GM’s Plug-in Hybrid SUV Still on Track, Is An EV On The Way?

Despite the sale of the Saturn brand, General Motors says a plug-in hybrid SUV is still on schedule for a 2011 launch.

GM’s original plan was to market a plug-in version of the Saturn VUE 2-Mode Hybrid, a model that was scheduled for a 2010 introduction. With the General recently inking a deal to sell Saturn to Roger Penske, neither model will come to light — but the technology will appear in a different model.

Tom Stephens, GM’s new vice chairman, told Automotive News a plug-in model is not a lost cause following Saturn’s departure.

“I can tell you that I won’t lose one day in terms of customers being able to walk into dealerships and actually purchase a plug-in,” Stephens said.

This correlates with previous reports surrounding the future of the Vue 2-Mode. Although the model was scuttled, GM had discussed applying its technology in a different compact SUV — possibly even a Buick, as previewed in a CBS News segment. We’d wager whichever model receives the 2-Mode system will subsequently receive a plug-in variant.

Stephens also mentioned GM is considering an all-electric micro car, targeted at urban commuters. The area isn’t entirely uncharted territory for GM, but it would be the first return to the EV segment since the demise of the EV1 in 2003.

“I think there’s pent-up demand for the technology,” said Stephens, referring to GM’s work on electric-drive vehicles. “My job is to get it out there and get it right the first time, but then get it cost-effective so that we can do a huge number.”

Source: Automotive News