Saturn announced this weekend at the Detroit auto show that production will may begin as soon as 2010 on a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Saturn Vue Green Line. The crossover is expected to be the first regular production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to hit the market.
Plug-in hybrid allow owners to recharge the electric motor's battery overnight, in this case providing 10 miles of range without activating the gasoline engine. The vehicle's lithium-ion batteries can be fully recharged in four to five hours by simply connecting the vehicle to any standard 110V household electrical outlet.
When the batteries are fully charged, the Vue plug-in hybrid will potentially double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. After electric-only propulsion depletes the lithium-ion energy storage system to a specified level, the battery is replenished by utilizing the two-mode hybrid system's electric motors and regenerative brake systems.