Saturn announced today at the North American International Auto Show that production may begin as soon as 2010 on a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Saturn Vue Green Line, expected to be the first regular production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Depending on a consumer’s drive cycle, the Vue plug-in hybrid will be the most fuel-efficient vehicle offered by a major automaker.
This Vue Green Line will use a modified version of GM’s two-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology, a lithium-ion battery pack, highly efficient electronics and powerful electric motors to achieve significant increases in fuel economy. When the lithium-ion batteries are fully charged, the Vue plug-in hybrid will potentially double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. After electric-only propulsion depletes the lithium-ion energy storage system to a specified level, the battery is replenished by utilizing the two-mode hybrid system’s electric motors and regenerative brake systems.
The two-mode hybrid system to be introduced on the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode will be altered for use with plug-in technology. In addition to plug-in capabilities and the modified two-mode hybrid system, the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV’s powertrain will feature two interior permanent magnet motors within the two-mode transmission and GM’s 3.6L V-6 VVT gasoline engine with direct injection. The lithium-ion energy storage system will be replenished by utilizing the two-mode hybrid system’s electric motors and regenerative braking systems.
The Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in maintains two driving modes - one for city driving, the other for highway driving - and four fixed mechanical gears to maximize efficiency while maintaining performance. In addition, special controls will be utilized to enable higher speeds during electric-only propulsion and maintain electric-only propulsion for longer periods of time.