GM Will Apply Plug-in Hybrid Technology To One of Its Remaining Four Core Brands, Delivery Still in 2011
|Prototype Saturn Vue PHEV plugging in to a Coulomb Chargepoint (earlier post) in San Jose, CA. Click to enlarge.|
In a post on GM’s FastLane blog, Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said that the company will apply plug-in hybrid technology to one of the four core brands remaining after the restructuring: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
Saturn currently sells two hybrid vehicles (VUE and Aura with GM Hybrid System) and was scheduled to begin initially offering a two-mode hybrid Vue (earlier post), with a Vue plug-in two-mode hybrid version (earlier post) due in 2011 for use in a cooperative demonstration test fleet with the US Dept. of Energy (DOE) and nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). (Earlier post.)
In 2008, Stephens, then GM Group Vice President Global Powertrain and Global Quality, had said that the Vue two-mode hybrid would deliver about a 50% increase in combined fuel economy compared to the non-hybrid Vue XR and that the two-mode plug-in hybrid would 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.
Based on the current restructuring plan, GM is accelerating the wind-down or sale of Saturn to the end of this year. (Earlier post.)
Although Saturn’s future is likely not to be within GM now, I can assure you our commitment to hybrid, plug-in hybrid and advanced battery technology is a key element of GM’s reinvention. I’m pleased to let you know the plug-in hybrid technology will be applied to one of GM’s four core brands. Stay tuned for which one, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy reading the speculation.
Stephens said that GM is still planning initial delivery of plug-in hybrid vehicles using a modified version of the GM front-wheel drive two-mode hybrid system (earlier post) in 2011 to the DOE and EPRI for use in fleets.
The Volt and plug-in hybrid vehicle are two of 14 hybrid and electric vehicles GM plans to offer by 2012. So while it may seem at times we’re taking a step back, we’re really taking two steps forward.