During the recent Plug-in conference in San Jose CA, Matt Kelly of GMNext talked with Larry Nitz about the new PHEV version of the Saturn Vue. The PHEV Vue is still at least a year away and is based on the Two-Mode Vue that comes out late this year. The nickel metal hydride battery is replaced with a lithium ion unit and a plug-in charger is added. According to Nitz, who is the executive director of hybrid powertrain engineering at GM, the PHEV Vue will average about the twice the fuel efficiency of the regular two-mode Vue for the first 20 miles. GM isn't talking about the electric only range, because the ability to actually operate on electricity alone is limited by the motor power. As what's called a conversion PHEV, the motor is not sized for a significant electric only operational window. The Vue will go up to about 35 mph at light acceleration on electricity. Beyond that the engine starts. Even in around town driving the engine will start with anything other a very light throttle foot. Nonetheless, the plug-in Vue will likely achieve somewhere between 50-60 mpg for the first 20 miles. If you can drive lightly enough to keep the engine off, you should be able to get around 10 miles on the battery. Check out the video after the jump.

[Source: GMNext]


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