Saturn Hybrid Technology Will Survive in One GM Brand

Not only will the Saturn VUE plug-in hybrid’s technology still be brought to production under one of GM’s four core brands, but, according to a GM executive, the introduction schedule will remain the same.

Tom Stephens, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, revealed the news on GM’s FastLane Blog.Stephens declined to say which brand would receive the plug-in hybrid, but the Theta platform that underpins the Vue was also used for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2010 GMC Terrain.Some speculate that Cadillac, whose new 2010 SRX is loosely based off the same platform, might be a better fit than either Chevrolet or GMC.

The Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid was to use a modified version of GM’s two-mode hybrid system.Currently, the two-mode hybrid system is used in GM’s SUV and truck hybrids, like the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid and GMC Sierra hybrid.A two-mode Vue hybrid with a 45 percent improvement over the mild hybrid system’s fuel economy was scheduled to be released this year, but it’s safe to assume that project is cancelled since GM plans to either shut down or sell Saturn.

Stephens says GM will honor the timeline the Vue plug-in was supposed to follow, handing over a fleet of plug-in hybrids to the DOE.

“Although Saturn’s future is likely not to be within GM now, I can assure you our commitment to hybrid, plug-in hybrid and advanced battery technology is a key element of GM’s invention,” Stephens said in the blog.

Jettisoning Saturn eliminates 25 percent of GM’s hybrid sales, amounting to quite a drop in green-cred for the American automaker trying to ditch its image as a maker of Hummers and other gas-guzzling SUVs. We’ll just have to wait to see which brands will get GM’s two-mode plug-in hybrid system – and whether or not the improved two-mode hybrid system itself will be used on some other vehicle.

Source: GM FastLane Blog