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Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid to Offer 25% Fuel Economy Improvement Over Non-Hybrid

Auragl
Aura Green Line Hybrid sedan. Click to enlarge.

GM formally introduced the Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid at the Los Angeles International Auto Show (earlier post). Based on the same GM Hybrid system as the VUE Green Line Hybrid (earlier post), the Aura Green Line sedan will deliver at least a 25% fuel economy improvement over the non-hybrid Aura XE for a premium of less than $2,500, according to GM.

The non-hybrid 2007 Aura XE, fitted with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, carries a fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.

The Aura Green Line’s base price is expected to start below $23,000, and will be available at Saturn retailers in spring 2007.

The GM Hybrid Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) system in the Aura Green Line combines an electric motor/generator with a 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine, Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission and Cobasys 36V NiMH battery pack.

The Saturn Aura Green Line is the first of four hybrids GM will introduce in the 2007 calendar year, more than any other manufacturer. Equipped with GM’s 2.4L, four-cylinder Ecotec engine and the GM Hybrid system, the Aura Green Line will deliver spirited performance, as well as a significant improvement in overall fuel economy compared to the current Aura.

—Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain

Aura Green Line’s hybrid powertrain is rated at 164 hp (122 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 159 lb-ft (215 Nm) of peak torque at 5,000 rpm. The GM Hybrid system provides start-stop functionality, early fuel shut-off during deceleration, regenerative braking and intelligent battery charging.

The new GM Hybrid system also provides additional power when required during launch from the electric motor/generator. At wide-open throttle, such as during a passing maneuver, the system enhances acceleration by using the motor/generator to bolster the gasoline engine and achieve maximum power.

The GM Hybrid system also is designed to automatically maintain full accessory functionality when the vehicle is stopped, including climate control, so that hybrid operation is transparent to the driver and passengers. The Aura Green Line delivers an appropriate balance between fuel economy and cabin comfort with an air conditioning system with two selectable modes. The Hybrid A/C mode favors more fuel efficient performance by limiting the draw on the hybrid powertrain, while the normal mode provides maximum passenger comfort in hot climates and enhances defogging performance.

The Aura Green Line hybrid sedan is based on the all-new Aura midsize sedan. The Aura Green Line is one of 12 hybrid models GM has announced, providing customers with several levels of fuel economy savings across different brands at different price points on vehicles ranging from cars to full-size SUVs.

Comments

DCE

Who is driving a Corolla and only getting 27.2 mpg? My Wife's 07 gets 33-36 mpg in everyday driving.

Dan

Kevin

nan,

those are the numbers you get when you use 2001 stats.

Dan is right, a new corolla easily gets 35+ and is rated at 40 highway. Splitting the difference here and using your 46.9 number, you indeed get a 25% improvement.

Max Reid

Something (some hybrid) is better than nothing (non-hybrid).

Remember GM used to love the Big SUV's with V8 engines. Now they are selling hybrids with V4 engines. Thats a big improvement for this company.

But they should publish how many Saturn Vue-Hybrids they sold so far.

nan

Who is driving a Corolla and only getting 27.2 mpg? My Wife's 07 gets 33-36 mpg in everyday driving.

That's why we use EPA numbers, since then it washes out individual variation.

those are the numbers you get when you use 2001 stats.

Those are all for MY2007 vehicles. Why don't you pay attention?

Dan is right, a new corolla easily gets 35+ and is rated at 40 highway. Splitting the difference here and using your 46.9 number, you indeed get a 25% improvement.

Right - just make up any numbers you want and you'll eventually reinforce your weak argument.

nan

Consumer guide actual numbers:


Prius - 45.2
Corolla - 28.5

That's 59% better.

http://auto.consumerguide.com/articles/index.cfm/act/featuredarticles/article/FA_CG_FUEL_CHAMPS.html

So far we have 59-72% better mileage with a bigger vehicle with more bells and whistles. That compared to a depowered vehicle with a higher price premium and an 11% fuel economy improvement.

Nick

How about this comparison:

Aura GL: 28 city, 35 hwy (per GM website estimate)
Camry H: 40 city, 38 hwy (per EPA)
Camry H: 28 city, 41 hwy (per Consumer Reports testing)

Camry Hybrid has more power. Comparing Aura real-world MPG results should be interesting, when available, since these are similar-sized cars.

Harvey D.

nan:

Tks for setting the records straight.

The Toyota Prius II hybrid technology seems to have 5+ times the efficiency 'boost' (based on % fuel consumption reduction, i.e: 55+% vs 11%) than the GM Green Line limited-restricted hybrid edition.

The Prius III will have an efficiency 'boost' effet of 7 to 10 times the GM Green Line minute hybrid effort.

It is doubtful that GM can catch up much before 2020. Making up for a 10-year lag may be too much for GM's current organisation and financial position.

GM may regain some of the lost market share by being the first major manufacturer to come out with a mass produced, practical, reliable PHEV, not with another mild-limited hybrid.

DCE

Don't get me wrong. I love the Prius and the THS, IMO, is the best hybrid system out there. I TRIED to get my Wife into a Prius, but she veto'ed the idea. She thought the car was just too "weird". I just don't understand the MPG figures (27.2-28.5) for the Corolla. There must be alot of people out there that drive vehicles harder than I do!

Dan

Rafael Seidl

Gents -

the Aura is similar in size to a Camry, not a Prius (which is in fact a stand-alone design, not a variant of the Corolla).

Note that GM is working on full hybrids as well but at the economy end of the market they figured a mild one delivers 80% of the benefit for <<50% of the incremental cost. One concept does not fit all. A some point in the next decade, mild hybrid technology will be commoditized, at which point even an 11% improvements actually makes a huge dent in the aggregate CO2 balance. More to the point, many more car buyers end up doing their part.

Btw, the Aura is based on Opel's Epsilon frame from the Vectra. The Ecotec engine is from Opel as well. It's the second example of GM's new corporate strategy of letting GM Europe take the lead in midsized-car for all global markets (the first was the Saturn Sky/Opel GT). The rather homely Saturn Vue will be replaced by a rebadged version of the new Opel Antara before long. Conversely, I've heard unconfirmed reports that Opel intends to bring BAS hybrid technology to the European market.

Perhaps it's unwise to keep bashing GM at Toyota's expense forever. They've worked hard to turn their ship around in the past 18-24 months, but it takes time for such corporate reorgs to bear fruit. As a consumer, you want competition between carmakers because it keeps prices low.

SJC

I thought I saw on the Saturn site:

20/30 for the 4 cylinder

20/28 for the 6 cylinder

That could be due to the weight of the
Aura..almost 3600 pound curb weight.

So if they can get 24 mpg around town for an extra $2500, that might not be too bad.

TheGiant

where can I get information on the Prius III??

Wells

I'd explain once again the many reasons why GM's start/stop feature shouldn't be classified as 'hybrid', and how these psuedo-hybrids are as much a ruse as GM's hydrogen fuel cell lemons, but I suspect some here must be working for GM and thus obligated to ignore the truth. GM should have its corporate charter revoked for crimes against humanity.

SJC

That is a very charitable view Wells..we will take it up with the FTC :)

Linda Nacamulli

Has anybody heard of the new French car engine fueled on compressed air (bottled tanks of air) that can top out at 55 mph coming out next year? (VERY economical to run)

pomoG
Has anybody heard of the new French car engine fueled on compressed air (bottled tanks of air) that can top out at 55 mph coming out next year? (VERY economical to run)

Yes. It has a range of about 4 kilometers and will never, ever see the light of day.

James

''Remember GM used to love the Big SUV's with V8 engines. Now they are selling hybrids with V4 engines. Thats a big improvement for this company.''
Max Ried.

GM have never had a V4. Posting stuff like this just makes you sound stupid.

clett

How on earth can a belt-alternator starter system add $2,500 to the price of the car? What's the belt made of, antique silk?

This is ridiculous, we have stop-start systems here in Europe (in Citroens etc) and they have nothing like that price premium. Sheer GM BS.

By the way, in Europe our version of the Aura (Vectra) gets 40 mpg (US) on the combined cycle with a CDTi diesel engine.

linus

GM have never had a V4. Posting stuff like this just makes you sound stupid.

And saying something like that makes you sound overly pedantic.

mds

nan - Thanks for your clarifications.
Using their numbers...
25% improvement for Green Line Hybrid:
25 mpg city, 37.5 mpg hwy
When Prius gets 45 mpg and next model is targeting close to 100 mpg with reduced cost? Rick Wagoner should think about sales of Ford Hybrid SUV with only margin mpg improvement. Why would anyone want to pay more for marginal improvement? Especially when they can purchase a car with even higher mpg, save more on gas costs, and get protection from future price spikes.
GM bashing? No, just reality. Mr. Wagoner needs to grow a few brain cells and earn his 6 or 7 figure salary. "The masses" in India & China will be driving EVs for half this price. A little slow now, but fast as hell in the near future with new battery tech. Why isn't GM aiming at this? We could do this with robotic manufacturing. Grow or die!
USA needs a PHEV.
Tesla Motors sold the first 100 of their $100,000 all-electric Roadster in 3 weeks, 250-mile range, 135 mph, 0-60 in 4 seconds. They are targeting an all-electric sedan for $50,000 Add a small generator and you have one fine PHEV with plenty of driving range. GM could be doing this.

gr

I looked at a Saturn VUE yesterday and was a little shocked at its size and weight - '08 VUE:
lb kg
L4 FWD = 3825 / 1735
V6 FWD 4076 / 1849
V6 AWD 4325 / 1962

A lot of weight to push around with the announced two mode PHEV in '09 VUE. I think a lighter weight vehicle stands a better chance for early PHEV success (e.g.SKY at half the Tesla cost.) But GM deserves praise for heading in the right direction.

The current GM "belt alternator hybrid" offerings show that management has heard the call and is repositioning a very large ship. The real challenge is to see if they can combine full electric PHEV technology with their Ecotec engines at mass market pricing.

Indeed, each "mild" hybrid system on the road reduces cumulative CO2, a major GCC target. We ought to keep pressure on GM to innovate further - utilizing the vast resources at their disposal for a "killer" green car... that plugs in.

James

''And saying something like that makes you sound overly pedantic.''

Not really Linus, it's not too much to ask that people have a little bit of knowledge about cars and engines if they are going to be posting opinions on a website like this. :)

linus

it's not too much to ask that people have a little bit of knowledge about cars and engines if they are going to be posting opinions on a website like this

At worst, the person made a minor error in nomenclature. He was simply using shorthand for the general engine size in cylinder numbers, as contrasted with other engines.

Compared to the numerous egregiously false statements uttered here on a daily basis, it's not even worth paying attention to.

Russell

Wow, it's kind of amazing reading some of the discussion/pedantic arguing/bs that goes on on these threads. Looking at it from a lot of sides, you almost have to agree with most of it. Does GM's PR machine spew crap? Yes. Are they putting out some form of a hybrid/more fuel efficient vehicle? Yes. Is it the best one? Arguably, not even close. If we look at it and move foward though, let's take it in steps. Should GM get credit for at least taking a step in the right direction. Yes, I think they should. Okay, pat on the back. Do we keep pressure on them and say that they can do better? Definitely. It's great to talk numbers, but they don't mean anything until we start to see some real world results from these vehicles. At that point, then we stand on GM's head and ask what the H@ll they are doing putting this out compared to what is available already. So, I don't "hate" GM, but I'll certainly take them to task for the lack of response to their competitors.

nan

Should GM get credit for at least taking a step in the right direction.

Over $6,000 for an extra 3 mpg? No, that's a step in the wrong direction. It's shameful that they try to mislead people with the "25% better fuel mileage and only $2,500 more", when in reality they are comparing a 6 cylinder conventional vehicle to a 4 cylinder "hybrid".

If Saturn offered a 4 cylinder on the Aura, it would come in at around $17,000 and get 27 mpg. Now they offer this "Green Line" version for $23,000 and it gets 30 mpg?

Base Camry 4 cylinder CE runs about $19,300 and the Camry Hybrid goes for $26,200. That's a difference of about $7,000. But the mileage bumps from 27 mpg all the way to 39 mpg. And there's a lot more creature comforts in the hybrid compared to the base non-hybrid, whereas it's unclear what the situation is for the Aura.

Another difference is that the Camry Hybrid has considerably more power than the non-hybrid, whereas the Aura is actually less powerful than a non-hybrid version of the same engine (eg, in the Pontiac G6 with the 2.4).

I'd really like someone at GM to explain how this minor upgrade on the Aura is worth $6,000, and why they chose to be deceptive in their marketing claims.

chuckbo

Sorry to see this thread has died out -- it was interesting to read. My interest is that I'm going to be getting a new card this year, and the two leading candidates are the Aura hybrid and the Camry hybrid.

Going into the search, my pre-opinion is that the Camry is more expensive and not as nice -- they're going to charge me for the privilege of buying a Toyota. But this discussion shows me that they're more "hybrid" than GM. I'll have to ask them how long the battery is rated to last and how much replacement batteries are.

The other advantage Saturn has going for it for me is remarkably good dealers and service. The only time I've ever been in a Toyota dealership was ten years ago before I bought this car, and they pretty much rudely brushed me off because I wasn't planning to buy a model loaded with options I didn't need.

To me, it's a good thing to have even a partial hybrid at a lower price so more people can choose it.

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