NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

Concept-Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid Preview

2/24/2012
Critical Knowledge:
  • Expected to be first regular production plug-in hybrid from an original equipment auto manufacturer

  • Provides 100-percent fuel economy improvement over Vue 2 Mode

  • Based on modified 2-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology

  • Hybrid lithium-ion battery recharges from household outlet in under five hours

  • Battery replenishment via electric motors and regenerative brake systems

  • At least 10 miles of all-electric range at slow to moderate speeds

  • Potential to be world's most fuel-efficient production vehicle (in many driving situations)

  • Production may begin in 2010


Introduction
When the Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid goes into production in the 2010 timeframe, it could be the world's most fuel-efficient production vehicle. According to current timing plans, it will be the first regular-production plug-in hybrid vehicle from an automotive original equipment manufacturer. Offering a 100-percent fuel economy improvement over the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode Hybrid, the Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid demonstrates Saturn's commitment to diversify from petroleum fuels and reduce emissions. Hoping to be first to offer the world's first production plug-in hybrid, Saturn vows to tackle all of the many technological hurdles they may encounter in the process.

Whether the Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid is a stand-alone model, or joins the Vue Green Line 2 Mode Hybrid (debuting as a 2009 model late this year) in the Saturn Vue lineup, is as yet unclear.

Hardware
The powertrain in the Green Line Plug-in Hybrid features two interior permanent magnet motors within the 2-mode transmission, and the GM 3.6-liter V-6 engine with variable valve timing (VVT) gasoline engine with direct injection.

Although not yet announced, the Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid, like the Vue Green Line 2 Mode, is likely to include electronic stability control, tire-pressure-monitoring system, and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS).

Technology
The Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid will use a modified version of the GM 2-mode hybrid system used on the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode, along with plug-in technology, lithium-ion battery pack, higher-efficiency electronics and powerful electric motors. This combination is expected to achieve significant fuel economy increases-potentially doubling any current SUV's fuel efficiency when the batteries are fully charged. Battery replenishment occurs after the electric-only propulsion has depleted the lithium-ion energy storage system by using the hybrid system's electric motors and regenerative brake systems. Early testing reveals the Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid to be capable of more than 10 miles of electric-only propulsion at low speeds. During brisk acceleration, higher speeds, or when conditions warrant, the vehicle's driving power comes from a combination of engine and electric power, or engine power only.

The plug-in aspect refers to the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries, which can be fully recharged in four to five hours by connecting the vehicle to any standard household electrical outlet of 110 volts. The connection port is integrated into the front fender for easy access. Recharging-and not refueling-contributes to reduced consumption of petroleum. A key difference between a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle and a non-plug-in hybrid-electric model is that the plug-in version provides extended electric-only propulsion, as well as greater battery capacity and recharging from an external electrical outlet.

The vehicle has two driving modes: city and highway. In addition, four fixed mechanical gears maximize efficiency while maintaining performance. Special controls will enable higher speeds during electric-only driving while simultaneously maintaining a longer period of electric-only propulsion. Other technology features are expected to include a navigation system, AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack, and a power sunroof.

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