|General Motors Group Vice President Tom Stephens with the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid show vehicle prior to its debut at the Detroit show. Click to enlarge.|
GM used the North American International Auto Show to highlight a number of coming hybrids in the Saturn line-up: the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode hybrid, which begins production this fall; a plug-in version of the Green Line 2 Mode, which GM has committed to put in production, perhaps as soon as 2010; and the Saturn Flexstreme Plug-in Concept, a diesel-engined implementation of the E-Flex system (the Saturn Flexstreme is essentially the same car as the Opel Flexstreme shown in Frankfurt in 2007, earlier post).
2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode and Plug-in 2 Mode. The Vue Greenline 2 Mode will be the first application of the two-mode transmission in a front-wheel drive vehicle. Accordingly, GM repackaged and redesigned elements of the two-motor transmission.
The motors, for example, have slightly lower output than their cousins in the two-mode transmissions in the Tahoe and Escalade (55 kW vs. 60 kW). The motors themselves have a different form factor in the FWD version (larger in diameter, but thinner) compared to the motors in the full size SUVs.
GM also made slight modifications to the fixed gear ratios in the transmission, and the final drive ratio in the Green Line 2 Mode is 3.02, compared to 3.08 in the larger vehicles.
The plug-in version is largely based on the 09 Vue 2 Mode, the major changes being the use of the larger Li-ion battery pack (the non plug-in version uses a 300V 1.8 kWh NiMH pack) and unique hybrid operating controls. GM is still being fairly close-mouthed about other technical details on the plug-in.
Tom Stephens, GM Group Vice President Global Powertrain and Global Quality, said that the Vue Green Line 2 Mode will deliver about a 50% increase in combined fuel economy compared to the non-hybrid Vue XR. The 2 Mode Plug-in will have a battery-powered driving range at low speed of about 10 miles, and could double fuel economy compared to the conventional vehicle on short trips. The conventional 2008 Vue XR (3.6L VVT, six-speed automatic) has a combined city/highway EPA rating of 19 mpg US.
|The Saturn Flexstreme. Click to enlarge.|
Saturn Flexstreme. Unlike the parallel architecture of the Vue 2 Mode Plug-in, the Saturn Flexstreme uses the series hybrid (extended range electric vehicle) E-Flex system. The Flexstreme implementation of E-Flex is a collaborative effort between Saturn and GM’s European Opel brand. The car uses an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery to propel it for up to 34 miles of electric-drive-only range. The battery can be recharged at a household outlet in just three hours.
On the road, a 1.3L turbo-diesel onboard engine generates additional electricity to replenish the battery and extend the vehicle’s driving range to a total of 444 miles (715 km).