new, full-size trucks, Sohocki and his team oversee the development and execution of the largest and most important program in the company's history. It kicks off this fall with the introduction of the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups, followed by a fleet of next-generation SUVs and heavy-duty pickups. Once fully rolled out, the program will consist of some 30 different models. To set a benchmark for the full-size pickup segment, Sohocki and his team aggressively pursued new technologies on all new designs, including novel use of hydroforming, reinforced reaction injection molding, and bused electrical center architecture. Thanks to the creativity of Sohocki's team, the Silverado and Sierra require 25% fewer parts per model and 15% less base engineering content.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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