GM Confirms Plug-In Hybrid Package Will Stay After Saturn Goes
No matter what may transpire with its Saturn division, General Motors has confirmed that the plug-in hybrid system that was to debut in the 2011 Saturn Vue SUV will neither disappear nor be delayed. The definitive word came down from Tom Stephens, vice chairman of General Motors and VP of product development. Stephens said that the advanced fuel-saving technology, which employs a slightly different -- and obviously plug-in -- variation on GM's existing Two-mode Hybrid package, will find its way into an as-yet-unspecified model from one of the four GM core brands that remain after its restructuring has been completed. The initial run of these plug-in hybrids is destined for evaluation fleets operated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute, although retail units would soon follow as part of GM's announced plans to have 14 hybrid and electric vehicles in its lineup by 2012. The most likely candidates to benefit from Saturn's loss would be the Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox or upcoming GMC Terrain, which share the Vue's basic platform architecture. However, Stephens offered no additional hints as to which member of the Buick/Cadillac/Chevy/GMC clan would ultimately be fitted with this fuel-saving gasoline/electric powertrain.