Plug-In Hybrid Vue Work "Progressing Through Early Program Development Stages"

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Saturn Plug-In Hybrid Vue

GM posted a rather promising update last week concerning the development of its upcoming Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid.  With all of the media attention surrounding the General's other plug-in electric hybrid car, the Chevrolet Volt, its easy to forget about Saturn's equally impressive electrified compact sport-utility. The aforementioned updates come courtesy of Larry Nitz, GM's Executive Director of Hybrid Powertrain Engineering.

  • "We currently are testing 11 Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) at the GM proving grounds in Michigan and Arizona."
  • "We initially started testing with two early development vehicles using nickel-metal hydride battery technology. But now we're using lithium-ion batteries. We've done extensive battery thermal management work in the lab and on the road, and plug-in charge integration is fully operational and undergoing refinement."
  • "The Vue Plug-in Hybrid is expected to be one of the first commercially availably plug-in hybrids produced by a major automaker."
  • "The Vue Plug-in uses a modified version of the GM Two-mode Hybrid system, which was introduced in transit buses in 2003. As you may know, we scaled down the Two-mode Hybrid system for use in passenger vehicles, and began offering the fuel-saving technology in our 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon – the world's first full-size hybrid SUVs. Later this year, we'll begin offering the third iteration: a front-wheel-drive version in the new 2009 Vue 2 Mode hybrid, which will set the standard in the compact crossover segment for its combination of fuel economy and performance. So a majority of the Two-mode components that will be used in the Vue Plug-in Hybrid have been proven. They have undergone more than 800,000 miles of dynamometer testing (think of it as a treadmill for automobiles)."
  • "We clearly still have a lot of work to do before the Vue Plug-in is ready for production, but we continue to make progress. When the Vue Plug-in Hybrid arrives in a couple of years, we expect it to set the standard for its combination of fuel economy and performance. And that's really what the Two-mode technology is all about – significantly improving efficiency while maintaining the capability our customers expect from an SUV or crossover. This is possible because the Two-mode system uses a powerful battery, gas engine and an all new hybrid transmission to move the vehicle."
  • "When the Vue Plug-in Hybrid arrives in a couple of years, we expect it to set the standard for its combination of fuel economy and performance."
  • "The Vue Plug-in Hybrid will hit a market segment of crossover owners with the promise of potentially doubling the fuel efficiency of any current SUV, which is how most of these customers use their vehicles every day."

Source: GM Fastlane Blog

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Three Finalists Emerge

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Question Mark

On May 12th SaturnFans.com reported that there were 12 parties interested in purchasing Saturn. Today, Bloomberg News reports that GM has narrowed down the list of Saturn suitors to two, possibly three parties. This new thread of information was gathered from a person who is supposedly close to GM's private discussions. The names of two parties were disclosed by the insider: Penske Automotive Group and Black Oak Partners.