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Old 11-30-2006, 07:02 AM   #1
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Default Saturn to get plug-in hybrid

The 2008 Vue has been introduced at the 2008 auto show, but other big news about the more distant (though not so terribly distant) future of the Vue has also been unveiled - current plans will have the 2009 Vue available as a full 2-mode hybrid with plug-in capabilities. For those not familiar with the differences between types of hybrids...

Mild hybrid: the vehicle cannot run on electric alone, but is assisted by the electric motor. This also allows for start-stop operation, which turns the engine off at stoplights, for example. The current Vue Green Line is a mild hybrid, as will be the initial next gen Vue Green Line and 2008 Aura Green Line.
Full hybrid: the most common type of hybrid today - the car will generally run on electric alone at low speeds and acceleration, with the engine kicking in for higher speeds, or faster acceleration, or to charge the batteries. The Toyota Prius is an example.
Plug-in hybrid: this allows the batteries to be charged by the engine OR an external charger or outlet. A plug-in hybrid is just like a full hybrid, except it features the option of running on electric alone, and being charged by an external means. This allows for using the vehicle as a pure electric vehicle if the trip is short enough. For longer trips, the engine can charge the batteries, and act like a normal non-plug-in hybrid. Currently the only option for a plug-in hybrid is to have a company in California convert a Prius by adding extra batteries, electronics, and a charging adapter. This costs a substantial amount, and voids the vehicle warranty.

So, back to the 2009 Vue 2-mode plug-in hybrid. It is expected to be paired with the 3.6L V6, and the 2-mode hybrid system is expected to increase fuel economy by as much as 45%. In addition, the Vue will be able to drive more than 10 miles on electric power alone. For those with a short commute, this could allow for a very cheap gasoline bill.

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