General Motors is gearing up to launch a new affordable hybrid system that will deliver a good fuel economy savings and a real payback for consumers. Saturn will be the first to debut the belt alternator starter hybrid system in mid-2006, when it introduces the 2007 Vue Green Line.
”With GM’s belt alternator starter hybrid in the Saturn Vue Green line, we expect consumers to get a real payback on their initial investment over the life of the vehicle,” said Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain. “Final fuel economy numbers and pricing for the Vue hybrid will be announced next spring after calibrations are finalized.”
The 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid is the first GM vehicle powered by a new, more affordable hybrid system that delivers an estimated 20-percent improvement in fuel economy, depending on driving conditions. It is expected to deliver an EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city and the best highway mileage of any SUV at 32 mpg. The Vue’s hybrid system will cost under $2,000. The full vehicle price will start at less than $23,000.
“The Vue Green Line is expected to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV in the market,” said Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “Its lower price allows us to offer the fuel-saving benefits of hybrids to a wider group of customers.
The Vue Green Line uses sophisticated controls and a unique electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L VVT four-cylinder engine and 4T45-E four-speed transmission. It is a simple and flexible hybrid design that provides additional power from the motor/generator during acceleration and allows increased fuel economy through engine shut-off at idle, fuel cut-off during deceleration and the capability to capture electrical energy through regenerative braking.
The Vue Green Line will be available this summer. It is based on the popular Vue SUV, which was restyled for 2006 with distinctive exterior appointments and a more refined interior.
“As Saturn continues an aggressive product lineup expansion, a hybrid version of the popular Vue is a natural addition,” said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak. “The Vue Green Line st rengthens our position as an environmentally aware brand that provides great value – an attribute that has always appealed to Saturn customers.”
Along with the Vue Green Line, Saturn will introduce the Sky roadster, Aura midsize sedan and Outlook crossover utility vehicle during 2006.
Vue Green Line’s innovative 2.4-liter hybrid powertrain is rated at 170 horsepower (127 kw), a powerful increase from the 143 hp provided by the 2.2-liter engine in the conventional four-cylinder Vue. This maintains the vehicle’s sporty feel, with acceleration better or equal to many non-hybrid SUVs.
The Vue’s hybrid system reduces fuel consumption by:
- Shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, to minimize idling
- Restarting the engine promptly when the brake pedal is released
- Enabling early fuel shut-off during vehicle deceleration
- Capturing vehicle kinetic energy during deceleration (regenerative braking) to charge an advanced nickel metal hydride battery
- Performing intelligent battery charging when it is most efficient
Additionally, the system provides additional power from the electric motor/generator during launch, when required. At wide-open throttle, such as during a passing maneuver, the system improves acceleration feel by using the motor/generator to bolster the gasoline engine to achieve maximum power.
The new hybrid system also is designed to automatically maintain full accessory functionality, including climate control, when the vehicle is stopped, so that hybrid operation is transparent to the driver and passengers. The Vue Hybrid allows an appropriate balance between fuel economy and comfort by providing a system with two driver-selectable operating modes. An economy mode favors fuel economy by limiting the affect of air conditioning, while the other mode favors maximum passenger comfort and defogging performance.
Three hybrid systems
The Vue Green Line is one of 12 hybrids GM will launch, providing customers with several levels of fuel economy savings at different price points on vehicles ranging from cars to full-size SUVs.
GM launched the world’s first hybrid pickup trucks in 2004, with retail availability expanding nationwide with the 2006 model year. GM’s all-new, two-mode hybrid system, developed in collaboration with BMW and DaimlerChrysler, is uniquely compact and scalable to vehicles of all sizes. This new system will debut in GM’s new, full-size Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs in 2007.