Remember a few years back, when all of the sudden the market was flooded with hybrids? I’m not talking about the Prius or the Insight, genuine hybrid cars, but rather the “half-hybrids” cranked out by GM and Chrysler prior to their bankruptcy proceedings. There was the Saturn Vue Green Line, Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, even the Chevy Silverado Hybrid. Rather than running on electric engines at low speeds, some of these systems (like those in the Vue) used stop-start technology to save fuel when at a stop sign. Kinda half-hearted if you ask me.
After canceling all their hybrids, GM is set to return with their “mild-hybrid” system sometime next year. So will it meet with more success than the first time around?
With the Volt on its way, GM knows it has to offer more hybrid options. With the Volt clocking in at $41,000 ($33,500 after federal tax rebates) it is simply out of reach for many Americans desiring a fuel efficient full-size car. The mild-hybrid system is cheap (though GM won’t put a price on it yet) and relatively simple. When your car stops moving, the engine shuts off. Batteries get it going again when you need to drive, and provide an acceleration boost when you need it.
GM hasn’t specified what cars will get this mild-hybrid system, though apparently one of the models will be a Chinese-built Buick LaCrosse. Other likely candidates include the Chevy Malibu, and perhaps even a Cadillac. Personally, I’d like to see some of GM’s bigger trucks get a mild-hybrid system. I am tired of walking past empty trucks idling in parking lots with the A/C going full blast. More likely though it will end up on cars like the new Chevy Cruze, which can already get 40 mpg. At least it is something (and should be more affordable than the Volt).
Source: Automotive News | Image: GM
Chris DeMorro is a car enthusiast, blogger, and all-around crazy man who is as passionate about hybrids as he is about Hemis. You can follow his constant misadventures at Three Months In A Mustang.