## GM to Introduce Mild Hybrid Saturn in Mid-2006

##### 24 August 2005
 GM’s Belt Alternator Starter Hybrid in the Vue. Click to enlarge.

General Motors announced that it will launch its Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) mild hybrid system starting in mid-2006 with the Saturn Vue Green Line.

The BAS system, which most recently appeared on the Chevy S3X diesel-hybrid prototype shown at the Paris Motor Show (earlier post), was originally announced late in 2003, and targeted for deployment first on the Saturn, then followed by the Malibu.

The BAS hybrid is one of three different hybrid systems that GM plans to introduce on up to 12 models. In addition to the BAS systems, GM offers a different version of a mild hybrid system (Flywheel Alternator Starter) on its Silverado and Sierra pickups, and is developing an all-new two-mode full hybrid system with DaimlerChrysler (earlier post).

Although initially sold only in six states, the Silverado/Sierra hybrids will expand nationwide beginning with the 2006 model year.

The two-mode system, designed to be deployable in a variety of applications, will appear first in GM’s new Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs in 2007. The system is based on GM’s diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system for transit buses.

The Belt Alternator Starter system—a motor/generator with power electronics mated to the engine—basically provides stop-start functionality and regenerative braking with occasional motive assistance.

The BAS system enables early fuel cutoff to the engine during deceleration and shuts off the engine at “idle”. Regenerative braking and optimized charging combined with an energy storage system further enhance fuel economy while maintaining all vehicle accessories and passenger comfort systems during the periods when the engine is temporarily shut off.

The belt alternator starter hybrid also will provide an electric motor boost during acceleration when needed—some 110 lb-ft (150 Nm) of auto-start torque. During a wide-open throttle or aggressive passing maneuver, the system improves vehicle launch and acceleration feel by assisting the engine to achieve maximum power.

The BAS system is simple and flexible—able, according to GM, to be applied to multiple engines with minimal changes to the engine or transmission.

The best design is uncomplicated and easy to implement. This simple, elegant hybrid architecture makes it possible to implement globally on a broad spectrum of vehicle applications at an attractive price.

—Larry Nitz, executive director of GM’s hybrid program

The belt alternator starter hybrid consists of six major components:

• The electric motor/generator unit.

• Engine coolant-cooled power electronics that control the motor/generator unit and provide 12-volt vehicle accessory power.

• A 42V nickel metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery pack capable of delivering and receiving more than 10 kW of peak power

• An engine control module that includes sophisticated Hybrid Supervisory Software to manage both engine and hybrid system operation.

• A new engine accessory drive with dual tensioner assembly and aramid cord belt that enables reliable transfer of both motoring and generating torque.

• The hybrid-enabled 4T45-E electronically controlled overdrive transaxle that includes an auxiliary oil pump and unique hybrid controls to ensure seamless hybrid operation.

GM’s belt alternator starter hybrid operates in motoring or generating mode.

In the motoring mode, the belt alternator starter hybrid is used to restart quickly the engine upon brake pedal release and to provide momentary acceleration assist as needed. Vehicle accessory power (12V) is also generated in this mode.

In the generating mode, the BAS hybrid system provides both 12V vehicle accessory power and power to recharge the hybrid battery.

In the Saturn Vue Green Line, the system will be mated with GM’s 2.4-liter variable valve timing (VVT) Ecotec engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45-E electronically controlled overdrive transaxle.

GM is not yet announcing fuel economy numbers or pricing for the Vue hybrid.

However, earlier projections on the BAS systems indicate a range of improvement of around 10%–12%. Since the current Saturn Vue with a 2.2-liter engine delivers about 24 mpg US combined, the BAS system—depending upon whatever other enhancements GM might make—probably will increase combined fuel economy for the small SUV to the upper 20s, with the greatest improvement, clearly, in city driving.

GM seems to be trying to strike a compromise between functionality (fuel efficiency), price and their projections of consumer demand.

We want to provide consumers a choice that will be in harmony with their budget, vehicle expectations and fuel economy needs. The belt alternator starter hybrid will offer consumers the combination of an affordable price and a good fuel economy improvement over the base vehicle.

—Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain

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Wow! GM finally realizes it needs to make something called Hybrid. Too bad it's the least impressive (just 10%–12%) of anything on the market. I would applaud if they discontinued the conventional model, but really this token effort just shows me they are more concerned with their image than any real environmental gains. Oh well, it's exactly what I was expecting from a company that crushes it's most promising technology.

GM understands the market place. Most Customers want a low price and a car that will project whatever image the particular customer wants.
GM is making this "half-a-hybrid to undercut the price of a real hybrid and to give customers and GM a good earth image. Hybrids will not amount to more than 5% of the market.
It is a piety that all this good diesel technology, that, if GM used to provide way better fuel mileage, is for not. Simply because the diesel is 20% more than gas!
Even with the last two gas crisis, where people waited for gas, it did not change the long term buying habits of the typical american. GM knows this.
Only when the Federal Government declares a war ON oil and its uses, instead of a war FOR oil, will americans free themselves from oil. And no longer will an American President fell the need to "hold hands" with Saudi Royality.

We should pass a law that only new cars/truck cars of GVW of 10K lbs or less be zero emissions after 2016.

This is sooo GM(leadership). They will do anything so they can invest the absolute minimum in their products.

They originally were going to do a full hybrid for the VUE. But they scaled it back to this EZGO Golf-Cart technology (engine stops when you do - decades old). It'd be great if they deployed this to every vehicle, would actualy do something for our country, but they won't, it's just the GM way to do a "hybrid" = CHEAP. What a bunch of slackers (GM leadership) and what a shame to do it to a Saturn (that name used to mean something).

Um.... 10$improvement from BAS? That's going from 24mpg to 26.4 --- whooop de doo. You could get the same with some changes to aerodynamics and tire tread/pressure. Hell, the 2.5 Nissan X-Trail gets 27mpg city without the added complexity/expense of BAS. Like Scott says, GM seems to be doing a half-assed implementation; for the sake of retaining market share and being able to restore the markup sacrificed in their employeee price program, perhaps. Either way - weak. They prolly need time to secure enough production of power systems and battery packs to be able to do a full hybrid design in any real quantity. A mild hybrid they can produce far more of and thus effect overall fleet averages more. GM sux. I think these car makers could be doing better . I'd like to know why car makers like Ford, GM,and Daimler Chrysler are only making hybrids or half assed hybrids in their trucks and SUV's and not in the campact size cars like toyota and honda are. There are cars out there right now that are fuel flexible that run on E85 which in the midwest is cheaper than unleaded fuel w/ E10 and comparible in price and mileage. Heck most of the cars on the road today, if they had the correct fuel enjection and ffv fuel tanks could run on E85. They could also be making ffv hybrid vehicles in the the smaller compact cars . I'm hoping w/ this new energy bill and highway bill passed some changes will be made in this country and people need to be educated and not manipulated in thinking that petroleum based fuel is the only way to go . This dependency is hurting the US economy , the environment, and the security of this country. Almost mor than 40% of the cars in Brazil are fuel Flexible. We have the technology and the materieals to basically send a message to these oil companies and the countries we buy it from that we don't need them to get back and forth to work. If the market really wanted EVs and Hybrids then these guys would be falling over themselves to cash in on it. Right now they can safely ride the bandwagon of the word "hybrid" without having to really be a hybrid. I mean, what IS a hybrid? If they add a couple batteries to boost a Suburban up a steep hill that technically is a hybrid, even if the overall gas mileage isn't any better. I'd love to see more folks making their own EVs, buying fuel efficient hybrids, or even walking to work instead. But what I think and what other people need are two different things but it gets your message out and others may follow. You do have power: follow your convictions, set your own examples. Sure, you might spend more buying a hybrid or skin your knuckles making your own electric car or motorcycle. -Jerry http://www.evconvert.com/ (try this again) If the market really wanted EVs and Hybrids then these guys would be falling over themselves to cash in on it. Right now they can safely ride the bandwagon of the word "hybrid" without having to really be a hybrid. I mean, what IS a hybrid? If they add a couple batteries to boost a Suburban up a steep hill that technically is a hybrid, even if the overall gas mileage isn't any better. I'd love to see more folks making their own EVs, buying fuel efficient hybrids, or even walking to work. But what I think and what other people need are two different things. You do have power: follow your convictions, set your own examples. Sure, you might spend more buying a hybrid or skin your knuckles making an electric car or motorcycle, but it gets your message out and others may follow -Jerry http://www.evconvert.com/ Actauly the reason they arnt going to small hybrids is they already loose money on each small car the make because of labor costs. It costs them around 2500 in labor MORE then honda to make each car and that doesnt change just becuse the car got smaller. Now concider a small car might go for 8-10k and thats a problem a BIG problem. Thier solution is elegant and simple they make and sell most all thier small cars overseas and only sell what they must in the us. Once they can finish going bankrupt and burn out all the fat they will likely be back to making small cars in the 2015 2020 timeframe and that happens to be when they also plan to make hydrogen cars.. and guess what a hydrogen car would need a whole new production plant... funny how that worked out aint it. Corperate America At it's best !!!!! Thinken about themselves before everything else. Like i said , people need to to be educated and not manipulated. That is why I won't ever buy a new car , I bought a 93 saturn SC2 for$1200 with 143,000 miles , slapped a cold air intake on for a honda civic LOL,(was cheaper) , high performance plugs and wires I'm getting 340 miles to a 10 gallon tank , dropped maybe $2500 into this car with an engine overhaul now sitting w/ 216,000 3 years later , so i have gotten more out of this car than most people get from new cars. They don't make like they use to, so if you want something new get an old one. The first year in office bush gored Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle program, which started back in 1993 was capable of boosting fuel economy and reducing pollution, BUT instead of a higher CAFE standard and hybrid vehicles by 2004 bush threw all the research and tax payers money out the window and went with sometime -after-we-all-are-dead futurist fuel-cell vehicle. gm produced a hybrid diesel called the Precept that received 80-100 mpg during PNGV but scrapped it said people like you and me would not buy it. But gm's version of people not buying was - if gm can not sale one million car the first year, it was not worth the effort. What it is with so many car makers today, but especially the big domestic slugs? I mean, why don't they do much more than they do? It's not true there is no market for cars that get 100 miles to the gallon, do they think we are stupid enough to believe that??? Oil is now what, 72 bucks a barrel and rising? All it takes is a hiccup in the oil delivery chain and North America starts to go into the next depression. The average gas mileage for all new cars sold is worse today than it was 20 years ago?! because everyone has to have their big bad 6 liter pickup trucks to scream their engines cruising through town today. There is so much technology that isn't even released: did you know, for example (and this is no lie--ask your chemistry teacher), that there is a bonefied chemical reaction where if you put 7 or 8 parts water and mix it with one part gasoline, with heat applied, in the right conditions, it produces a fuel that burns better than gas alone? (isn't always practical though, because large quantities of water have to be kept hot in the vehicle always--not good in winter!), but the gas companies buy this kind of technology up and sit on it like the fat, greedy, "I don't care what happens to the world tommorow because I'll be dead then" losers they are. It's wrong I tell you! What I want to know, is how much does the gas lobby pay to buy the co-operation of the big three auto makers, so they continue making more gas guzzlers then ever, while mocking people who would be more stewardly with the world's resources with their version of environmentally friendly cars? How much do they pay? How much!?? Can anyone answer me on this one??? I have heard and seen many GM, Ford and Chrysler comments lately. I think people need to do a little more home work before comments are made. GM is working on hybrids (heard of buses?) instead of small cars that carry one or two people. They have increased mileage from 5 to 10 miles to the gallon on vehicles that really matter, ones that carry lots of people and pollute the most, covering millions of miles a year, not an average of 15,000. Not for people that own three cars and one is a Prius. (an average) If GM was producing the Prius, people and the papers would be screaming for their heads for claming it gets 62 miles to the gallon when the average is more like 40 to 42. Not to mention it's long payback time and, lets not forget, its limited life batt. pack. Also compare total fuel economy figures for all products. Not just Japanese hybrids - compare all of them. You'll be suprised at how well GM has done. If Toyota and Honda are so great and every American auto co. should pattern their lead, why has Toyota built a plant here to produce 300,000 new V8's a year for their big trucks and SUV's? Why? PROFITS! If they can build a few GREEN cars and get some good PR, hey, thats great, but the profits are in trucks and SUV's. They build a ton more of full size trucks than hybrids. Honda is following suit with getting into trucks and using their hybrid technology for performance, not economy. Why? people want it! Remember the Metro? It got an honest 50+ mpg and it wasn't a hybrid, what happened? nobody wanted it! Hey what about the EV1? same thing, plus batt. tech. isn't there yet. I'll be curious what we'll be saying about the hybrids in five years. Maybe at$3.00+ a gallon people's opions might change and we'll see tons of hybrids, but don't hold your breathe! People buy what they want and thats what drives the market. Masses not indiviuals. Not always a good thing I agree.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I work for GM and I don't care for some of their policies either. But if they could produce a vehicle the public really wanted enmass and could get 100mpg, they would. I saw the Precept in person, and I liked it, but most people thought it was weird and they are interested in the masses, not in the few.

Like it or not, they are businesses with stock holders to answer to. With the competition that's in today's market anyone would love to produce a car for the masses that gets geat fuel economy. Conspiracy therories aside, there just isn't any easy way to do it. No one mentions that the governmental rules for crash worthiness has added huge amounts of weight to our cars. (So do batt. packs) Plus, we want them to put out no pollution and still get great mpg. which all plays against the 100mpg car. We soon will be driving tanks to save us from our lawyers. Thats what has killed lightweight cars - lawsuits and govermental regulations for crashworthiness.

I drive a 94 Metro that has averaged 52 mpg. over the last 6 yrs. I coast 6 miles a day an average 3 of it keyed off. Lets face it I'm not the average driver. And neither are most of you that write into forums. Remember the masses and not the small group of us that want different things. Businesses, including your beloved Japenese companies, are interested in MONEY!!

These two things would help the unfair and biased opinions most people have towards American auto companys: Do your research throughly and unprejudiced. Then comment.

What happened? It may seem simple minded, but honestly and pointedly put, what happened to supporting the U.S. and it's products? Mistakes are made, and outside resources are used, but all in all the majority of where we stand should fall under the title and heading of the power to support our own people, everyone talks it in direct words, but when it is outside the patriotism evoked by a passionate moment, our words become all slander and no one walks the walk or follows what they so vehemently spoke of in support of our own country when they were rallied up at moments of turmoil such as 911. A small and simple thing, but these are the things that life is made of, and cumulatively, the things that create our country as a whole, and I dont see much of that support here, even in the simple things.
I am not telling you to go in blind, on an obvious note - as already stated,(and as I will again) that researched facts as opposed to hear-say should hold more power to the wiser person than the average ignorant and lazy (too lazy to find out the truth of things) individual. You may find the companies structuring the workforce of our country are far stronger, more ingenious, and on top of things than you think. Find the facts, the logic and reason behind things, and the plans for the future, and your previous opinions may be shattered and replaced by a respect for something you simply did not understand.
GO AMERICA AND KEEP WORKING GM!!!!

Quote:
"What it is with so many car makers today, but especially the big domestic slugs? I mean, why don't they do much more than they do? It's not true there is no market for cars that get 100 miles to the gallon, do they think we are stupid enough to believe that??? Oil is now what, 72 bucks a barrel and rising? All it takes is a hiccup in the oil delivery chain and North America starts to go into the next depression. The average gas mileage for all new cars sold is worse today than it was 20 years ago?! because everyone has to have their big bad 6 liter pickup trucks to scream their engines cruising through town today."

Did you even try to look for facts before you posted this? It looks to me like you just did the popular thing, and slamed the "Big domestic slugs". Congradulations, you fell for the Japanese-car PR that everyone spews. Did you know that the Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia, and Toyota Land Cruiser all get worse mileage than the Chevrolet Suburban, which is considerably larger? Or that the Honda Pilot can only match the highway mileage of the slightly larger Chevy Trailblazer? Are you aware that a Chevy Colorado is larger than the S-10 pickup it replaced, yet gets better mileage, But a 2005 Toyota Tacoma gets considerably worse mileage than a 1985 Toyota Pickup?
And it's not just SUVs and trucks. The Chevrolet Malibu gets better mileage than any other comparibly-equipped midsize car... including the Camry and Accord. But of course you don't hear about this from anyone, as they've all been fed the same Japanese PR drivel.

You're right on one count though, there is a market for a 100+mpg vehicle. It's just a very small one. Hybrid cars (which, most drivers report, fall short of their EPA mileage by as much as 20mpg short of their mid-50s figures) make up less than 1% of the U.S. car market. Why? Look around you... everybody wants to save the environment, but nobody wants to do the extra work, or pay the extra price. Very few people want to pay $5000 extra for a car in an effort to save money on gas. And those who do often buy it as more of a political statement. Hi, I guess I have to respond now because you quoted my post from a few days ago. Just a few words of qualification. For starters, I’m not sure if you’re even serious when you ask if I looked for the facts before I posted my post. Gas just hiked 33% from it’s already high figure in the last two days where I live. I’m sure you’ve suffered the same agony. Then we have companies like Dodge, who apparently thought their 5.7 liter Hemi engine wasn’t big enough, so they are making a new 6.0 or 6.1 liter hemi with even worse mileage now. Examples like this could be multiplied from many companies. Yes, even some Japanese companies. If you would have quoted my letter correctly, you would note that I slammed them all for not doing what they could, with the domestic companies being the worst. (Yeah, I know, it’s easy to talk in my shoes!) And as for all the mileage figures you gave, where in the world do you get your information from? I thought your info was fishy when you said a Honda got worse mileage than a comparable Chevy, so I confirmed everything you said to be false. Bogus. You need to get better intel before you say stuff like this! You are saying that the Chevy Malibu gets better mileage than any other comparably equipped midsize car? Look up www.internetautoguide.com, one out of many sites, that will give you stats and specs. This particular site is one of the most thorough I’ve seen and will give you more info on your car than you wanted to know! These are the specs for the 2005 Malibu and then the 2005 Accord, both 4 cylinders, and *non-hybrid.* 2005 Chevrolet Malibu Performance & Efficiency Standard Features: - 2,189 cc 2.2 liters in-line 4 front engine with 86 mm bore, 94.6 mm stroke, 10 compression ratio, double overhead cam and four valves per cylinder L61 - Unleaded fuel 87 - Fuel economy EPA highway (mpg):34 and EPA city (mpg): 24 - Multi-point injection fuel system - 16.3 gallon main unleaded fuel tank - Power: 108 kW , 145 HP SAE @ 5,600 rpm; 155 ft lb , 209 Nm @ 4,000 rpm 2005 Honda Accord Performance & Efficiency Standard Features: - 2,354 cc 2.4 liters in-line 4 front engine with 87 mm bore, 99 mm stroke, 9.7 compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder - Unleaded fuel 87 - Fuel economy EPA highway (mpg):34 and EPA city (mpg): 26 - Multi-point injection fuel system - 17.1 gallon main unleaded fuel tank - Power: 119 kW , 160 HP SAE @ 5,500 rpm; 161 ft lb , 218 Nm @ 4,500 rpm You will also notice that the Honda not only has a 8 percent more displacement and makes roughly 10 more horse, it has better city mileage at the same time—more efficient and environmentally friendly in every area. As for the rest of your information, it is all equally false. Look yourself: the 2005 Honda Pilot gets 22/17 miles per gallon (highway/city) compared to the 2005 Trail blazer’s 21/16 mpg. Again, as for the Suburban, that tank doesn’t get better mileage than anything except an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank! The 2004 Toyota Land Cruiser gets 16/13 mpg, the 2004 Toyota Sequoia gets 18/14 mpg, and the Nissan Armada gets 19/13 mpg. What does the Suburban get? Apparently Chevy only gives information selectively (unless others have tested it in their own labs), because only the highway mileage is given: 13 miles per gallon. That’s what the city mileage is like for the others! Friend, your congratulations are quite out of order: I didn’t slam the big domestic three because it’s the “popular” thing to do, I slammed them because they very commendably lend themselves to being slammed all on their own. I think you might have fallen for some Domestic PR of your own. But it’s not even the individual mileage quotes that leave the big three red-faced (if they have any shame): it’s the overall corporate policies that I refer to when I call them slugs. The domestics are horrible, with Chevy and Ford being the worst probably. Every policy and indication they seem to give (where it counts and not with just fancy proto-types) shows their true colors. For example, they (domestics) seemed to go out of their way to scorn and discredit the whole idea not only of hybrids, but plug-in’s as well. All while the technology is readily available to us right now for affordable prices! Only when they (GM particularly) find themselves getting left in the dust in sales do they do an about face and suddenly put on a smile for hybrids. (Hence my admittedly pejorative question about being bought out by the gas lobby.) This kind of two-facedness makes many people sick. There is no perfect company, and they all have to stay competitive, but a company like Honda is probably the *least* guilty of them all. They have always been mindful of the environment, and got by with very small, very powerful, efficient and low emissioned cars as long as they could. Look at the civic in 1973 that stormed the palisades. Or many of their other vehicles. For years they would make only tiny four-cylinders and blow the doors off the bigger domestic stuff in power, reliability and efficiency. They only introduced 6 cylinders a number of years ago to remain competitive. For 2006-2007 they are getting huge fuel mileage boosts across the board again of up to 30%. But what do the domestics do? “Bigger engines, more fuel, who cares what the consequences.” There simply is no comparison between, say, a Honda and a GM or Ford as far as company policy or track record goes. I did my research: *you* weren’t as thorough. Sorry, if you want to be patriotic and all, that’s your call; I didn’t mean to alienate people too badly, but I still call the big 3 domestics *slugs!* If they don’t want to show concern for anything except their wallets at the expense of our limited resources, and release inferior quality products when they have money to improve, then let them go out of business and better companies rise up in their place. That’s business. And I care more about letting my children enjoy this good creation than feeding the belly of the monsters that would destroy it quickest. (besides, half of the “domestic” stuff is outsourced and made elsewhere anyway, and much of the “Japanese” is made here in North America.) The Big 3 won't build high-mileage Plug-in Hybrids because the ability to charge the batteries (via utility grid or rooftop solar panels) is a threat to their energy industry bedmates who see Homepower systems as competition, nevermind how invaluable they will prove be during an emergency. Plug-in technology creates an economic incentive that discourages long-distance driving, (battery power range is limited). This builds local retail and services rather than the distant occupation, Walmart, exotic entertainment, etc. Local economies support other means of travel: walking, mass transit, bicycling. Can't have the peons getting an education in energy conservation and experiencing the autonomy of local economies. The Plug-in Hybrid will be driven less, last longer, burn any available fuel most efficiently, be applicable to all weight classes of car and prove to be the safest cars on the road. GM should have its corporate charter revoked through our legal system. GM is a disgrace. Color me not only unimpressed by utterly disgusted by GM et al. How about producing a hybrid CAR, not SUV, such as the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight, which is what a significant demographic of their customers CLEARLY WANT, and which is what would be the environmentally responsible thing to do, not to mention the financially far-sighted thing to do, as fossil fuels are sooooooo last milenium. True, hybrids still use fossil fuel, of course, but GM and the other American car makers need to at least move forward enough to get to hybrids, which get significantly better gas mileage. Aaaah, but therein lies the rub. They do not WANT us to every move to alternatively-powered vehicles, let alone even to getting better gas mileage with hybrids. No, they want us to keep right on guzzling gas FOREVER so that the oil industry, which they are completely tied to, can continue profitting FOREVER, but guess what? There is a limited supply of fossil fuel. One day, the party is going to be over and so TODAY is the day that they should begin moving into the future, so that--nevermind saving the environment, they don't care about that or understand that language--they can CONTINUE TO PROFIT by selling alternatively-powered vehicles. But they won't even produce hybrid CARS! As a Saturn customer, I've been begging them to produce a Saturn hybrid for years, as have many others. And this is their answer, to once again promise that a Saturn hybrid *SUV* is coming? Big flippin' deal, I don't want some 20 mph SUV that is going to go to 30 mph or whatever! That is TOKENISM at its best: they get to say they are producing a hybrid, while simply maintaining the status quo. NOT impressed here. Is it possible to put a flex fuel engine into an existing car? Is it possible to put a flex fuel engine into an existing car? Is it possible to put a flex fuel engine into an existing car? All gasoline vehicles w/ fuel injection are capable of running on E85 w/ proper fuel injection kits , fuel lines and fuel tank. Also a computer to determine the fuel ratio of the fuel you are using . whether it be gas or E85. this technology is not new to the world , Brazil has had this Technology for years . Its just because of the fact climate change has become such a big issue now as a result of human activity in the US and in the rest of the world. Problem is that there arent any conversions available except in the ford products . Of course now the big fours are either stepping up to the plate are increasing the portfolio of Fuel Flexible vehicles . But regardless , the big four should be doing better . WAY BETTER . Say like FUEL FLEXIBE Hybrids compact Vehicles , not just TRUCKS and SUV's. And just to let people know what's gonna be going on in the days to come , I had heard on the new that ideas in washington are being stirred up, they want to slap an impact fee on those who drive Hybrid vehicles because the The Department of Transportation is saying that because vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient , that less tax revinues are being collected and the money isn't gonna be there to maintain roads and highways , so bsaically there gonna raise the registration fees on those vehicles to recoupe those losses in revinue. ... Kinda defeats the purpose of of the whole hybrid idea and becoming less dependent on Foreign oil. I'm in my fourth week of driving my new VUE hybrid. I bought it as a company car to accomodate sizeable customers who drive big trucks, and also to tow my electric car. The VUE impressed me as a simpler solution that in my mostly highway driving duty, returns better mpg than an Escape while providing more useable space and towing capacity. The electric boost is noticeable, and the regen braking is very apparent, esp on long downslopes. When every one else is flashing their brake lights, my regen meter is pegged in the positive... I hope that the system proves hackable for manual control of idle stop and boost. Lastly, it squeezed into the budget- out the door for under$24k. I've been hitting GM with a stick ever since they killed the EV-1, but am willing to offer them a carrot.

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