Saturn Vue hybrid goes dual mode in 2008 ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Saturn Vue hybrid goes dual mode in 2008

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Saturn Vue hybrid goes dual mode in 2008

GM announced the Saturn Vue will become a 2-mode hybrid in 2008.

The current Saturn Vue hybrid uses a belt-alternator system to recharge the battery used in the relatively small electric engine. This allows the electric engine to assist the gas engine in acceleration and allows the gas engine to shut off when the SUV stops. That and other improvements gave the new hybrid Vue about 5 mpg increase over the conventional Vue.

With the new front wheel drive, 2-mode hybrid system (the dual mode system will debut in 2007 with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size hybrid SUVs) should increase fuel economy by 45 percent over the conventional Vue.

The electric engine will be coupled with GM's 3.6L V-6 gas engine, with direct injection and variable valve timing. The battery pack will be nickel-metal hydride powering two active cooled permanent magnet motors.

From the press release:

The front-wheel-drive, 2-mode hybrid system optimizes city and highway fuel efficiency by integrating two electric continuously variable modes with four fixed mechanical gear ratios.

This design is similar to the 2-mode hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive applications, which will debut next year in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs.

The 2-mode hybrid system improves fuel economy by the following operations:

* Engine off at idle
* Low speed electric-only propulsion
* Electric boosting during brisk acceleration, climbing steep grades or towing
* Cutting off fuel to the engine during vehicle deceleration
* Regenerative braking
* Engine speed and load control

“The 2-mode hybrid system has the flexibility to improve fuel efficiency across a range of vehicles,” Stephens said. “For example, in 2003, we introduced the 2-mode hybrid system for transit buses. In 2007, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon 2-mode full-size SUVs will debut, followed by the Vue Green Line 2-mode in 2008.”

By using two electric modes and four fixed gear ratios, the 2-mode hybrid system’s electric motors are smaller, compared with traditional “one-mode” hybrid systems, and impose no significant limitation on the size of the engine.

Consequently, the 2-mode hybrid system fits into the same space as a conventional automatic transmission, minimizing packaging, cost and weight issues. The result is exciting performance and outstanding fuel economy.

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Bruce Holladay said...

This is an interesting post on the 2008 Vue. My wife and I stopped by a dealership yesterday that has about 30 new Vues on the lot (they all had stickers that said they were not for sale yet.) We were surprised to see no hybrid Vues in the bunch. We are planning on getting one in the fall, but were worried not to see any. Any idea on the sticker price for the hybrid?

Mike said...

Hi Bruce, I haven't seen a sticker price announced yet.

The green line mild hybrid was supposed to stop production in May, while the dual-mode hybrid will begin production in September. That huge gap between the two models means that many dealers will sell out of the old model well before the new and improved model comes in.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
I just wanted to say that I too had the same thing happen when I went to a recent saturn dealership. Plenty of 08 Vue's and not a single Vue Hybrid in sight. I think they purposely put a 3 month gap between distributing the hybrids so they can estimate how well they will sell once compared to the base models. And it seems like Toyota is doing the same thing with the new 08 Highlander Hybrid. While it is a fact that both companies are putting out hybrid models with a 3 month gap, my reasoning for it was only a theory. Anyone else have a take on it?

Mike said...

I'm not sure it's a hybrid thing so much as a car thing. My guess is they like to clear out the old before bringing in the new. That way they won't have to discount the old cars as much.

After all, if you come into a dealership and they have the old model sitting next to the new model, would you be willing to pay the same amount for both?

Robert Kurzweil said...

I think it is more a factor of the 2007 Vue Hybrid not working correctly. I have one that has been in the shop repeatedly working out one thing after another.

Mike said...

That really stinks. There's nothing worse than buying a new car and having to deal with repairs. I mean, that's why you buy new in the first place. You expect that used vehicles have a higher likelihood of having issues.

Anonymous said...

Interesting changes on Saturn Vue! I also think the Lincoln MKS 2009 car is awesome because of the safety features (Sirius Travel Link) I saw a video on it here from the NY Auto Show, check it out!

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