LA show: GM goes hybrid
30 November 2006

GM isn't talking about much else other than new hybrids at the LA motor show. And a lot of what the company revealed could end up coming to Europe.

The big news is the launch of two new Saturn hybrids, the Aura Green Line - GM's first hybrid saloon - and a car that shares a lot of mechanicals with the Vauxhall Vectra. The is also a hybrid version of the Vue - the US version of the forthcoming Vauxhall Antara SUV. And GM insiders are not ruling out Opel and Vauxhall hybrids 'if the European market demands it.'

The petrol-electric Aura promises up to 25 per cent savings on fuel economy when it goes on sale in the US next March. It mates an electric motor to the standard 2.4-litre 164bhp petrol unit.

Predictably, environmental savings are even bigger on the Vue 4x4. Its 3.2 V6 shows a 45 per cent improvement in economy when matched to an electric motor. It hits the US market in early 2008 and could come to Europe around the same time.

GM also revealed plans for a so called 'plug-in' hybrid system for the Saturn Vue. Essentially you can also charge a battery from the mains, as well as just generating power from brakes and the petrol engine. It allows you to travel further and faster solely on electric power.

GM also revelaed one hybrid that certainly won't be crossing the Atlantic. The huge Yukon SUV is now available in petrol electric form. It promises a 25 per cent improvement in emissions and fuel consumption when two electric motors assist the V8.

Chas Hallett

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