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2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode Hybrid  (Source: General Motors)

  (Source: General Motors)
GM gives the Vue a swankier hybrid system

General Motors is truly moving forward with hybrid technology and it's not afraid to put its latest products on display. DailyTech has already detailed the two-mode hybrid Silverado/Sierra and Tahoe/Yukon. GM is now dropping its two-mode hybrid system into the compact Saturn Vue crossover utility vehicle.

The two-mode hybrid powertrain couples two actively-cooled 55 kW electric motors and a 1.8 kWh 300V NiMH battery with the existing 3.6 liter V6 engine. The system is currently available only in a front-wheel drive (FWD) layout, but the system is still good for a 50 percent increase over the non-hybrid Vue in city traffic -- overall fuel economy is increased by 30 percent and the maximum cruising range balloons to over 500 miles.

If GM's percentage estimates hold true, the Vue Green Line 2 Mode will deliver EPA ratings of 24 MPG in the city compared to 16 MPG for the standard 3.6 liter Vue with FWD. For comparison, a Toyota RAV4 with FWD and a 3.5 liter V6 is rated at 19 MPG in the city.

For those keeping score, the current “mild” hybrid Vue Green Line already achieves EPA ratings of 25/32 with its four cylinder engine. It's quite possible that the Vue Green Line 2 Mode could surpass those figures once the final EPA ratings are handed down, but not likely by much. One must also take into consideration that the Vue Green Line 2 Mode has a much more powerful V6 engine – which allows 0-60 sprints in 7.3 seconds – and can tow 3,500 pounds. So while the two vehicles will likely receive similar EPA ratings, the Vue Green Line 2 Mode is the more accomplished performer.

"The Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode challenges the notion that a compact SUV can't be both powerful and efficient," said Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak. "Customers tell us they want a compact SUV that will respect the environment and save money at the gas pump, but they don't want to give up performance and utility. We've responded with the Vue Green Line 2 Mode."

GM will start production of the Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode hybrid in the latter half of 2008.

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By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/7/2008 2:28:02 PM , Rating: 1
When GM introduced its first "hybrids," they weren't, really. They were ICE's with electric motor assist. The ICE never turned off. Then they finally figured out how to make a real hybrid, I think. They mated their hybrid gas/electric with their cylinder de-activation technology and call it a "two-mode" hybrid, which connotes that there is a second mode to the hybrid system. In fact there isn't. There is a "mild hybrid" as they derogatorily call it, which is a normal hybrid, and the second "mode" is cylinder deactivation, which is not a hybrid technology, just a fuel saving technology.

Toyota uses VVT-i and Atkins cycle to achieve better and smoother performance with its "mild hybrids." GM has been trying to sell that cylinder deactivation technology on the US market since the late 1970's, and now they call it a hybrid mode? Now that is obfuscation in its highest and most misleading form.

By werepossum on 1/7/2008 6:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see the point in an SUV that's 2WD. I looked at the Vue and Escape (available in 4WD, with a low range) hybrids before finding and buying my third Tracker 4WD convertible, and I just couldn't see the Vue Hybrid being practical. If I were going to buy something like that, I'd just buy a Ford Frontline crossover, which offers roughly equal mileage, AWD (no low range), third row seating, and equal towing capacity. As for hybrids, I'm hoping for an actual plug-in hybrid. With a little restraint I could make it to work and back without starting the ICE, while still retaining the ability to travel long distances and tow my small bass boat when needed.

By Alexvrb on 1/7/2008 7:33:14 PM , Rating: 3
I think you need to some research. Where do I begin? Their mild hybrids don't shut the ICE off, true. That's why they are mild hybrids. However, their 2-mode hybrid system is a lot more than cylinder deactivation (aka Active Fuel Management or AFM). It actually does completely shut off the ICE when it can. You can even find AFM on many of their regular ICE-only setups. It works really well, I've driven vehicles using it.

Anyway, that's not what makes it a 2-mode system. That's not what they mean by "mode". They're referring to a complete mode of operation, how the engine, transmission, and hybrid systems work together. Toyota has a really good 1-mode hybrid system already, but it doesn't do much of anything for highway speeds. So GM just took it one step further and their 2-mode system switches modes for high speed travel and back again.

Read the article linked below - conveniently located on Dailytech - and THEN you can pretend you know what you're talking about.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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