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GM unveils plans to produce plug-in hybrid SUV.

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29 Kyodo

General Motors Corp. on Wednesday unveiled plans to produce a Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid sports-utility vehicle that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner disclosed the plans during a news conference ahead of the opening of the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs from Dec. 1 through 10.

The hybrid SUV will use a modified version of GM's two-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology, a lithium ion battery pack when ready, highly efficient electronics and powerful electric motors to achieve significant increases in fuel economy, the automaker said.

''GM has begun work on a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid production vehicle,'' Wagoner said. ''The technological hurdles are real, but we believe they are also surmountable. I can't give you a production date for our plug-in hybrid today. But I can tell you that this is a top priority program for GM, given the huge potential it offers for fuel-economy improvement.''

The company also revealed plans to expand its hybrid system to a variety of vehicles ranging from passenger cars to pickup trucks between 2007 and 2009.

Specifically, GM said the two-mode hybrid system will debut in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs in 2007.

In 2008, the system will expand to the Cadillac Escalade full-size SUV and the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra crew cab full-size pickups.

In 2009, an electric all-wheel-drive, two-mode hybrid system will be introduced in the Vue Green Line, GM said.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Dec 4, 2006
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