Last week, DailyTech
reported that GM is set to introduce a plug-in Saturn Vue Green
Line hybrid in 2008 for the 2009 model year. The company has been a bit
behind in the development of hybrid power trains in relation to Toyota and Ford. The news was a welcomed announcement for the automotive industry. The market
for hybrids is expected to expand from around 200,000 units per year in 2006 to
800,000 units per year in 2012.
But while the announcement of a plug-in hybrid was seen as
big news for the company, this latest announcement is even more awe-inspiring.
GM has stated that its plug-in Vue Hybrid will
achieve 70 MPG. Those numbers seem almost unbelievable for a 3,500 pound
vehicle -- even for a plug-in hybrid. For comparison, here are some mileage
figures for four of the most popular hybrids on the market:
That being said, the industry is abuzz about the
implications for such a fuel-efficient crossover. "They may not be as far
along the development path as Toyota, but they have to maintain a perception in
the market that they are pursuing and will deliver advanced technology,"
said Robert Toomey of E.K. Riley Advisors.
Japanese rival Nissan is also impressed with GM's new hybrid
technology. "GM's plug-in hybrid technology is very exciting. It's
certainly something I'd be interested in exploring," said Nissan product
manager John Curl. Nissan just recently cut its ties from Toyota
in hybrid development and decided to go it alone.
While Toyota is currently leading the field when it comes to
sales of hybrid vehicles and is betting heavily on the technology, GM is
looking to produce advanced hybrids as a mere pit stop on the way to its
ultimate goal -- production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. "We continue to
make significant progress in this area, and we continue to see fuel cells as
the best long-term solution for reducing our dependence on oil," said GM
CEO Rick Wagoner.
quote: The only negative concern about larger vehicles is if they are large enough, or poorly designed, to where you are more likely to lose control than a small car. But for most minivans and modest-size SUVs, that is not a concern.
quote: I've never seen a set adjusted for mileage...there is no data on that.
quote: at best only just barely self-sustainable (ie in an entirely ethanol-based system it would take nearly 1L of ethanol to produce 1L of ethanol)
quote: obvious potential to dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels in the next 20 years. Even full electric cars aren't going to do much when 60%+ of North America's electricity is generated from fossil fuels
quote: altogether, and simply factor the gasoline consumption over an "average" daily commute of x miles
quote: current Vue hybrid only gets 32MPG...there's no way that the next generation is going to be over twice as efficient
quote: there's no legal requirement for him to use any set algorithm for deriving them
quote: It's still not going to get over twice the mileage of the old Vue
quote: ...think "the law" prevents a GM executive from quoting whatever figures he wishes, you're mistaken. Until the Vue is being advertised for sale with a specific EPA MPG estimate, the law doesn't apply
quote: GM hasn't even developed the batteries for this vehicle yet, and you think they've done official CAFE MPG testing on production vehicles
quote: Furthermore, unlike the weight of a fuel tank, the battery weight of a PHEV is a serious consideration in mileage. In short, without having the actual battery itself, there is no way one could accurately determine the vehicle's mileage
quote: This vehicle has not been built yet, therefore it cannot have undergone mileage testing .
quote: This makes the mileage a pure numbers game, as you can hit whatever MPG figure you wish based on your trip assumptions....GM NA President Clark can spout whatever figures he wants in a press conference...there's no legal requirement for him to use any set algorithm for deriving them.
quote: PHEV version of the Vue has been built. Only the upgraded non-plugin hybrid.
quote: You can get energy from tidal water, water turbines, wind, solar etc etc.
quote: For a practical and truly ecological car, get a modern diesel. Too bad you can't get one of those in the US.
quote: Im not defending the carmakers as fuel efficiency should be much, much better (9 MPG for a modern vehicle is an atrocity)
quote: can't blame the automakers, you can only blame yourself
quote: Sorry, but you can't blame the automakers, you can only blame yourself. Automakers are very good at producing precisely what customers want
quote: GM built all-electric cars ten years ago. The last year they made them, they sold four HUNDRED. No company can force people to buy an unpopular product. And if they continued to try and sell while raking up massive losses, they'd be neglecting their responsibility to their shareholders...shareholders which pretty much includes most anyone with a 401K or mutual fund investment.
quote: Since you're so quick to blame automakers, I have to ask you-- did you yourself purchase one of those all-electric vehicles? Or is this just a bit of self-righteous hypocrisy?
quote: Once again, GM can sell cars...but they can't force people to buy E85 gasoline. Most people don't WANT to, primarily because its a higher-cost alternative, even with billions of dollars per year of federal subsidies.
quote: BTW, how much E85 did YOU buy last year?
quote: > "[GM's] failure...is an economic disaster for our country...Meanwhile, Toyota's building a huge new R&D facility right up the road..."
Nonsense. Given the number of GM autos built outside our borders, and the numbers of Toyota's built inside them, GM's market share losses don't translate into any real pain for the nation. It may be a "disaster" for some overpaid, underworked UAW members...but for the rest of us, its business as usual.
quote: 40-50 mile range that it will run on the Charged batteries
quote: In an interview, Larry Burns said the company is still committed to having a production-ready fuel cell vehicle by the 2010-2011 time frame, but emphasized that a go-ahead production date has not been finalized. "We have to have some assurance that fueling stations are available in a critical enough density to make sense for our customers."
quote: It will be interesting to see what happens when this technology becomes commonplace in a few years.
quote: ...that we can already get better fuel consumption from a known process, not a "research in motion" process.