Steane Klose | Jan 15, 2008

Just yesterday, Toyota’s CEO Katsuaki Watanabe gave us an indication as to the future green initiative underway at Toyota and it includes the ongoing development of lithium-ion hybrids with plug-in recharge capabilities, but its a playing field that will not be exclusively Toyotas. GM’s Saturn division introduced the second and third hybrid versions of their Vue SUV at this weeks Detroit Auto Show and its version three, dubbed the Vue Green Line that is the interesting one.

The Vue Green Line will use a modified version of GM’s two-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology, a lithium-ion battery pack, electronics and electric motors. Production is tipped to begin as early as 2010, which would make the Vue the first commercially available plug-in lithium-ion hybrid. Saturn officials are also suggesting that the Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid will be the most fuel-efficient vehicle offered by a major car manufacturer.

Testing of the Vue Green Line suggests that it will be capable of operating for more than 10 miles at low speeds using just electric propulsion. At higher speeds, the Vue Green Line uses a combination of engine and electric power, or engine power-only systems. Owners will be able to literally plug the Vue Green Line into a household electrical outlet that will see it re-charged in 4-5 hours.

For those that can’t wait until 2010, the Vue (version 2) will be available later this year and will feature the more common-place nickel-metal-hydride batteries in combination with a direct-injection 3.6-litre V6. The combination is said to be good for a 50 percent increase in fuel efficiency.

Videos of both Vue variants at the Detroit Auto Show follow.

Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid

Saturn Vue two-mode hybrid

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