• Jan 11th 2008 at 3:03PM
  • 14


In his CES keynote, part of which you can watch above, General Motor's CEO Rick Wagoner hints that an announcement with the release date for GM's first plug-in hybrid is coming "very soon." GM told us the release date for Saturn Vue plug-in might be in the end of 2008 or "2009-ish" range. From what Rick says in his keynote, I get the feeling we might get news of a firm release date at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. Here is exactly what he said (watch 5:30 into the video above):

We've already announced our intention to build a "plug-in" version of our Saturn VUE hybrid. Our team is hard at work to get this technology to market as soon as we can. Expect an announcement on the VUE plug-in hybrid very soon.

I guess we will find out next week when the 2008 Detroit Auto Show begins. If there is news of a release date in Detroit, the best I am hoping for is an October 2008 release and maybe a few details about possible MPG ratings for the vehicle. If anyone can buy and drive off with the Saturn Vue PHEV from the Detroit Show floor, that would be okay too, I guess.

[Source: YouTube]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Charles S, I doubt this but it is possible the Vue could have a higher electric only speed and with the larger battery having a range of say, 40 miles, the Vue essentially becomes a Volt-like electric car. The Vue will probably be a "mild plug-in hybrid" but that is the draw for plug-ins and why you might see a spike.

      Also, I think there are a few plans for $10,000 plug-in tax credit in the passed energy bill or presidential debates. I couldn't tell you if the Vue is technically in that group though because we really know nothing and I could be wrong about there being news.

      Lastly, I have posted about plug-ins before; I don't think the problem is sales but if they are not plugged in, you might have well have bought a hybrid. I don't think a lot of people will plug them in and net, the technology focus could be a totally waste. Maybe even detrimental.
      • 7 Years Ago
      By the way, here's a quick break down of Sature Vue prices:

      Base Vue: about $21,000
      Vue Hybrid: about $25,000
      PHEV Vue: Guestimate: $35,000

      Ford Escape Hybrid is about $26k, and sold barely around 20,000 units for 2006.

      At $35k (probably minimum), how many PHEV Vue will be sold? Which would GM prefer to sell? $35k Cadillac or a $35k PHEV Vue?
      • 7 Years Ago
      sorry for the multiple posts, either my computer or ABg is messing up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tim, will the conversion come with a 100K warranty? Will it start and run in sub zero temperatures? Will it pass EPA crash tests? These are the things GM has know before they put one in production. They also have to be able to build these vehicles profitably. I don't see what GM would gain by stalling. If they announced production starts next month they would get a great amount of publicity and probably sales as well. GM "seems" to be serious about the two mode system with plug-in capability, unless they are trying to go out of business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tim, will the conversion come with a 100K warranty? Will it start and run in sub zero temperatures? Will it pass EPA crash tests? These are the things GM has know before they put one in production. They also have to be able to build these vehicles profitably. I don't see what GM would gain by stalling. If they announced production starts next month they would get a great amount of publicity and probably sales as well. GM "seems" to be serious about the two mode system with plug-in capability, unless they are trying to go out of business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "I don't see what GM would gain by stalling. If they announced production starts next month they would get a great amount of publicity and probably sales as well."

      Well, first of all, if either Volt or PHEV VUE is available for sale next month, how many people will actually buy one?

      Cars that generate buzz doesn't equate to sales. Hybrids will be cheaper than these vehicles, yet they barely make up 2-3% of vehicle sales. People have been saying that they want a fuel efficient cars, but cars with the most efficient mileage are rarely among the top of the sales figures.

      GM has absolutely NO incentive in rushing on such projects. Yes, I know they are already selling hybrids, but without breaking out the hybrid sales figures, we do not know if they are selling a few thousand cars and just milking the publicity angle.

      I'm not trying to bash GM, but just pointing out that GM is taking the same approach as Nissan when it comes to selling hybrids; this is less about satisfying consumer demands, but rather more about branding.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Throwback. no worries about the multiple posts. You make some good points that deserve to be repeated.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The problem with the Escape Hybrid is more about supply, not demand. Ford can only sell 20,000 per year under their current battery contracts.

      The demand is probably there for 30-40k if I had to take an impression of the mood. The days to turn of the new Escape Hybrid is like 12.

      However, it is true that a PHEV would add even more cost. While people can tolerate a $30k Escape knowing that it is about 30% more efficient than anything else in the class. Could they tolerate a $40k Escape/Vue/Rav4 even if it were 100% more efficient than non-hybrid vehicles? At some point, you save your money because the benefits in fuel efficiency have not outweighed the cost and uncertainty.

      GM will not be able to produce a PHEV next year that has a 150k warranty on the powertrain, is reliable and doesn't lose the company money hand over fist. If they do build something, it will be offered in SUCH small numbers that it can only be a marketing gimmick.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've done some calculations based on the gas prices here in Sweden and it's something like 1/5 of the cost running on pure electricity compared to f.e ethanol/gas/diesel and so forth. This is based on the 1.2 kWh/10km estimations for the Volvo C30 plugin compared to around 0.6l/10km if running on petrol.

      Who wouldn't plug it in in this case ?

      Don't know that the electricity prices are in the US but i'm guessing that it would be much cheaper to run on electricity even though the gas prices are close to half of the price here. Then add the environmental benefits on top of that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Charles S: I'd say your "guesstimate" for the PHEV Vue is way high - you added the cost of hybridization onto an already hybridized model!

      Based on the estimated extra cost of the AFS Trinity plug-in, the PHEV Vue is likely to start under $30,000 - expensive, but still a resonable price for an SUV.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tim, will the conversion come with a 100K warranty? Will it start and run in sub zero temperatures? Will it pass EPA crash tests? These are the things GM has know before they put one in production. They also have to be able to build these vehicles profitably. I don't see what GM would gain by stalling. If they announced production starts next month they would get a great amount of publicity and probably sales as well. GM "seems" to be serious about the two mode system with plug-in capability, unless they are trying to go out of business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tim,

      A production vehicle is a little different than a conversion. I know Trinity did a decent job, but how friggin long is that battery pack going to last? 20 charges? 30?
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