TRAVERSE CITY, MI - General Motors' plug-in hybrid technology will be introduced in a new Buick crossover vehicle in 2011, Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman of product development, announced August 6.
The yet-to-be-named Buick crossover will launch in late 2010 offering a family of fuel-efficient direct-injected gasoline engines, followed in 2011 by the plug-in hybrid model. The Buick plug-in hybrid is expected to be the first commercially available plug-in hybrid SUV produced by a major automaker, according to GM.
The new five-passenger crossover will build on the success of the Buick Enclave in a fuel-efficient package, powered by an Ecotec 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.0L direct-injected V-6, and is expected to deliver 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway. GM will later announce final fuel economy estimates, as well as additional vehicle details such as name and pricing.
The Buick plug-in hybrid has the potential to achieve double the fuel economy of comparably-sized SUVs on short trips. This significant boost is achieved by combining a modified version of GM's proven 2-Mode Hybrid system with advanced lithium-ion battery cells and charging technology developed for GM's Voltec system, which will debut in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle in late 2010.
The lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in four to five hours by simply connecting the vehicle to any standard 110V household electrical outlet. By recharging rather than refueling, the Buick plug-in hybrid significantly improves fuel economy and reduces petroleum use. In early testing, the plug-in hybrid is capable of electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles at low speeds.
On the road, GM's 2-Mode plug-in hybrid system can use any combination of electric or gasoline engine power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions. This differs from GM's Voltec technology, which provides the Volt with up to 40 miles of emissions- and petroleum-free electric-only propulsion, and an overall range of more than 300 miles with its flex-fuel engine-generator.
In addition to the lithium-ion battery pack, the Buick plug-in hybrid's powertrain features two electric motors, electronic controls and battery management systems, and direct-injected 3.6L V-6 flex-fuel engine.