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August 13, 2009

Quick Drive: Buick/Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid prototype

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Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid prototype – click above for high-res image gallery

We had a chance for a quick drive of a development prototype for Buick’s upcoming plug-in hybrid crossover this week at the GM proving ground. The prototype was still wearing its Saturn grille and badging as that was the original intent of the program. When Rick Wagoner announced in late 2006 that the company would develop a plug-in hybrid, it was intended to the be the Vue. Of course, at that time, Saturn still had a future as part of GM but we all know how that turned out.

The Vue was Saturn’s best-selling vehicle in 2008 with nearly 82,000 units sold. For the new version, the silly fake fender vents are being dispensed with and a water-fall grille is being applied to make it a Buick (so much Fritz Henderson’s hatred of re-badging). The two-mode hybrid system that was scheduled to go into production late last year lives on but is now paired with an 8 kWh lithium ion battery pack supplied by LG Chem. According to Larry Nitz, director of hybrid powertrain development, this is half of a Volt pack repackaged to fit under the rear cargo floor. Learn more after the jump.

Gallery: Saturn Vue PHEV prototype

[Source: General Motors]
Photos Copyright (C)2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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Quick Drive: Buick/Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid prototype originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 13 Aug 2009 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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