Feb 21

GM Remains Committed to the Plug-in Saturn VUE Program

 

One of the provisions of GMs restructuring plan was to reduce its brands and focus on its core. As we heard yesterday, Saab was set free to attempt restructuring in Sweden’s courts. Hummer will be terminated or sold by the end of March, and Pontiac will be reduced to a niche brand.

Saturn too shall soon be shed. In a letter to dealers, GM proposed that Saturn dealerships could spinoff into an independent entity. They could then be free to source vehicles either from GM or other automakers.

So where does this leave the plug-in Saturn VUE program? We’ve been hearing about the car for some time and look forward to a nicely-styled SUV that could travel the equivalent of 10 miles electric range using a plug-in parallel hybrid drivetrain, have plug-in rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and get MPG estimates high in the double digits.

GM spokesperson Rob Peterson advised GM-Volt.com the following:

Saturn will remain in operations for the next several years through the planned lifecycle of it’s existing product line. As our viability plan showcased, we’re very committed to the electrification of the automobile and continue to develop several hybrid systems and vehicles including the Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid.

Plug-in Vue is currently set for 2011. We announced that the Vue launch was moved to 2011 earlier this year.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 9:43 am and is filed under Brand, Financial, PHEV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 108


  1. 1
    RB

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:49 am)

    It’s kind of hard to believe a new VUE will be sent to Saturn dealers just as they are closing down, as described, but it is good news that the electric VUE will be built and sold under one brand or another.


  2. 2
    donal campbell

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:01 am)

    Both Saturn dealers near me have closed down closest is a hour away. Not sure how many will be left to sell the Vue


  3. 3
    koz

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:01 am)

    Buick plug-in Vue?


  4. 4
    TALLPALL

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:13 am)

    Only *** 647 Day’s to go ***


  5. 5
    James E

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:14 am)

    30mi all electric range….what is the top elect speed?

    Chevy – Vue….it has my vote.

    NPNS….


  6. 6
    Biodieseljeep.com

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:14 am)

    Um, how soon until Statik comes on and splashes this with cold water of reality? Let me save him the trouble and do the translation:

    “I am talking to Saturn dealers. Here is me talking some more about exiting products that will never be built. That will keep a few of you, the guilible, from starting a few italian fires and taking the insurance money to Jamaica. Did I mention that you are totally and completely screwed? I shouldn’t have said that. Did I mention that I still got my bonus in 2008? I shouldn’t have said that either.”


  7. 7
    Biodieseljeep.com

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Um, where is Q4? Isn’t there some legal aspects to delivering annual reports?

    Buehler? Buehler?


  8. 8
    NZDavid

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:23 am)

    As a stand alone, Saturn will qualify for the 200,000 manufacturer incentive, so will get the full $7,500 tax credit. Got to be good for the plug in Vue.

    More importantly, it is filling a niche no main manufacturer is filling. Plus, of course, nasaman wants one. 199,999 left for everyone else.

    NPNS


  9. 9
    jeff j

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:23 am)

    I just can’t believe anything at this point . To all the saturn owners good luck getting parts to fix your cars in three to five years . Very sad day! I wish all the workers the very best and hope you can land on your feet .


  10. 10
    john1701a

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Augmenting that midsize FULL hybrid with a 6-cylinder engine never made sense anyway.

    The hybrid Vue needed to be competitive on its own first, rather than just offering MPG close to the non-hybrid version with the 4-cylinder engine but at a considerably higher cost.


  11. 11
    Van

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:30 am)

    The Saturn Plug-in Vue might end up in the same cul-de-sac as the Chrysler hybrids, canceled within months of their debut. I expect the Vue might have sister vehicles within the GM line, and if so the drivetrain might appear as a Buick. They could rebadge the Vue as the Buick Electra.


  12. 12
    ziv

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:31 am)

    The related posts show just how important this plug in Vue has been to GM.
    Saturn says, We will get it to you in 2009′ish, no, make that 2010, hmmm, on the other hand, 2011 sounds a bit more realistic…
    Now Lutz is flying off into retirement, and Saturn is going down the tubes so 2011 is looking a bit shakey now, as well…
    Are GM’s 4th quarter results published yet?
    Van, just read your post, and I think that that is the very best thing that could happen. If GM survives, it will need vehicles like the Vue hybrid and the Electra is the perfect name. I owned 1971(?) Electra for a while, what a behemoth! But I did manage to get it to drift. Unfortunately there was a Billings police cruiser behind me when I broke it loose… It performed pretty well airborne over the Poly canal bridge too.


  13. 13
    john1701a

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:32 am)

    You may find this blog entry I wrote back on 8-19-2004 interesting…

    Ever Changing Story.

    I’m really getting tired of the stories GM is feeding us. A few years ago, they totally condemned hybrids claiming they were nothing but a “stop gap” fix. Then exactly one year later, they announced they wouldn’t only be supporting hybrids but that they would also be the first automaker to delivery one million of them. They even got specific, stating that would be in 2007 and the year before their Saturn Vue would be offered as a FULL hybrid. Then the story changed, again. Last year they downgraded the Vue to just an ASSIST hybrid. Now, once again, the situation worsens. Their not-really-a-hybrid Silverado, that offers a 0 MPG (yes, zero) improvement on the highway, will only be available next year in 6 states. That’s it! It makes me discount their credibility to “disappointing” at best. Supposedly, they will be improving that 0 MPG later by introducing a cylinder reduction feature. But I won’t believe it until I see it. And I won’t believe the improvement until I see actual real-world data. Whatever the case, it still doesn’t count as a hybrid. No propulsion is provided by an electric motor at all. All they are doing is refining the engine-only design. I wonder if the story will change again. Hmm?

    Obviously, they’ve changed the story quite a few times since then. Heck, they still haven’t delivered the FULL hybrid Vue.


  14. 14
    Keith

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:38 am)

    What a good business opportunity for BYD , it has been announced that GM will close out Saturn dealers and set them free , but before that happens they will get to sell some real nice Hybrids . The staff and mechanics will become familiar with real Hybrids and get to know and understand the electronics.
    BYD could come in here with their high quality Hybrid that will sell in the low $20, 000. range and have a network already set up.

    A perfect fit , time for BYD to do some serious talking to Saturn Principles about selling reasonably priced Hybrids.

    Ditch the amber rear turn signals and replace them with red , Change the speedometer to miles per hour from kilometers and print up English stickers and on board car labels .

    They have already been crash tested and passed with flying colors .
    Time to do some serious marketing BYD , The network is there for your taking. Go get it , business is business . It is a win , win situation for everybody .


  15. 15
    texas

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:38 am)

    What to do, what to do. Should they re-brand the plug-in Vue and launch it under the new core brands?

    Should they just drop the project because it will cause too much confusion with Voltech?

    One thing I am sure of is that they should not launch under the Saturn name. I would just stop talking about Saturn all together. Tell customers that Saturn vehicles will be covered for the full warrantee and that there will be no issues at all. It’s safe to buy every last car they produce. Just don’t introduce any new models. That would just be a waste of money and marketing effort.

    My gut feeling is that the Vue plug-in technology will be cheaper than Voltech. This is due to the battery not having to fully power the electric motor at high speeds. They can have the motor kick in at 45 mph for example and that would cut down on the battery pack demands.

    Thus, it might be good to market the Vue plug-in technology as a poor man’s Voltech. Unfortunately, the Vue technology might outperform Voltech initially and also be less expensive. This would not be good for GM.

    It’s just too much to deal with. I say just dump the Vue project and tell everyone that they decided to upgrade the project to use the superior Voltech drive train. That would be a direct slap in the face to Toyota (who is going to use technology similar to the plug-in Vue) and remove all of the complication. Go serial hybrid and pure BEV. The standard hybrids are selling poorly and are unlikely to help GM get better with electrification or help the balance sheet.

    It’s tough to dump a project after so much work but I think it might be best to focus and stand behind their best technologies. Focus people.


  16. 16
    Van

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:50 am)

    Hi Ziv, don’t get me started. I drove a 1957 Chevy Bel air sport coupe very fast and nearly killed myself a time or two. Ah sweet bird of youth. Or as Mr. Updike might put it, “each moment of time is like a thief, taking more away than it brings.”


  17. 17
    tBay

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:12 am)

    Turn the VUE into a re-born Buick Rendezvous.


  18. 18
    gsned57

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:13 am)

    Keith #14,

    Personally I’ve been wondering for a while now when BYD would swoop in and buy up one of the American Car company divisions. I have to agree that Saturn would be a great choice for them at this point. The main problem I see with that though is that Saturn in my mind is %100 American (I’m sure the cars are made in Mexico but this is just my perception) and if I knew that the cars came from China I don’t think I’d be too interested.

    Then again, if BYD can deliver on half the stated AER with a car that performs on par with even my 86 VW Vanagon at the price they are stating I would probably be first in line to at least test drive. But I sure wouldn’t want to be an early adopter of a new chinese car company. Kinda like buying a Saturn right now, cause you know you are screwed long term but the question is how long you can go before that first part breaks.


  19. 19
    An_outsider

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:16 am)

    Sad story about Saturn. They had a vision. Gm lose an wonderful opportunity to do “A Different Kind of Company, A Different Kind of Car” as well to re-invent and spread a new labor work force relationship. Later Saturn become just another GM’s division and lost its soul. Spring Hill, Tennessee was no longer the “Saturn home”. So it was the signal of the Saturn’s end…

    In the beginning of the 90′s, we had Passport dealership (in Canada) before they become Saturn dealers. May be they reverted back to something like that? Will GM allows them to sell cars from others manufacturer (than GM subsidiaries) thru this channel?

    Source Wikipedia:
    General Motors Canada changed its branding strategy in 1991, disbanding Passport. Isuzu was grouped together with Saab and GM’s new, import-fighting Saturn division to form Saturn-Saab-Isuzu dealerships

    ps: I’m still a 95′ SW1 owner. my son drives it daily.


  20. 20
    Bruce

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:26 am)

    @jeffj

    You’re right. These company line statements are totally meaningless.

    What else are they going to put out there, other than positive statements. I give this car .01% chance of ever seeing daylight. Too bad, because I really like the idea of this car.


  21. 21
    john1701a

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:33 am)

    The standard hybrids are selling poorly
    ___________________________

    8,121 sales of Prius here last month, despite the ailing economy and the fact that it is at the end of it’s model life. The new Insight is seeing strong initial sales (5,000) after the recent debut in Japan.

    Don’t generalize by lumping all hybrids together.


  22. 22
    john1701a

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:41 am)

    I say just dump the Vue project and tell everyone that they decided to upgrade the project to use the superior Voltech drive train. That would be a direct slap in the face to Toyota (who is going to use technology similar to the plug-in Vue) and remove all of the complication.
    _______________________________

    Only enthusiasts argue complexity, which is relative anyway.

    Consumers have chosen FULL hybrids.

    Debates about traditional diesel and ASSIST being better due to “less complexity” haven’t made a difference based on actual sales. The wallet speaks louder than claims online.


  23. 23
    statik

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:45 am)

    The plug-in Vue died that day they announced they were putting everything on hold. The part about, ‘moved to 2011′, translates to we are doing absolutely nothing at all on the project, it is still born.

    You know the whole thing is in trouble when the GM PR guy (Rob Peterson) is having trouble even being optimistic about the brand, and unknowingly answers the question, even though he is using words like ‘committed, developing, viability plan’

    I mean the truth is right in the first sentence of his quote, “Saturn will remain in operations for the next several years through the planned lifecycle of it’s existing product line”

    Is the Saturn ‘plug-in’ a existing product line? No.

    In what universe does that translate to Saturn will become a viable entity, have cash to develop and market new product and be a ongoing concern past ‘remaining in operation for several years’

    Saturn was set up to be more easily severed if it was a flop, it is now officially by their own admission a flop…and even GM wants it gone, there is not even ‘plan’ to retain Saturn.

    /sadly however, I would prefer this over a Volt, lol (some things are not meant to be)


  24. 24
    It's not just BYD...

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:50 am)

    Sorry I fronted that idea last post (that and the global success of Buick).

    Now Chery has bruited their Volt killer:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=am5CV7UjemZo&refer=news

    The only factual error I can find in the Bloomberg article is that China is now the world’s largest automobile market, ahead of the US, not the other way around.

    The problem with plug electric drive penetration in US vehicle production is that it’s very weak so far (excepting Ford with their excellent small SUV full hybrid and currently launching sedan full hybrid in their below the radar march towards plug in), while BYD F3 DMs are already on the roads and have the bottom end of the market covered, Tesla Roadsters are alreday on the roads and have the top end of the market covered. Where’s GM with the middle of the market? At least two years behind. Get them on the road NOW, GM. They’re ready.

    GM saying that stand behind future plug in Saturn Vues after repeatedly changing timetables (tomorrow’s always a day away), watering down the hybrid offerings and muddying the market with multiple levels of hybrid offerings on the same model, while pulling the rug from under Saturn NOW, is at best sending mixed messages and seems more like the typical forked tongue of GM PR. GM seems committed to shooting themselves in their feet repeatedly in their marketing and PR. What’s up with that?


  25. 25
    nasaman

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:51 am)

    #8 NZDavid….. “As a stand alone, Saturn will qualify for the 200,000 manufacturer incentive, so will get the full $7,500 tax credit. Got to be good for the plug in Vue.

    More importantly, it is filling a niche no main manufacturer is filling. Plus, of course, nasaman wants one. 199,999 left for everyone else.”
    =============================================================================
    You’re absolutely correct, David. And here are the reasons I’ll buy a plug-in Vue to park beside my Volt…..

    1) Vue seats 5 comfortably & can haul lots more stuff (inside, on top & behind) than the Volt

    2) Vue has the powerful CTS V-6 & can easily pull boats, travel trailers, etc (Volt can’t pull even a small U-haul)

    3) Vue is projected to get 70-75mpg+ (vs Volt’s 100mpg+) — not bad!

    4) Vue design is a clone of the BMW X5 (by Opel’s German engrs/designers) & handles like a dream!

    5) Vue parts will always be available from Opel (if not avail in the US)

    6) Vue is truly a powerful, yet extremely energy efficient “do-everything” vehicle

    7) Owners LOVE the design & style — Vue outsold all other new Saturn models last year — COMBINED!


  26. 26
    Dave K.  =D~

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:59 am)

    I nearly bought 3000 shares of GM stock when they announced the plug-in Vue, and Cruze programs. This was at $11 a share. Something told me to wait. But several here went in on the stock. It then dropped to $6. Which, to me, seemed like a “buy” point. I had just invested the original money in metal recycling, American energy, lithium battery manufactures, and medical devices distributors. So I was low and couldn’t buy GM even as it further slipped to $4 on the news of more delays.

    So what to believe now?

    And as another post mentions. The future is moving us all forward. Manufacture of full EV/E-REV is the way to go at this time. Battery cost will continue to drop as oil again rears it’s ugly head. You’ll see.

    =D~


  27. 27
    john1701a

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    superior Voltech drive train
    ___________________________

    What makes it superior?

    FULL hybrid systems replace automatic transmissions. That’s a big step in the right direction, eliminating many gears in favor of a power-split device.

    Eliminating the power-split device really doesn’t equate to much. It’s basically just a differential.


  28. 28
    nasaman

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:06 pm)

    #23 statik…… “……I would prefer this over a Volt, lol (some things are not meant to be)”
    ============================================================================
    I fully agree with this last phrase in your post #23, statik. However, I find the Plug-in Vue design so fundamentally excellent that I’m hoping & expecting that the car will survive, by whatever means it winds up being marketed!


  29. 29
    Dave G

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    From the article: We’ve been hearing about the (Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid) for some time and look forward to a nicely-styled SUV that could travel the equivalent of 30 miles electric range using a plug-in parallel hybrid drivetrain…
    ————————————————————————————–
    Lyle – where did you hear this? This is news to me!

    The last I heard, the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid only had 8-10 miles of all-electric range. 30 miles of electric range would be a huge battery. Where would they fit that?


  30. 30
    Dave G

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    #8 NZDavid Says: Saturn will qualify for the 200,000 manufacturer incentive, so will get the full $7,500 tax credit. Got to be good for the plug in Vue.
    ————————————————————————————–
    The $7500 tax credit is only for a battery with 16kWh or more of storage. The Volt’s 16kWh battery is very big and weighs 400 pounds. Where do they fit a battery that large in the Vue PHEV?

    Are you sure this $7500 credit for the Vue is right?


  31. 31
    Dave B

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:50 pm)

    I’m with everyone that is having trouble with GM’s credibility problems. First of all, 30 mile range? Since when? It’s 10 mile. Second, Saturn will go the way of Saab–if they are lucky. Third, GM is starting to live up to the reputation of killing the electric car (Volt) before actually producing it like the EV-1. This is getting old. Should we all move on to Fisker-Karma.com or perhaps Tesla-Motors.com because they have a better shot of actually pulling through with the millions (not billions) in government loans? WTF!


  32. 32
    carcus1

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (12:59 pm)

    IMO the plug-in vue is GM’s best “green” product. Superior to the volt. . specifically for #’s 1,2, & 7 listed by Nasaman at #25.

    They spent a lot of money developing the transmission and soundly tromp ford’s hybrid escape in towing capacity.

    It would be a shame for GM to not somehow hold onto the hybrid/plug-in vue.

    [by "superior" I mean what people will like, what they will buy]


  33. 33
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (1:33 pm)

    GM just needs to get something out, either the Plugin Vue or the Volt with just the battery. Just something GM, cmon!


  34. 34
    noel park

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (1:51 pm)

    “Saturn will remain in operations for the next several years through the planned lifecycle of its existing product line.”

    Does that mean that they can just let the dealers remain to twist in the wind and starve to death, rather than having to buy out their franchises? I mean, if they can’t sell the !@#$% things now. What reason is there to think that they will magically be able to in “the next several years”?

    Other than that, same old spin, different day. I’m a die hard GM owner and supporter, but even I can get tired of having my intelligence insulted.


  35. 35
    SteveF

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (2:04 pm)

    GM should move the project from Saturn to a platform that has a future. They could move the project to a Chevy Equinox Plug-In. The Equinox is similar size of Vue. It is pointless to says you are killing a brand and still saying the Vue will be released.

    GM does need solution like the Vue Plug-in, it will fit different customers than the Voltech solutions. Expect larger vehicle like SUV or Trucks to be good fit for Vue Plug-in type architecture, which is the two-mode hybrid with larger battery for smaller range of electric but still provide the larger need for power. So GM is right with working on both solutions. GM just got to get their business issue worked out so they can survive and deliver the Volt and a SUV plug-in.


  36. 36
    Dave G

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    #31 Dave B Says: … 30 mile range? Since when? It’s 10 mile.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes, I’m pretty sure it’s something like 8 or 10 miles.

    A 30 mile Vue PHEV would have a very big battery. That would significantly eat into the rear cargo area of the Vue, or perhaps eliminate 1 or 2 passenger seats. Either option is bad.

    I suspect Lyle had a typo on the 30-mile range.


  37. 37
    Mike D

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (2:37 pm)

    Does anyone else besides me think that the plug in Vue will simply translate to the Equinox? Look at the re-design. It looked obvious to me, but who really knows.

    Also, a friend of mine who taught english in china for a year told me “chery” was made as a direct ripoff of Chevy. I mean even the NAME. That’s pretty shameless, hahaha.

    EDIT: I don’t mean this to offennd, but say “chevy” with a stereotypical asian accent, and you get “chery!” That could surely be coincidental though…just like the name…


  38. 38
    MarkinWI

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    gsned57@18 – The VUE is built in Mexico. GM moved it from Spring Hill TN a few years ago. Spring Hill has the new Chevy Traverse now. Astra is built in Europe by Opel. Not sure about the rest of the Saturn line-up. To my surprise, my wife loves the Traverse. I’d buy the Traverse today if they had made a hybrid version with a plug and 4WD (it’s one of those days again – I barely got my Vibe up the street this morning).

    Dave K @26 – I bought when GM dropped to around $2.50 in November. I sold most in December when GM was north of $4.20. If they recover, I’ll make some real money. If the remainder gets wiped out, I’m still ahead, assuming the places that I moved the money to don’t get wiped out as well. I guess my point here is that some here, like me, probably bought GM stock and did ok with it, but no question we have been playing with fire.

    Noel Park @34 – GM phased out Oldsmobile a few years ago. I had a family member who owned one, and, at least to date, has had no issues. I would not be afraid to buy a Saturn.


  39. 39
    BillR1

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (2:57 pm)

    GM is in a tough situation right now, but I think they still have hope for the future.

    Saab was cut loose because it has never really made a profit, and it probably makes the least sense for GM to keep. For Saturn, they have suspended development except for current programs (which are likely scaled back, and thus will have delayed introductions). Therefore, the plug-in Vue is in the plan, but not until 2011.

    So why isn’t GM cutting Saturn loose like it did Saab? I think because they are anticipating the market to return in the 2010-2011 timeframe, and at that time they might be able to justify resurrecting the brand.

    In addition to nasaman’s excellent reasons for buying the Vue, here is some more on the 2-mode hybrid from an automotive review:

    “General Motors wants you to know that the 2009 Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid is the “world’s most fuel-efficient V-6 SUV.” That’s the glass half full. The other half of the glass is that the Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid is, in our view, the world’s most powerful fuel-efficient compact SUV. So forget about the old half-full/half-empty conundrum. The Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid is a glass full to the brim.”

    The big question is, “How long and how deep will this recession be?” If the auto market revives in 2 or 3 years, there will be pent up demand, and GM wants to keep that capacity on hand for when the market returns, if they can survive this downturn.


  40. 40
    Dave G

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    #32 carcus1 Says: IMO the plug-in Vue is GM’s best “green” product. Superior to the volt.
    ————————————————————————————–
    I feel just the opposite. I think GM should cancel the Saturn Vue PHEV. The Saturn Vue Hybrid is fine, but the PHEV version will be more trouble than its worth, and this will tend to give all plug-ins a bad reputation.

    Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Let’s assume the Saturn Vue PHEV gets about 120 MPG on the electric boost, and about 30 MPG after that. Using a typical yearly driving pattern of:
    • 30 days at 8 miles per day
    • 50 days at 16 miles per day
    • 240 days at 30 miles per day
    • 30 days at 60 miles per day
    • 3 days at 450 miles per day

    you would use:

    Vehicle ……………… Gallons per year
    Volt (EREV-40) …….. 37
    50 MPG car ………… 228
    Vue PHEV-10 ……… 293
    Vue Hybrid …………. 380
    20 MPG car ………… 570

    A Vue PHEV would probably cost $4000 more than a Vue Hybrid, and it would only save 22% on gas. This means you’ll still have to go to the gas station 3 or 4 times a month, plug in every night, and unplug every morning. For most people, this is simply not worth the hassle of plugging in. With the Volt, you only have to go to the gas station once every 2 months, which means the plug replaces most trips to the gas station, making it more convenient than a regular car.

    Bottom line: For people that want want more passenger or cargo space, GM will hopefully build an EREV version of the Orlando micro-van, which uses the same platform (chassis, brakes, suspension, etc.) as the Volt. People that really need the extra muscle for towing would probably be better off with a regular Vue hybrid.

    You can see the Orlando here:
    http://www.chevrolet.com/orlando/
    http://gm-volt.com/2008/10/04/chevy-orlando-will-this-become-an-e-flex-microvan/


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:11 pm)

    hi Markin WI #38,

    “no question we have been playing with fire”

    ______________________________

    Outside of the questions concerning GM and Chrysler stock, there is great opportunity in market wagering now. Even with this said, I just can’t get myself to invest more than 20% of my nest egg back in. The reason? Government is acting more like king over us rather than a free allied representative (as it should). An example of this is a trade I wanted to make on Friday. Yes, I could trade, but there was a stipulation that I get just one S&P trade each 60 days with my account. What kind of bull is this? I have been saving and working hard. I haven’t signed any high rate loans with the intent to flip the home for a quick fat cash gain. These flip investors got caught with their pants down, and now it’s my burden to carry them?

    So now I am paying for the investment loan carnage from greedy and deceptive home flippers. Recent news is that TARP will cover $100,000 per home in order for these home flippers to refinance at 4% and make payments until they can finally flip them over. I don’t want this to happen, but there is nothing I can do about it.

    I think I’ll stop making payments on loans and dues until I can get the government to carry me as well. I think that’s fair. Tell me it isn’t.

    ________________________________

    It’s time to get out of the way Uncle Sam. You’re punishing the best of American with a hammer and screw driver.

    =D~


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:12 pm)

    #25 nasaman says “And here are the reasons I’ll buy a plug-in Vue to park beside my Volt…..”

    From a marketing perspective the cars are complimentary. At this point I can’t see the Voltec platform powering anything like the Vue. The power requirements are just too great. I’d think pairing the Volt with a re-badged Vue under the Chevy or some other brand would make a lot of sense. Given the truly excellent MPG for the plug-in Vue, that blueprint should also be appealing to the Treasury Department which is more or less going to be running GM for the next few year.

    #23 statik says “sadly however, I would prefer this over a Volt, lol (some things are not meant to be)”

    That seems weird. You’re always beefing about the Volt’s meager 40 mile range and therefore you prefer a BEV with a longer range. Now you prefer a PHEV with a 10 mile range? I don’t understand the thinking on this one.

    #30 Dave G says “Are you sure this $7500 credit for the Vue is right?”

    You’re right about the credit. Not the full monty if the range is the announced 10 miles. If the battery pack is at least 4 kWh then it would be eligible for a $2500 credit plus the magic $417 for every additional kWh. Still not bad.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:25 pm)

    @BillR1 39

    2009 EPA (newer (US-06) method with full a/c, heavy driving, cold starts, high speeds):

    Saturn Vue crossover hybrid (weak) 28 mpg
    Ford Escape small SUV hybrid (full) 34 mpg
    VW Jetta SportWagen (clean turbo diesel with no hybrid) 34 mpg
    Toyota Pruis with fold down flat back seats and hatchback (a 6 foot ladder or a bale of hay fits) 46 mpg

    The Prius works great in snow and ice thanks to near linear, totally smooth off the line acceleration (electric drive) and deceleration (regenerative braking) if you have actual trained driving skills.

    BTW, If you think you need a V-6, try a good turbo 4. It’s way more fun.


  44. 44
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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:26 pm)

    Using a typical yearly driving pattern of:
    _____________________________

    How come the total distance traveled is different everytime calculations are posted?


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:33 pm)

    #43 let’s compare, shall we says “2009 EPA (newer (US-06) method with full a/c, heavy driving, cold starts, high speeds)”

    Where are you getting your numbers? FWIW the EPA does not have now, nor does it have any plans for, a US06 driving cycle. Until the 2011 model year we have Urban and Highway with an adjustment factor. After that we have a combined five cycle test, of which one cycle will be US06.

    The US06 cycle will be more aggressive than the combined cycle.

    I think I’ve seen estimates of the plug-in Vue having 75 mpg but that’s just from memory. If true that’s an impressive number. As for Prius, its big advantage is in the Urban cycle. Highway is not impressive because of the gearing and the fact that the battery plays no role.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:35 pm)

    One more point before taking the family out for the afternoon. Why produce vehicles with one, then two, then three small electric motors in the transmission? It’s going to be a maintenance nightmare over time and resale value will follow suit when Consumer Reports publishes the yearly repair cost numbers. The days of $1200 transmission rebuilds are over. The Prius is now being exposed as a vehicle which must be babied in order to preserve the hybrid system. Yippee, wish I had one of those micro boxes. Actually, the white ones with Obama stickers look Okay.

    =D~


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    #44 john1701a,

    The typical yearly driving pattern is always the same. On the last thread, I used a different (non-typical) yearly driving pattern to reflect Rashiid Amul’s 101-mile daily commute. Differences from the typical pattern were marked in bold text. Hope that’s clear.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:43 pm)

    The Prius is now being exposed as a vehicle which must be babied in order to preserve the hybrid system.
    _________________________

    Sounds like greenwashing.

    My friends towing 3,500 pounds with their Highlander-Hybrid will enjoy hearing that.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    The Repair Cost of Hybrids: Should You Be Worried

    …with Tesla Motors now shipping its first fully electric Roadsters to customers and GM aggressively pushing for a 2010 launch of the Chevy Volt, it seems the future of automobile electrification is upon us. …

    http://repairpal.com/the-repair-cost-of-hybrids-should-you-be-worried

    =D~


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    The typical yearly driving pattern is always the same.
    ________________________

    Why in the world don’t you show it? I keep pointing out how to avoid getting caught in a credibility trap. Yet, you choose to accept that exposure.

    I’m also aware how you refuse to standardize the numbers to an annual measure consistent with other common publications: like 15,000 or 20,000

    Newbies read posts and won’t have a clue where those numbers relate to. You must be explicit to prevent misunderstandings, if nothing else.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:09 pm)

    @ Don C, Dave K and john1701a, 45, 46, 48

    The numbers, all for combined and all consistent, so your arguments about driving cycle and urban advantage are irrelevant, come from the EPA fuel economy website for 2009 vehicles:

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

    The 2009 Saturn Vue hybrid (weak) is EPA combined rated at 28 mpg, not 75 (lol). Read it and weep.

    Here’s the info on how EPA does the numbers:

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

    So the 28 mpg is from results reported by GM (or Saturn or whatever they call themselves these days).

    @ Dave K

    “electric motors in the transmission? It’s going to be a maintenance nightmare … The Prius is now being exposed as a vehicle which must be babied in order to preserve the hybrid system. ”

    Your factual primary sources for this gibberish?

    When’s the last time you had to replace an electric motor in your refrigerator, washing machine or clothes dryer?

    Electric motors are well know for their low (or zero) maintenance, high reliability and durability and long life (one moving part helps).

    Electric drive also means one gear possible in transmission, not many, so there’s less to break.

    Many Priuses used as Vancouver taxicabs with hard, intense use and many with well over 100,000 miles on them completely disagrees with your wild, incorrect assertion of babying needed.

    Wow, I thought the folks on this blog were informed. If you have to resort to FUD to support your position, I feel sorry for you.

    Or maybe Don C, Dave K and john are joshing or being provocative on purpose, to see if they get a rational response?


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    Here are the gory details:

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fe_test_schedules.shtml

    The point is that the numbers reported were EPA 2009 combined mileage, apples to apples, straight from their site. No tricks on that at all.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:28 pm)

    hi Let’s compare, shall we #51,

    “Your factual primary sources for this gibberish?”

    ______________________

    Be careful what you wish for….

    As it turns out, hybrids really do cost more to repair than non-hybrids, but not necessarily because of the battery packs. Insurance claim company Audatex found that the Prius costs 8.4% more to repair than its non-hybrid competition, but the main reason for the disparity has a lot more to do with the lack of availability of aftermarket and junk yard parts.

    http://www.autoblog.com/tag/prius+repair+costs/

    When it does come time to get repair work done on the Prius, owners can expect a bill that is, on average, about 8.4 percent higher than one for a non-hybrid vehicle.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/13/prius-proves-pricey-come-repair-time/

    The first figure included in the press release states that in 2008, repair bills on a Toyota Prius cost approximately 8.4% more than similar cars without a hybrid engine.

    http://www.thegreenmotorist.com/index.php/hybrid-repair-data-released/

    ______________________________

    The reason I mentioned the rough use liability of the Prius transmission motor system is that I read an article stating that a rent-a-car Prius was ruined from rough use. If you like I’ll find it for you. These three articles took 5 minutes to locate.

    Let me know, I’ll be back tonight.

    =D~


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:38 pm)

    #50 john1701a,

    With a plug-in, your total yearly mileage is not as important as your yearly driving pattern. For example, if you drive 12,000 miles a year, it could be 300 days at 40 miles per day, or 30 days at 400 miles per day. This would make a huge difference on the amount of gas you would use with a plug-in. So that’s why I always list the mileage in expanded form.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:51 pm)

    #53 Dave K. =D~ Says: As it turns out, hybrids really do cost more to repair than non-hybrids, but not necessarily because of the battery packs.
    ————————————————————————————–
    If you look at the repair history of the Prius in Consumer Reports, its excellent. Very few repairs necessary.

    I think repair costs have more to do with the make and model of the car than weather or not its a hybrid.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (4:54 pm)

    #34 noel park says about Saturn dealers “Does that mean that they can just let the dealers remain to twist in the wind and starve to death, rather than having to buy out their franchises?”
    —————————————————————–

    I think “they” in the quote refers to GM. My understanding is that Saturn dealers have franchises from the Saturn subsidiary of GM, which is not just an administrative division but a distinct corporation (even if it is owned by GM). If that is the case, any disagreements would have to be worked out with Saturn corporate.

    Formally, Saturn corporate no doubt has an agreement with GM to supply cars, and it appears that GM is saying they will fulfill that agreement. It’s doubtful that GM itself has a direct contractual obligation to Saturn dealers.

    No doubt there are gm-volt readers would can clear this up, if they wish to do so. But I can imagine people being unwilling to concede anything during a contentious time period.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (6:08 pm)

    #51 Let’s compare, shall we says “The 2009 Saturn Vue hybrid (weak) is EPA combined rated at 28 mpg, not 75 (lol). Read it and weep.”

    Basically you’ve pulled out some numbers without understanding where they come from. Current models are not using the weighted five cycle test. Until the 2011 model year manufacturers have the choice of using the five cycle test or a weighted Urban/Highway number. So your cite is misleading to the extent that they suggest the numbers are based on that combination of tests.

    More importantly, you don’t have any numbers for the plug-in Vue. There aren’t any since a production version of the vehicle doesn’t exist. In thinking about it, my 75 mpg number is probably based on the unadjusted urban/highway number. Since the Prius had an mpg rating of around 60 using that standard, we can assume that the plug-in Vue will have an mpg about 20% – 25% higher than the current Prius. That’s very impressive for an SUV.

    Generally speaking, I can see the Volt being a direct competitor to the Prius. I have a hard time seeing the plug-in Vue being the same.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (6:11 pm)

    @ Dave K 53

    It doesn’t seem as if you read my post carefully, as your answer does not match my question about your statement:

    “electric motors in the transmission? It’s going to be a maintenance nightmare … The Prius is now being exposed as a vehicle which must be babied in order to preserve the hybrid system. ”

    Nontheless, what you are saying is that in general (I actually read the articles you provided and dug into their sources) , Pruises break less than other cars and are fairly new, so their replacement parts are a little more expensive (fewer of them in junkyards), and that the repair cost difference has nothing to do with the hybrid portion and that you found one example out of 1 million Prius that had been used roughly as a RENTAL car (news flash – rental cars in general get rougher use than owner driven cars).

    That is your support of your statement below? Weak.

    “electric motors in the transmission? It’s going to be a maintenance nightmare … The Prius is now being exposed as a vehicle which must be babied in order to preserve the hybrid system. ”

    to which I apparently quite rightly asked for “Your factual primary sources for this gibberish?” (your claim that electric motors are problematic and must be babied), which you failed to provide.

    Why is all this even on this thread, which is about GM’s continued support of plug in technology for Saturn in the GM’s current failure to support Saturn as a brand or statement of only continuing with existing product (a mixed message at best)?


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (6:14 pm)

    @ Don C #57

    I compared 2009 models, as I explicitely stated.

    The numbers came from US EPA, which I even linked for you, the official source of mileage ratings, as I also explicitely stated.

    I have no comment on 2011 vaporware.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (6:44 pm)

    @Let’s compare, shall we 51
    “When’s the last time you had to replace an electric motor in your refrigerator, washing machine or clothes dryer?
    Electric motors are well know for their low (or zero) maintenance, high reliability and durability and long life (one moving part helps).

    Electric drive also means one gear possible in transmission, not many, so there’s less to break.”

    That’s like saying “My lawn mowers gasoline engine is extremely reliable therfore my V6 in my Ford Explorer is just as reliable…”

    Apples and Kiwi comparison.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (7:39 pm)

    #17 tBay Says:
    February 21st, 2009 at 11:12 am
    Turn the VUE into a re-born Buick Rendezvous.
    =============

    Or a Plug-in Buick Enclave. The Enclave is already very popular.


  62. 62
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    Feb 21st, 2009 (7:43 pm)

    Does it really matter in the big picture? Its a car.


  63. 63
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    Feb 21st, 2009 (8:01 pm)

    While most all gently-driven vehicles nowadays perform well in the time frames for which most of these resale-value sources quote, there are some very simple, yet concrete cost factors which are not reported or are reportable in the resale value amounts compiled. Primarily, the hybrid traction battery is only sourced at the dealer, and, when most are diagnosed as unserviceable and must be replaced (at around $4000 after the 100k mile warranty), very few of these types of failures get reported by the very agencies that rate “trade in values”, which values can easily be buffered by non-discounting of the full retail MSRP.
    However, the most prominent factors that kill the hybrid transaxle (motor/final drive assembly) (as absolutely revealed by a Genisys Scan system), is a completely dead 12 volt battery (which runs the processors), and, apparently the processors are then not able to moderate a protective-power-reduction subroutine in instances where the vehicle is abused (usually when someone lends it out to a “friend” who can not resist repeated “pedal to the metal” abusiveness “to see what it’ll do”). The motor and the squibb (wiring) overheat and open circuit.
    Lesson: Those taxi company mentioned above likely proactively replace the 12 volt battery in order to assure that the processors can be reliably-supplied with a steady-state 12 volt source (properly reduced to 5v.).
    The term which best describes all of the electrical problems the 12 volt supply circuitry to the processors, (battery most important by far), is called “conductance”, and some very expensive “conductance” testers are available on the market which instantly reveal that a 12 volt battery is bad (to the processors) (not related to supplying the starter motor that one watt hour) . (A Genisys Scanner can also reveal poor conductance).
    Starting an engine, (although the traction battery does that in a hybrid), starting an engine only takes about one watt hour ONLY.
    The 12 volt battery is rated in amp hours. The jobs to be done are really then measured in watt hours.
    So, say a (different kind of vehicle) has a starter motor that takes 150 amps at 12 volts. It only demands, however, that 1800 watts for only 2 seconds. Therefore, 1800 divided by 60 minutes is 30. Then, since there are essentially 30 ’2 seconds’ in a minute, you have a demand of 1 watt hour ONLY, to start a conventional ICE.
    The biggest misconception that destroys more transmissions and processors in all vehicles is that
    “the battery must be good since it starts the (non-hybrid) car.”
    *********************************wrong*************************************
    In a hybrid, the 12 volt battery is half the culprit, abuse is the other half for highly expensive damages.
    If any small amp-hour battery is located away from engine heat, then, in the heat of the south, it really really ought to be proactively replaced after the third summer.
    If a small amp-hour battery is located next to, say, a V-6 in a Highlander, for example, in the heat of the South, it really ought to be proactively replaced *before* the third summer (of its case date).
    If your vehicle has a battery temperature sensor, (Chrys.) that battery will last one more year than not having that battery temp sensor, but, be sure to proactively replace that battery *after* the fourth summer. The transmission (via solenoids) can get instantly damaged with absolutely no warning whatsoever.
    Don’t lend out your hybrid vehicle unless the battery has been proactively replaced. There are absolutely no perceptible signs that you otherwise should proactively replace your 12 volt batteries (and be absolutely replaced with the factory quality specification!).
    Dan Petit Austin, TX


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (8:26 pm)

    @ #43 let’s compare, shall we

    ============

    Why are you comparing a Vue Hybrid to a Prius?
    Lyle’s article is about the Plug-in Vue.
    Also, the Vue and the Prius are no where near the same size.

    I guess i dont understand what you are trying to tell me. Is this just a post about how good a Prius is?


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (8:34 pm)

    #62 Mark Says:
    February 21st, 2009 at 7:43 pm
    Does it really matter in the big picture? Its a car.
    =====

    LOL.. that’s a depressing statement. I hope Lyle doesn’t take any offense regarding his website dedicated to “a car”.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Also, the Vue and the Prius are no where near the same size.

    I guess i dont understand what you are trying to tell me.
    _____________________________

    Actually, there are the same size. One parks next to me on a regular basis. Length and seating is remarkably close. The only real size difference is interior height.

    What is being told is that marketing has convinced people that’s not the case. So, we don’t bother to actually check facts. We take what’s posted at face value… which is yet another thing attempted to be told here.

    In short, GM will once again fail to deliver. The reason being, we don’t know what the heck they plan to deliver. IT KEEPS CHANGING! It’s all about fuel-cells. Live Green, Go Yellow. Look, we have a plug-in hybrid. Now it’s a EREV. Tomorrow will be what?

    To make matters worse, there is no unified voice coming from the ethusiasts. They fail to state what should be delivered between now and the end of the stimulous & bailout funding ends (that’s 12/31/2011) for the majority. What should the bulk of GM production be?

    The plug-in Saturn Vue was suppose to be part of the plan. Now, we’ll be lucky if just a token few get delivered. And even then, it still won’t be MPG competitive with the plug-in Escape hybrid.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:01 pm)

    A Texas Prius owner with 91,000 miles on his hybrid said that “the dashboard lit up with multiple warning lights. The dealer picked it up and said that the transmission went out and it would cost $6,000 to fix and the Prius was out of warranty.”

    Toyota allowed no coverage, not even partial help even though the transmission was part of the Hybrid Power train covered for 5 years and 100,000 miles.

    A southern California Prius owner told us that his car has died on the freeway four times. The second time the dealer had the car for 53 days waiting for parts.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:12 pm)

    I don’t know where you got the price quote,but a new one will be $3700 (Then you will need to pay an additional $350 for installation)

    A rebuilt is $3300 (Not including removal and reinstallation)


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:16 pm)

    The first thing to take notice of when people sight specific examples is the dates. What model was it? How many years ago was it?

    You can always find examples that distort the majority. That’s why large sampling is always required. And quality typically improves over time anyway.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:20 pm)

    #42 DonC said:

    #23 statik says “sadly however, I would prefer this over a Volt, lol (some things are not meant to be)”

    That seems weird. You’re always beefing about the Volt’s meager 40 mile range and therefore you prefer a BEV with a longer range. Now you prefer a PHEV with a 10 mile range? I don’t understand the thinking on this one.
    ==========================
    Well it is true a BEV is number one, a ‘non-sedan’ with some a small electric range EV would be my number 2 choice.

    My driving habits sees me staying inside the city limits 28 of 30 days of the month…and carting around the family (and their various periphernalia…and their friends) is a common occurenece for many of those days. I could get by just fine with a Volt, but a cute-ute would be ‘finer’


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:25 pm)

    FWIW, I found this

    Saturn Vue hybrid beats Toyota Prius to hybrid payback – Consumer Reports

    http://www.soultek.com/clean_energy/hybrid_cars/saturn_vue_hybrid_beats_toyota_prius_to_hybrid_payback_consumer_reports.htm


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:29 pm)

    #43 Let’s compare, shall we,

    You can search for recent articles on the Vue, its projected EPA rating is 28/31. It’s still not rated at the EPA site.

    Now you can check this article for a more accurate comparison to similar vehicles:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-572-Auto-Review-Examiner~y2008m10d22-Driven-2009-Saturn-Vue-2-Mode-Hybrid-car-review

    With a 0 to 60 time of 7.5 sec., you can get economy and performance at the same time.
    —————————–

    “BTW, If you think you need a V-6, try a good turbo 4. It’s way more fun.”
    ——-
    Actually, I have a McLaren Pontiac Grand Prix Turbo with a V6 turbo – now that’s way more fun.


  73. 73
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    Feb 21st, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    Saturn Vue hybrid beats Toyota Prius to hybrid payback
    __________________________

    Wrong hybrid. That Vue is the ASSIST type. The Vue that would offer a plug is the FULL type.

    There’s a big difference between the two, especially with respect to price.


  74. 74
    carcus1

     

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    Feb 21st, 2009 (10:41 pm)

    #40 Dave G.,

    “I feel just the opposite. I think GM should cancel the Saturn Vue PHEV. The Saturn Vue Hybrid is fine, but the PHEV version will be more trouble than its worth, and this will tend to give all plug-ins a bad reputation.”
    ___________________________________________________

    Why the plug in vue will outsell the volt:

    It’s speculation at this point (nothing to test drive) but I think your mpg numbers are a little low for the PIvue.
    On google’s recharge it. org tests, the plug in escape was averaging 49 mpg (vs your 39 mpg for the pivue). I’m assuming the vue will be similar.

    Ford’s also claiming a 30 mile all electric range with newer batteries in the plug in escape.
    (Ford Motor planning plug-in hybrids for 2012
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-02-02-ford-plug-in-hybrid_N.htm)
    So maybe the 30 mile electric is possible for the vue with newer batteries as well. But even if it just averages the 50ish mpg, you are getting a no compromises SUV (everybody already loves and wants SUV’s) that’ll do prius mileage and asks no more of you than plugging in at night and unplugging in the morning.
    I just think this has great potential for sales (priced reasonably of course) and even if it takes an extra $3 or $4 grand that won’t be recovered quickly if gas stays cheap, I think its a green feature that many consumers will pay for.
    There’s still many sacrifices that would have to be made for the volt customer (size, towing, acceleration, seating capacity, long hill climbs, it’s not an SUV, etc). Most americans don’t want to make these more cumbersome sacrifices to be green or save gas.

    I would also offer this: Once your gas mileage exceeds the 50 mpgish range, anything above is bragging rights only and contributes little to the average consumer’s monthly budget.


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:22 pm)

    #40 Dave G. wrote:
    Bottom line: For people that want want more passenger or cargo space, GM will hopefully build an EREV version of the Orlando micro-van, which uses the same platform (chassis, brakes, suspension, etc.) as the Volt. People that really need the extra muscle for towing would probably be better off with a regular Vue hybrid.

    I totally agree … When I first heard about the plug-in Vue a couple years ago, I thought it would be a possible candidate for my next vehicle. I think that it is highly unlikely that Saturn will be around for much longer … after all what company or investment group would want to purchase a brand that is losing money? Particularly after reviewing the numbers you “crunched”, it’s pretty clear that the Chevy Orlando would be a much better choice for anyone want to reduce their gas consumption and reduce their long-term costs. Not to mention – it looks like a stylish vehicle …


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    Feb 21st, 2009 (11:29 pm)

    #74 carcus1 wrote:
    I just think this has great potential for sales (priced reasonably of course) and even if it takes an extra $3 or $4 grand that won’t be recovered quickly if gas stays cheap, I think its a green feature that many consumers will pay for.

    Most predictions I’ve heard suggest $70-$80 per barrel within 18 months … which will help green vehicles “look” more attractive. I agree that consumers who can afford it are willing to pay extra for “green features”, whether it makes financial sense or not.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (2:21 am)

    To be true, if volt sets a 120 mpg bar , the SUVs has to jump to 100mpg atleast and Extra large SUVs have to set 70+mpg as target. If GM didnt do it, Toyota or Honda or someone else will do this. future needs only plug-in ones.

    GM has to improve because honda owns the efficent genarator in the world and they will put an electic motor and a battery and will come up with a 200mpg in minutes if they see volt is selling like hot cakes and truth is people wanna buy the best.


  78. 78
    GM-fan

     

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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (4:39 am)

    Did anyone of you still believe GM commitment?

    I think they just hijack the name of “HYBRID” car and pushing US government to bail them out…

    UAW, GM bond holder all know that Obama will bail them out, no one care about the future…..

    Did any of them care why we need electric car? It can save our planet, less gas, clean air…..

    We already created debts which our children cannot handle…Do you want to make your plannet our children cannot live?

    I think it’s totally a joke


  79. 79
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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (4:56 am)

    hi GM-fan #78,

    “…still believe… ”

    _______________________

    All of the auto makers of the world are hurting for sales. I believe their actions speak much louder than their words. It’s now evident we must wait and see who actually shows up with the goods and at what cost.

    It isn’t difficult for car manufacturers to understand what the public wants. It seems a struggle to actually produce it. Why, I’m not sure.

    =D~


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (5:53 am)

    It’s now evident we must wait and see
    ________________________

    NO !

    The bailout comes with an obligation to actually deliver. Commit to something, then produce it.

    GM’s lack of detail in their restructuring plan is reason to be seriously concerned.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (6:31 am)

    hi dave-k

    commitment means ‘you guarantee’ it will be achieve. if they cannot forecast car sales drop. they better find another job


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (7:18 am)

    Dave G @30 says ;The $7500 tax credit is only for a battery with 16kWh or more of storage. The Volt’s 16kWh battery is very big and weighs 400 pounds. Where do they fit a battery that large in the Vue PHEV?

    Are you sure this $7500 credit for the Vue is right?
    __________________________________________________

    Nope, I based that on the reported 30 mile range. If it’s only 8-10 miles then I think we are looking at a battery in the 5 – 6 kWh area, or ~$2,900 to ~$3,300 in tax credits.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (7:37 am)

    hi 80 & 81,

    It looks like the bail out process is out of our hands. GM will get several loans to assist in reaching their goal of E-REV release. President Obama wants GM’s E-REV’s on the road yesterday. We now need to wait and see.

    PS: no need to attack the messenger

    =D~


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (7:40 am)

    #79

    “It isn’t difficult for car manufacturers to understand what the public wants. It seems a struggle to actually produce it. Why, I’m not sure”

    This is the key question, Please refresh your memory, how many times we heard GM commit to something, then sudden bad news come up and they change the plan again. If it only happen once, it may be forgiveable. But, how many times, they fail to deliver in these years.(and Mangement still get a job)…So, what’s the point of commit anything to the public?? They do not have detail in restructure plan because they cannot do any forcast and insight for car market, they are market follower, not maker…If they cannot do it, let some other player to replace them, that’s the rule of capitalism, which works for hundreds of years…….

    Any one of you still believe GM have future, please help to give me one reason? Please give me reason why we need to bail them out?
    Please also tell me why taxpayers need to provide funding, while UAW, GM Bonds holder do not make major change of their benefits….

    We must admit Volt is not a unique product, Why they still need priced 40K? Follow the recent economic trend, I wonder how many people can still afford it? (May be UAW, GM management can)

    So, after the volt on sale, will the “popularity” surprise GM again? then they need another 30B bailout….??? and stop the Volt because they can’t sell?


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (8:16 am)

    hi GM-fan #84,

    It’s not going to help anything by harboring bitterness. We have nearly 50,000 people here who would like to test drive a Volt this week. GM has assured us via press release that although several programs are being cut due to less than ideal conditions, the Volt remains on pace for an autumn 2010 delivery.

    If GM could assure me of price and color, I would lay down a 25% deposit. I want E-REV and I want American. The test drive is going to sell a lot of Volt cars.

    =D~


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (9:17 am)

    We now need to wait and see.
    ____________________________

    GM didn’t specify any timeline or quantity… which is probably why there are no consequences indicated for not fulfiling the plan.

    Are you really going to just wait until 12/31/2011 to see if they deliver 1 Volt?

    Even in the past they specified wanting 10,000 the first year. Now even that has vanished.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (10:02 am)

    #75 David L Says: Particularly after reviewing the numbers you “crunched”, it’s pretty clear that the Chevy Orlando would be a much better choice for anyone want to reduce their gas consumption and reduce their long-term costs.
    ————————————————————————————–
    When plug-ins first hit the market, most people will just see the plug as the differentiating factor. But quickly after that, people will realize that it’s the miles of electric range or boost that matters. A plug-in with a small amount range/boost will be more hassle than its worth.

    For this reason, I don’t believe PHEVs like the Saturn Vue will be popular. Full Hybrids (without plugs) and EREVs will be the popular choices.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (10:10 am)

    #74 carcus1 Says: On google’s recharge it. org tests, the plug in escape was averaging 49 mpg (vs your 39 mpg for the pivue). I’m assuming the vue will be similar.
    ————————————————————————————–
    MPG numbers for PHEVs are easy to manipulate.

    A more realistic model is that the Saturn Vue Plug-In will get around 120 MPG for the first 10 miles, and then around 30 MPG after that. This means that the actual amount of gas you use depends greatly on how many miles you drive on various days. That’s why I attempted to create what I believe is a fairly typical yearly driving pattern. Without a driving pattern, it’s impossible to calculate the amount of fuel used by various plug-ins.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (10:25 am)

    A plug-in with a small amount range/boost will be more hassle than its worth.
    _______________________________

    How do you figure? You plug in every night anyway.

    Remember, the FULL hybrid will have a cost advantage from high volume production, since the battery/plug is just an upgrade option.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (12:39 pm)

    #88 Dave G.
    “That’s why I attempted to create what I believe is a fairly typical yearly driving pattern.”
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    Did you happen to read the methodology on Google’s tests?

    http://www.google.org/recharge/experiment/method.html


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    @ BillR1 #72

    “It’s still not rated at the EPA site.”

    Yes, the 2009 Saturn Vue hybrid combined fuel economy rating is listed on the EPA fuel economy web site. It’s 28 mpg.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm

    “With a 0 to 60 time of 7.5 sec., you can get economy and performance at the same time.”

    28 mpg is not economy, when a similar sized sized vehicle gets 46 mpg. I agree that such good performance in a grocery getter is critical when racing to the laundromat and needing to cut off grammar school children trying to cross the street to get to school.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (12:48 pm)

    Why am I down on the Saturn Vue hybrid? I’m not. I think it’s been a wonderful baby step by GM and huge improvement over garbagy full size SUVs that get 11 mpg to perform the exact same functions as the Saturn Vue hybrid for 95% of the purchasers. I’m just very, very scared that’s it’s much too little, much too late.

    Tough love. Step it up, GM. Get that Volt out there, NOW.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (2:28 pm)

    Plug in SRX now that the new caddy is a remade Vue


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (2:35 pm)

    #90 carcus1 Says: Did you happen to read the methodology on Google’s tests?
    ————————————————————————————–
    If I’m reading this correctly, the Google driving model counts personal trips, not daily miles. In other words, it looks like they assume you will start recharging every time you return from a trip.

    As plug-ins catch on, day-time charging will wreak havoc on our electrical grid. Plug-in experts agree that most people should only consider charging at night, so that’s what my typical driving model assumes. The Volt has a built-in charging timer for this very reason.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    #89 john1701a Says: How do you figure? You plug in every night anyway.
    ————————————————————————————–
    No. If you have a regular (non-plug-in) full hybrid, then you are not plugging in every night. That’s the point. It would be better to skip the plug-in option on a full hybrid if it doesn’t offer much range, since plugging in would not be worth the hassle. Is this clear?


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (3:49 pm)

    You still haven’t explained what “hassle” and “worth” actually mean.

    The act of plugging in my cell-phone every night only takes a moment, yet the monthly $$$ benefit is large. Via bluetooth, all my wireless handsets automatically activate, using the cell-network as if I was paying for a landline. The only catch is keeping the battery topped off.

    This is a plug-in society anyway. Look at how many routinely maintain the battery on their MP3 player too. It’s no big deal. Geez!

    At the rate of which laptops & netbooks are becoming popular… yet another routine recharge device… you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone that spending 15 more seconds in the garage is a “hassle”.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (4:59 pm)

    Even when its -20 degrees where I live… i dont think its a hassle plugging in.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (5:06 pm)

    Saturn Vue
    Length = 180;1
    Width = 72.8
    Height = 67
    Wheelbase = 106.6
    Headroom = 40.2

    Toyota Prius
    Length = 175
    Width = 67.9
    Height = 58.7
    Wheelbase = 106.3
    Headroom = 39.1

    The wheelbase is close.. but the Vue is a bigger car. Its a crossover, not a micro-car like the prius. I still wouldnt compare them. Different functions in my mind.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (10:32 pm)

    #97 kdawg Says: Even when its -20 degrees where I live… i dont think its a hassle plugging in.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Would you consider yourself typical in this regard?


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (10:50 pm)

    #96 john1701a Says: You still haven’t explained what “hassle” and “worth” actually mean.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes I have, but I’ll try one last time.

    Hassle:
    Let’s say it takes around 30 seconds to plug in your car and deal with the cord, and another 30 seconds to unplug and put the cord out of the way. Going to the gas station takes around 10 minutes.
    • With a regular gas engine car or non-plug-in hybrid, I have to go the gas station around once a week, so thats around 10 minutes per week
    • With a PHEV, I have still to go the gas station around once a week, and plug/unplug once a day, so that’s around 17 minutes per week.
    • With an EREV, I rarely go to the gas station, but I have to plug/unplug once a day, so that 7 minutes per week.
    For someone who is really into conserving gasoline, this probably seems like it doesn’t matter. But for the average Joe, it matters a lot! Remember that, in order to make a difference, a lot of average Joes have to buy plug-ins.

    Worth:
    If you have a PHEV with an anemic 10-mile range, and you only plug-in at night, you don’t really save a lot of gas. I’ve shown this numerous times in various charts.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (11:40 pm)

    #100 Dave G,
    “If you have a PHEV with an anemic 10-mile range, and you only plug-in at night, you don’t really save a lot of gas. I’ve shown this numerous times in various charts.”
    ____________________________________________________

    Could you please stop spreading misinformation based on your simple chart? You don’t understand what you’re talking about. Your “anemic 10 mile range” is referencing “charge-depleting mode” only.

    PHEVs can operate in at least 4 modes.
    1. Charge-depleting mode
    2. Blended mode
    3. Charge-sustaining mode
    4. Mixed mode
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_hybrid

    Your chart can’t even come close to replicating how the software is going to manage a plug in hybrid utilizing all these modes.


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    Feb 22nd, 2009 (11:58 pm)

    #101 add,

    Reference Wikipedia Plug in hybrid page, mixed mode example with a PHEV-20 prius doing a 30 mile trip.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_hybrid

    Assuming a 50 mpg as a normal hybrid you can see that utilizing the example wiki presents the car would average 300 mpg on the 30 mile trip. Using Dave G’s oversimplified method (20 mile all electric then back to 50 mpg after that) the car gets 150 mpg for the trip. This calculation would be off by a factor of 2.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (12:14 am)

    #101 add, add,

    At least 1 more mode, or variation that I can think of (haven’t seen it described but I bet somebody’s already working on it) would be the GPS info mode. The computer could know your planned trip length, next recharge, elevation changes, wind, temperature, etc… . The computer would then plan how it was going to use the battery reserves/hybrid modes for the given trip to maximize fuel economy.

    My guess is that this technology won’t be used to provide higher and higher mpg. Instead, there will be a threshold (maybe somewhere around 50 mpg) that once crossed, the goal will be increased performance (or bigger cars) rather than increased fuel economy.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (9:16 am)

    Using a typical yearly driving pattern of:
    ______________________________

    You’ve been pushing that theoretical model for a half year now. Too bad it’s still just a crude estimate. I guess logging your own driving now, making a collection of real-world data for use later, is too much of a hassle.

    I’ve been collecting for 8.5 years. That’s 172,837 miles of real-world data.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (11:28 am)

    Worth comes from each person contributing. They do whatever they can to help out. Some simply cannot afford that much battery-capacity, but still want to do their part.

    In other words, don’t draw a conclusion before people have even have a chance to make their decision. That’s the same thing GM did with EV1, ending production before most consumers had an opportunity to choose.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (11:43 am)

    #100 Dave G,
    “If you have a PHEV with an anemic 10-mile range, and you only plug-in at night, you don’t really save a lot of gas. I’ve shown this numerous times in various charts.”

    If your total daily commute is 10 miles, a PHEV with a 10 mile range saves you 100% of the gas you would use in a full gasser.

    Let’s hear from people who already own and use plug in electric vehicles and their actual results rather than your tottering speculative conclusions based on your arbitrary assumptions.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    anemic 10-mile range
    _________________________

    That’s even worse than accleration arguments, where it’s supposedly never enough.

    Whatever. People don’t fall for that nonsense anymore. They take the test drives, get comments from others, consider their needs, then buy.

    Things like a short commute change the “anemic” range claim to “no brainer” very easily.


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    Feb 23rd, 2009 (9:21 pm)

    Here’s the monthly averages for the 5 years of data collected from my 2004 Prius:

    MON …. MPG …. GALLONS …. MILES
    ———————————————–
    Jan …. 43.2 …. 239.639 …. 10,347
    Feb …. 43.6 …. 166.645 …. 7,259
    Mar …. 46.3 …. 205.394 …. 9,501
    Apr …. 47.1 …. 222.576 …. 10,485
    May …. 50.6 …. 174.843 …. 8,850
    Jun …. 52.2 …. 165.610 …. 8,651
    Jul …. 51.6 …. 183.540 …. 9,471
    Aug …. 51.2 …. 179.449 …. 9,179
    Sep …. 50.7 …. 167.281 …. 8,481
    Oct …. 48.2 …. 198.210 …. 9,544
    Nov …. 47.1 …. 213.463 …. 10,059
    Dec …. 44.4 …. 226.285 …. 10,056

    Notice how trends like distance are not reflected in your estimates, since they don’t taken into account the influence season has on travel itself. You’d think I’d drive more during the nice weather months. Turns out, the real-world situation is quite the opposite… except February, which for some odd reason is unique.