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Saturn Aura Green Line
The Saturn Aura Green Line starts at $22,695 including destination charge

General Motors has officially announced pricing for its 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid sedan. The vehicle will retail for $22,695 including destination charge and will also be eligible for a $1,300 tax credit from the federal government for 2007 tax returns.

For comparison, the Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry Hybrid are priced from $22,985, $25,015, $22,975 and $26,820 respectively, including destination charge.

The 2007 Aura Green Line is considered to be a "mild hybrid" since it cannot move forward under electric power alone. The Aura Green Line hybrid powertrain (164HP 2.4 liter 4-cylinder plus electric motor/generator) is capable of providing mild electric assistance under acceleration, stopping the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and starting it back up again when the gas is pressed. The car also takes advantage of regenerative braking to help recharge the battery pack.

The Aura Green Line boasts EPA ratings of 28MPG/35MPG city/highway compared to 20/30 for an Aura with the 224HP 3.5 liter V6 and 20/28 for the Aura with the 252HP 3.6 liter V6.

A more viable comparison may be with the Pontiac G6 base sedan. This vehicle is the Saturn Aura's platform-mate and also uses the 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine and transmission without the hybrid add-ons. EPA ratings for the G6 are 23/33 city/highway which means that the Aura Green Line’s hybrid system affords the driver an additional 5MPG in the city and 2MPG on the highway.

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RE: Hybrids Can't Touch This!
By jak3676 on 3/20/2007 10:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'll 2nd the call for more diesel in the US. I picked up a VW TDI when I left Germany in 2005 (US Spec). Best car I've ever driven. If you have a lot of highway driving, nothing can come close. I make the trip from D.C. to Florida on a single tank of gas with gallons to spare (about 650 miles per tank or 52 MPG). That's even averaging over 70 MPH the entire way. I'd challenge the hybrids to do the same drive at the same speeds with anywhere above 40 MPG.

The above poster hit it dead on in terms of pollution. Diesels do put off more Nox and Sulfur, but a lot less of everything else. A lot of that has to do with the poor quality diesel available in the US. We recently lowered the sulfur content (15 ppm instead of 500), but didn't take it far enough. If you run a good mix of biodiesel you can really reduce your emissions. And its good for your car too - better lubrication qualities in the fuel. If you look at total amount of waste gasses produced, diesels are better than gasoline. But the EPA can't seem to figure that out in the US. They continue to try to make diesels fit into the same specs as gasoline engines.

Manufacturing biodiesel is generally more efficient than ethanol too. It takes a lot of energy to produce corn based ethanol. In the end you only marginally come out ahead (in the neighborhood of 25%). Some of the biodiesel production takes only 1/3 of the energy to produce a similar amount of fuel. In other words with the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of fuel you can produce a little over 1.25 gallons of corn based ethanol or over 4 gallons of soy-based biodiesel.

Gasoline based US vehicles have a problem with more than about a 20% mix of ethanol (without modification). Almost all diesels can run up to 100% biodiesel without any modification. For the few US cars than do run 85% ethanol you only get 85% as much MPG as well. You don't loose much going to 85% biodiesel.

As far as diesel + hybrid. Yes, we need to work at that as well. You just have to realize that it will be different than gasoline hybrids. Diesel + Hybrid is definitely possible - I think every modern locomotive has been a diesel hybrid for decades now. Diesels don't work well to have the engine switching off and on. They do best at a constant (low) RPM. Instead of a gas engine based car that gets extra power from a battery for acceleration, you'll want to design a totally electric car that gets recharged from a small diesel engine. Diesels already have a lot of efficiency that hybrids do. For example, diesels will drastically cut the amount of fuel sent into a cylinder when it’s not needed (coasting). Gasoline engines have a very narrow band for amount of fuel for any given RPM. The standard diesel idea of cutting your fuel flow to the engine may not be as good as just turning off the engine, but its a start. I think the day will come, but some further improvements in battery tech will help.

RE: Hybrids Can't Touch This!
By Zoomer on 3/21/2007 4:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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