|01-25-2008, 01:54 PM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, Ca
2001 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Vauxhall Antara hybrid
Vauxhall's first hybrid
Behind the unfamiliar badge lurks Vauxhall's first petrol electric motor.
By Sam Hardy 21st January 2008
Ignore the badge on the front of this SUV – you’re looking at Vauxhall’s first hybrid. This is the Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode, which goes on sale in the US later this year.
It’s equipped with the latest evolution of General Motors’ hybrid powertrain – technology that will appear in its sister car, the Vauxhall Antara, in 2009. Unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show this week, the Green Line 2 Mode is the third Saturn model to make use of electric power – but unlike other versions in the range, it’s a full hybrid system, similar in concept to that used by the Toyota Prius. It’s based on a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine, and engineers have added two electric motors and a battery pack, which is stored in the boot.
The 2 Mode system drives the front wheels only, and allows the Vue to run mostly on electricity at low speed. Increase the pace, and the electric motors assist the petrol engine for overtaking. When the vehicle is in stationary traffic, the engine is switched off. A digital display on the centre console shows the flow of power. Heat energy from the discs and pads is recovered under braking and stored by the battery. Together with low-rolling resistance tyres, the hybrid system improves the V6’s fuel economy by 50 per cent, resulting in around 28mpg and a 500-mile range.
When it comes to the UK, the system is likely to be applied to one of Vauxhall’s CDTI diesels, which will bring far greater efficiency gains. The drivetrain will also appear in Vauxhall’s forthcoming Vectra replacement, the Insignia.
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