Two-mode Hybrid System for Saturn Vue

By: Anthony Fontanelle

In the quest to reinvent the Saturn brand, General Motors has taken on the services of German car manufacturer Opel. The working relationship between Opel and Saturn has led to the development of European styled vehicles such as the Saturn Vue which was based on the Opel Antara.

But General Motors did not reinvent the Vue just by giving it a European vehicle look. The Detroit, Michigan-based car manufacturer has allowed the Saturn brand to use General Motors' two mode hybrid system. The hybrid system which was developed jointly by General Motors and DaimlerChrysler will be used in the hybrid version of the midsize crossover SUV. The hybrid version of the Vue is called the Saturn Vue Green Line.

The use of the hybrid powertrain on the Vue will give the brand a reputation as a manufacturer of environment-friendly vehicles. Since the demand for these types of vehicles is increasing, the brand is expected to post increased sales once the hybrid version of the Vue is introduced into the market.

According to General Motors, the use of the two-mode hybrid system will give the Vue Green Line savings of up to 45 percent in fuel consumption as compared to non-hybrid Vue units. This figure is based on the preliminary testing conducted by Saturn on the Vue Green Line.

"We are delivering on our promise to continue our steady rollout of additional hybrid applications, each offering different levels of affordability, fuel savings and performance," says Tom Stephens, the General Motors group vice president for GM Powertrain. "This will be the auto industry's first front-wheel drive vehicle to use a two-mode hybrid system, which improves fuel economy while maintaining performance and capability," he added.

The Saturn Vue Green Line will be powered by a General Motors 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine. The ICE is designed for good fuel efficiency. It is equipped with direct injection and variable valve timing features to optimize the use of fuel. The engine is complemented by reliable auto parts such as and the like.

The engine's power output is augmented by two active cooled permanent magnet electric motors. These electric motors take their power from a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The powertrain used by the Vue Green Line is similar to the hybrid powertrain that will be used by the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon Hybrids which will be introduced in the market next year.

According to General Motors, the two-mode hybrid system allows the Vue Green Line to shut down the internal combustion engine during idling. This eliminates the fuel waste commonly associated with idling especially on city driving when abrupt stop and go traffic increases the amount of fuel being wasted. Another feature of the two-mode hybrid system is that during low-speed operation, the electric motors kick in instead of the gasoline engine.

During sudden acceleration, the electric motors provide additional power. This means that the gasoline engine will not be tasked to burn more fuel during brisk acceleration. On hill climbs or towing, the electric motor also provides additional power to the engine's power output. During vehicle deceleration, the two-mode hybrid system automatically shuts down the engine thus saving fuel. Another feature that the two-mode hybrid system has is its regenerative braking system. This means that the energy produced during braking is used by the vehicle to recharge its battery pack.

Mileage and Fuel
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Mileage and Fuel