• May 6, 2009
The Saturn Vue was supposed to be GM's first plug-in hybrid, but the pending loss of Saturn leaves the General's upcoming plug-in tech without a vehicle or brand. The Vue plug-in was originally going to arrive in 2011 in a cooperative demonstration test fleet with the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Vice Chairman and former head of GM Powertrain Tom Stephens explained on the GM Fast Lane blog that while Saturn won't get plug-in tech, one of the four remaining brands will.

Stephens won't spill the beans with regards to which brand or vehicle will utilize plug power, but he did specify that the 2011 timing will not be effected. Bob Lutz's replacement is looking forward to speculation as to which brand and vehicle would be used, so we don't want to disappoint. Since the original time frame of the Vue plug-in launch is unchanged, we're guessing that either the Chevy Equinox or Cadillac SRX would be suitable replacement vehicles, since the three vehicles share a similar platform. Stephens also said that the Volt and the unspecified plug-in are but two of 12 hybrid and electric vehicles that GM plans to introduce by 2012.

[Source: GM Fast Lane blog]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      12 by 2012? Can't they be serious for once? Bmw, nissan, anyone with an actual electric car in testing are saying 2011 to 2012 (development doesn't happen over night) and GM is gunna meet them and one up them in it's welfare state? So well get what? A 40,900$ volt sans range extender with a 40ish mile range? Brilliant. This, cheylsers advert, let's cut the bs and focus on actual cars in the pipline. There's areason lots of folks are stoked for the non plugin non electric fiesta. Less starwars more reality please.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is the two-mode parallel system. It's not an EREV like the Volt.

        GM already has several hybrid vehicles.

        Malibu
        VUE (presumably becomes the Equinox)
        Escalade
        Yukon
        Tahoe

        And the Volt plus this other VUE in the pipe. So getting to 12 by 2012 doesn't seem too impossible to me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 Zamafir

        They said they were only 2 of the 12 Hybrid models they plan to INTRODUCE by 2012 which would imply these are all new models in the pipeline. Either way with only 4 brands expected to survive (at least one too many) and surviving on welfare halo projects like this that don't make money are more for the media than the bottom line is foolish. Besides which GM has yet to make a Hybrid tech vehicle that is actually competitive with the others out there. They have been strictly marketing excercises and money suckers for the company. Their money would be better spent focusing on building better bread and butter vehicles that put money in the bank. Then when you have the money to spend you can worry about Halo projects that make you popular in the media. GM needs to get out of the past. They can no longer afford to lose money on vehicles. What also worries me is that in order to get to their magic 12 number they will have to do a whole lot of badge engineering between the 4 badges (knowing GM it will be 3 different Chevy models dressed in drag as Caddies, GMCs and Buicks). Not exactly a good sign of things to come.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Even if we were talking EV, it's a matter of pulling out the range extender and slapping a bigger battery into the Volt. I suspect GM built such a prototype before the Volt prototype.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The Saturn Vue was supposed to be GM's first plug-in hybrid"

      I thought the Volt was going to be their first plug-in hybrid?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not sure how this is going to work out for GM. Between 1) the silent (but I'd expect significant) number of people who won't buy Chrysler or GM on principle because of bankruptcy and the taxpayer money that's down the toilet, and 2) the selection of hybrids/EVs from other manufacturers (hello Focus EV!), GM's going to have all sorts of issues by 2011.

      Besides with only 30,000 Volts or so available in the first round, you know the surviving Chevy dealers are going to add a $5K paint sealant job to it which will at least partially if not fully offset the tax credit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's one brand too many. Plug-in hybrids won't sell, because they offer no reasonable payback to offset the price premium.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Although what you mention isn't necessarily an impediment to selling a car (people make plenty of nonsensical car buying decisions), I think that a parallel hybrid plug-in such as this or the plug-in Prius is a really tough sell. A plug-in like the Volt (serial hybrid) with significant zero-emissions (and zero gas use range) is an easier sell, although they cost quite a bit more. In this case, the user can easily see how much different the experience is and with some behavior modification can go days without using any gas at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope chevy, it would make sense, then give Caddy Electric Vehicles (cuz they cost more anyway)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Stupid and irresponsible if GM really made the comment that plug and play will be limited to one brand.
      It has to be first introduced in Chevy and then migrtate throughout ALL brands in due course. Makes me doubt the ability of the new ceo if he allows statements like this. Just as selling their best selling small car brand Saturn is silly.
      SInce GM changed ceo the statements from GM are all just plain wacky.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know the autoblog headline would lead you to believe GM was limiting the technology to one brand, but if you read the actual GM article, it simply says that they are still going to impliment the technology in one of the core brands. it makes no mention of future plans or any intention of limiting the system to any brands.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a little weird since the Volt is a plug-in hybrid too.

      So I guess they mean the plug-in parallel two-mode hybrid only goes to one brand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You know, I drive a Nissan 350Z and I love that car. However, given for what I believe is our need to become energy independent, especially from OPEC, Russia and Venezuela, I was planning to trade-in my beloved 350Z for a Saturn Vue plug-in.

      That's right, I was willing to become a Saturn owner by trading in a cool car. Unfortunately, GM killed the Saturn before the product could save it. Yes, I know I could buy the same car from Chevrolet or Cadillac (supposedly), but the point is that GM could have reoriented Saturn to be a Hybrid/Plug-in only brand. The Prius sells a lot because it shows that its owners care about being "green" (or smug). Imagine an entire brand oriented to "green" (or smugness).

      Perhaps Saturn dealers could establish to buy the BYD plug-in car that looks like a Corolla. Given that Warren Buffett owns a chunk of BYD, he could provide financing to Saturn Corp. to federalize and market those cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The viability of a brand is tied more to its profitability than its popularity. You only provide evidence of the latter.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The BYD F3DM is a farce. Not only can you not buy it, but even those who can buy it (fleet buyers in China) aren't buying it. Word is it doesn't work right and that the all-electric range specified can only by reached if you don't exceed 25 km/h.

        I find it interesting that you say that you would have bought this vehicle as a Saturn but now with a different badge (either Chevy, Cadillac, Buick or GMC) you won't buy it. Why is that? This kind of argument goes against the usual AB argument that GM should never rebadge vehicles across vehicle lines.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Read my post again, I never said I would not buy it as either a Chevy, Cadillac or Buick. My point is that GM thought that Saturn was a dead brand, while my willingness to consider trading a 350Z for a plug-in VUE would seem otherwise. Thus given a right product mix, Saturn could have been saved and even thrive.

        As to the point if it is better to launch the plug-in as a Chevy or Cadillac rather than making Saturn a hybrid/plug-in only brand is another debate. Some will say that it does not make sense since eventually most cars including Chevy and Buick will become hybrids and plug-ins while others will say that a dedicated "green brand" will bring extra sales from those that would only buy a hybrid that has the distinctive look of a hybrid (Prius, Insight) in other to show-off green credentials.


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