Buick Plug-In Hybrid Announced by GM ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Buick Plug-In Hybrid Announced by GM

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Buick Plug-In Hybrid Announced by GM

GM will introduce a plug-in hybrid crossover from Buick in 2011. The crossover will launch in late 2010 with a direct-injected gasoline engine. The plug-in hybrid vehicle will be sent to the Energy Dept for testing in early 2011, while the commercial model will go on sale later in 2011.

GM had planned on a plug-in Saturn Vue, but has switched plans since deciding to sell the Saturn brand. Now the un-named Buick crossover will receive the new hybrid technology.  It had been rumored the Chevy Equinox would be the first to receive the plug-in technology set up for the Saturn Vue, but that was not to be.

New Buick Crossover

The Buick crossover will be powered by an Ecotec 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.0L direct-injected V-6, and is expected to deliver 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway. Final fuel economy estimates, as well as additional vehicle details such as name and pricing, will be announced later.

Buick Plug-in Hybrid Crossover
The Buick plug-in will potentially double the fuel economy of comparably-sized SUVs on short trips. GM will combine their dual-mode hybrid system with advanced lithium-ion battery cells and charging technology developed for GM's Voltec system, which will debut in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle in late 2010.

"LG Chem - the supplier of our battery cells for the Volt - has also been selected to supply the lithium-ion cells for the new Buick plug-in hybrid, and its Troy, Mich.-based subsidiary Compact Power will supply the pack," Stephens said.

The Buick plug-in hybrid will use the same manganese-spinel based chemistry and polymer battery cells as the Volt. The 8 kwh battery - containing half the energy of the Volt battery pack - will be packaged in a rectangular-shaped box under the cargo floor.

The lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in four to five hours by simply connecting the vehicle to any standard 110V household electrical outlet. By recharging rather than refueling, the Buick plug-in hybrid significantly improves fuel economy and reduces petroleum use. In early testing, the plug-in hybrid is capable of electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles at low speeds.

On the road, GM's 2-Mode plug-in hybrid system can use any combination of electric or gasoline engine power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions. This differs from GM's Voltec technology, which provides the Volt with up to 40 miles of emissions- and petroleum-free electric-only propulsion, and an overall range of more than 300 miles with its flex-fuel engine-generator.

In addition to the lithium-ion battery pack, the Buick plug-in hybrid's powertrain features two powerful electric motors, sophisticated electronic controls and battery management systems and an efficient direct-injected 3.6L V-6 flex-fuel engine.

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