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Is the Saturn Vue Green Line a Turning Point for Hybrids?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,072
edited April 18 in Saturn
Seems like the Vue Green Line might turn out to be the most "non-hybrid" hybrid so far. It's going to be the least expensive hybrid on the market, the looks don't scream "hybrid", and the way they describe the operation of the hybrid system, with the vehicle not really traveling any distance on electric only, is going to make it seem "more normal" as well.

I guess that's a long way of saying it's more like the mainstream of vehicles out there and less like a technological toy.

I still think there are even more improvements and advances in technology out there that are going to get us even more gains in fuel economy, but maybe this Vue Green Line is the point where the technology turns the corner and starts to really take off?

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    It is going to be the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market, but not the cheapest hybrid.

    The Ford Escape does not scream "hybrid" either.

    The technology in the Saturn Vue is way less amazing than the Toyota HSD system, is it not?

    What is it specifically about this new technology (which is in fact less effective than others before it) which makes you think it's going to let the technology "take off?"

    These items in particular are vexing to me:

    "And there’s no bar chart in a display on the dashboard to show a driver how his or her driving is affecting fuel economy, the way there is inside Ford’s Escape.

    Indeed, because the Vue Green Line is based on an aging Vue SUV, with its old electronics communications “bus,” drivers of the Green Line don’t even have an onboard computer telling them the fuel mileage they’re getting."

    So it not only is very MILDLY hybrid, it also does not give the driver the feedback which is required to take full advantage of the technology........

    Very perplexing.......... :mad:
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "Indeed, because the Vue Green Line is based on an aging Vue SUV, with its old electronics communications “bus,” drivers of the Green Line don’t even have an onboard computer telling them the fuel mileage they’re getting."

    Well, that makes no sense, MPG calculation has been possible for many years, and does not require the newer computer bus design. It does require a trip computer, but MPG is simply a matter of recording the fuel used and the miles driven. Both are available using old style "non bus" technology.
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101

    "And there’s no bar chart in a display on the dashboard to show a driver how his or her driving is affecting fuel economy, the way there is inside Ford’s Escape.


    There's no bar chart, but it does report your MPG on the trip computer, like most other cars.

    And it does have a charge/assist meter like Honda's hybrids.

    Personally, I dig the approach. It gives you all the benefits of a hybrid with a lower cost of entry. It's cars like these that will get hybrids moving en masse.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    Personally, I dig the approach. It gives you all the benefits of a hybrid with a lower cost of entry. It's cars like these that will get hybrids moving en masse.

    I agree. It sounds like larsb is unhappy that hybrids will be offered to the little people. Something that Toyota and to a lessor degree Honda have not done. Hybrids for the masses not just the wealthy. What a novel idea. Leave it to GM to pull it off.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > It gives you all the benefits of a hybrid

    No smog-related emission reduction proves that attempt to generalize false.

    What about electric drive and electric A/C? A "full" hybrid can offer far more than an "assist", simply by the amount of electricity available. They differ significantly, revealing that "all" comment to be extremely misleading.

    JOHN
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101

    What about electric drive and electric A/C? A "full" hybrid can offer far more than an "assist", simply by the amount of electricity available. They differ significantly, revealing that "all" comment to be extremely misleading.


    The Vue has electric A/C.

    Also, the Ecotec 4 cylinder (to be used in the Vue) is available in PZEV form in other vehicles. So it's entirely possible that the Vue may be PZEV as well. Which would mean Ford and GM would have PZEV hybrid SUVs and Toyota... would have none.

    Pretty cool, no?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The Vue has electric A/C.

    Point missed entirely.

    Again, how much electricity for that A/C will actually be available? With such a small battery-pack and a system that only passively charges it, the A/C will be able to run just a short time and at low power before the engine has to start running again.

    JOHN
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101

    Again, how much electricity for that A/C will actually be available? With such a small battery-pack and a system that only passively charges it, the A/C will be able to run just a short time and at low power before the engine has to start running again.


    John, given that we both own Priuses, even the battery pack there isn't enough to power the A/C for that long. I'm not sure how hot it gets where you are, but around here I can take the pack to a few bars while trying to get through a traffic light.

    So the point is entirely valid.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > So the point is entirely valid.

    Your "point" is pointless.

    The system in Vue is designed with a smaller (both in size and energy density) battery-pack, so you don't have to pay as much. Being smaller means you get less. They are *NOT* the same.

    Protraying this system as if it is the same as the competition is not constructive. They don't have the same components and they don't operate the same way. The "full" hybrids create and consume far more electricity.

    JOHN
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    The "full" hybrids create and consume far more electricity

    And big batteries cost a lot more. GM is trying to build a hybrid for the average buyer. Toyota has failed at building a hybrid the middle class citizen can afford. Toyota is only interested in selling enough hybrids to satisfy the CAFE police. They brag about their hybrid demographic being $85k per year. If GM can build a hybrid that a family in the Median income bracket of $43k can afford, more power to them. As I see it many of the pro hybrid community are actually anti-hybrid if it does not appeal to them. Face it not everyone believes Toyota has the best hybrid system. HSD is way too complex and problematic for the mainstream buyer.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Toyota has failed at building a hybrid the middle class citizen can afford.

    Since Prius is priced at the exact average price consumers currently pay for a vehicle, your claim has little merit.

    No further invalidate your claim, just read Toyota's announcements about their upgrade on the way. It reduces the price.

    .
    > As I see it many of the pro hybrid community are actually anti-hybrid...

    Failing to see that all hybrids are the *NOT* same is a big problem. It's how greenwashing begins.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    As for the "turning point" topic, that question is impossible to answer... since it is clearly not the only factor.

    It would be just as easy to replace "Vue Green Line" with "$3.00 per gallon gas" instead. And that has already proven to be a contributor toward change.

    JOHN
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    Since Prius is priced at the exact average price consumers currently pay for a vehicle, your claim has little merit.

    Well your claim is not true at all. The top 14 selling cars are all less expensive in their average trim than the cheapest Prius. Which a PKG one in CA is right at $25k before TTL. Unless you have some data that is not available to the public the Prius is a car for the upper middle class as is the TCH. No entry level Toyota hybrids now or in the future plans.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says: "It sounds like larsb is unhappy that hybrids will be offered to the little people."

    Heck NO !! ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE !! I am HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY that a hybrid SUV will be available at around $23,000. If they sell 200,000 of them the first year, that will be music to my ears !!!

    But COME ON GM: not giving the display a real-time MPG meter? Not giving drivers a current tank MPG display? How is that going to help them use the technology in the best and smartest way, which is to minimize fuel usage?

    Should that not be the goal of any hybrid which is meant to increase MPG - to minimize fuel usage by providing the tools for the driver to make best use of the available technology?

    So now Vue Hybrid drivers will just be "driving blind" in regard to learning how to best utilize the hybrid system while the vehicle is moving. They won't be able to learn the "speed sweet spots" and SEE WITH THEIR OWN EYES that they are learning how to drive the car in the best way for max MPG. They'll have to just WAIT TILL THE FILLUP and calculate the MPG.

    What this does in my eyes is SET BACK the hybrid technology movement. Sure, the plus is that maybe more people will have the vehicles on the road, but you can BET that their will be a TON of owners who are CRYING about the gas mileage, and that could be REDUCED if GM had just given the car's computer the t proper tools !!!

    GGGGGRRRRRRRR !!!!!! :mad:
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    A couple of years ago, the average price of a new car in the USA was $28K.

    Has that gone DOWN in the last two years Gary? Actually, as of last November it was $27,958. That is less than I paid for my brand new 2007 TCH.

    "Average Cost of a New Car Reached Four Year High Last Quarter

    Before you buy it, you'd better TACH-TOC-IT: BEFORE you fall in love, MAKE SURE you KNOW the Total Ownership and Operating Costs for your choice of car, suv or truck.

    Washington DC November 17, 2005; The AIADA newsletter reported that the average cost of a new car during the third quarter was the highest in four years, reports USA Today.

    The study was done by the Comerica Auto Affordability Index, who reported the average price to be $27,958, up 6 percent from last year.

    Comerica says the main reasons for the high prices are increased financing costs and because “consumers have used incentives to upgrade their vehicle choices.” Comerica’s chief economist Dana Johnson also noted that car buyers have purchased more expensive cars lately.

    "It’s certainly not surprising that financing costs have gone up," Johnson said. "What surprised me is that the average amount spent per car rose quite significantly in the third quarter."

    from this page:

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2005/11/17/148405.html
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    One thing at a time. First your complaint that the VUE is lacking all the mileage doodads that some of the other hybrids offer. That is what brings the price up so high. Keep it simple and cheap for the low end buyers. Hybrids will never become mainstream the way Toyota and Honda are pricing them. Especially Toyota.

    Now for the average car sold. Here is a list of the top 14 sedans sold in the USA this year through June. It accounts for 1.749 million cars, over half the cars sold. You look through those and tell me the average is $28k. I call NO WAY. a big share of them are under $20k. By all I have read the top selling Camry sells 80% 4C models. They start at $18k and top out about $24k. The number two selling Corolla fully loaded top of the line has a TMV of $18,552. You can get into a base Corolla for $14k.

    With a Median USA family income at $43k, the Hybrids are over their means. That is not saying they would not go deep in debt to get one. People in this country have proven they are willing to get over extended to have what they want NOW.

    Toyota Camry total
    Toyota Corolla total
    Honda Accord total
    Chevrolet Impala
    Chevrolet Cobalt
    Honda Civic total
    Ford Taurus total
    Pontiac G6
    Ford Focus total
    Chevrolet Malibu '04
    Nissan Altima
    Ford Fusion
    Dodge Caliber
    Hyundai Sonata

    The Prius has dropped in sales from number 17 this time last year to number 22. I guess the newness has worn off. Or all the HOV stickers are gone in CA.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    The study was done by the Comerica Auto Affordability Index, who reported the average price to be $27,958, up 6 percent from last year.

    If they include financing, TTL etc. I would say that is correct. With that formula the Prius will be over $40k. A loaded Prius including TTL is about $35k in CA. With Credit Union financing at about 7.5% for 5 years you will have payments of $700 per month and the total cost will be $42k. Their figure of $27,958 would be for a car with a sales price of $21,000. Add $2000 for TTL and $4700 finance charge and you just about hit that average figure.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Regardless of what they include in the price, the average new car price in the USA has been ABOUT or AROUND $28,000 for the last two years.

    I have a cubemate who has owned two Priuses and neither of them have been more than that at sticker.

    Prius owners - chime in here any time now........Did you pay more than $28000 for your car?

    I know I am on my second hybrid and my average price paid is $23,041.50.

    That's about $5K less than the USA average. That puts hybrids in the affordable range for MANY MANY Americans.

    The fact that the Hybrid Vue is going to sticker out at around $23,000 is good news. But it's not the first low cost hybrid ever sold in the USA. It DOES hold the crown as the least expensive hybrid SUV in the USA. That's good for everybody.

    It's just sad that GM left out $500 worth of fuel usage computer displays.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    That's about $5K less than the USA average.

    Hold on nice try. Your $23k is above the National average. Did you include average finance & TTL charges to that? Your report you used included finance and all charges associated with buying the car. By your own study your new TCH would be about $35k with TTL & finance charges. So you are a quite a bit over the National average with your new car. You really cannot count a used car as a new one for the purposes of average cost of a new car. Why is it so hard to see that Toyota is only interested in selling hybrids to you fat cats? When they started out they were an even $20k. I came so close to buying one. It had 8 year 100k mile bumper to bumper warranty. All service was included. That was a good deal. That was the last good deal available on a hybrid from Toyota.

    Now you bad mouth GM for trying to cut costs and sell a hybrid for the same price as a CRV or RAV4. Would you rather they added all the mileage crap, and sold them at $30k plus like the Escape Hybrid?
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101

    Protraying this system as if it is the same as the competition is not constructive. They don't have the same components and they don't operate the same way. The "full" hybrids create and consume far more electricity.


    It's not the same, but the Prius has the same drawbacks. The A/C just consumes too much power. Why do you think the Camry has an 'eco' button that cuts the A/C power back? Toyota realized this a while ago.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Hold on Gary - you must be MISREADING the numbers.

    The average price of a new car, per the Comerica study, is right around $27,900.

    My TCH sticker price which is what I paid was $26,759.

    So the TCH is BELOW the national USA average. Get that? Got that? Good !!!!

    My HCH was indeed "used" but it had only 4822 miles on it and had been sold as NEW only THREE MONTHS EARLIER. So that is as close to a NEW car as you can get !!! I paid about $1800 less thana new one.

    So even if it had been NEW at $21,500, then my two hybrids averaged

    $24,129

    That is $3770 below the national average. Get that? Got that? Good !!!

    I would rather have GM sell the Vue at $23,500 and have the real-time mileage gauge and the tank computer for helping the drivers use the technology to the best advantage. That's all I said. It would not have cost them much at all to add that feature.
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101

    The average price of a new car, per the Comerica study, is right around $27,900.


    The average price is not what typical buyer spends... I can average a bunch of Audis and a Cobalt together and skew the numbers upwards, but more cobalts are going to be sold than Audis.

    The typical price that a new buyer spends on a car is in the low 20s last I read.

    Also the Vue does have a real time mileage gauge in the trip computer, and it also has a battery meter, and all the gadgets. It doesn't have touchscreen, which at least in my Prius, is an ergonomic disaster.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Actually, jonnycat26, the Vue DOES NOT HAVE that mileage gauge, like I said earlier. Here is from a review"

    Measuring fuel savings
    Perhaps a more niggling issue for buyers of the Vue Green Line is the fact this SUV doesn't calculate the kind of mileage it's getting. Because the Vue's electronics are old, they do not gather data that would tell a driver if he or she got 25 mpg or 27 mpg or 30 mpg on a trip, according to Larry Nitz, executive director of GM's global hybrid powertrains.

    An aftermarket chip or sensor that could tap the vehicle's "communications bus," as Nitz put it, wouldn't get any mileage info, either. This leaves a busy driver to trust that she is getting the fuel savings promised.

    Note there is a green "Eco" light that comes on in the dashboard to tell a driver if she is, at that moment, getting better than the official fuel economy rating. But this light operates by reacting to such things as when a driver is coasting and letting up on the gas pedal. It is not tied to any real-time calculating.

    The solution for buyers is to manually calculate their miles-per-gallon - a cumbersome and disappointing development in this day when even many non-hybrid cars have electronics that automatically calculate and report fuel mileage.


    From this page:

    http://www.roadandtravel.com/roadtests/reviews/2006roadtests/newcarreviews/satur- nvuegreenline3.htm

    So that is what I'm complaining about. It's a step backward....as a two-time hybrid owner, I do know how valuable REAL-TIME MPG DATA is to achieving the absolute best MPG from a vehicle.

    This is a SAD development.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    jonnycat26 said: "The typical price that a new buyer spends on a car is in the low 20s last I read. "

    That's incorrect. I have kept track of this since July 2004, and every news story or study I can find since that time puts the "average price of a new car in the USA" to around the high $27,000s.

    If you can find something that shows different data, please post it - I'd like to see it. Thanks.
  • jonnycat26jonnycat26 Posts: 101


    So that is what I'm complaining about. It's a step backward....as a two-time hybrid owner, I do know how valuable REAL-TIME MPG DATA is to achieving the absolute best MPG from a vehicle.


    And I'm telling you, I've been in a vue (non hybrid obviously) and there is a trip computer that calculates your MPG. It isn't the same as the Prius, but the functionality is there!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    So the TCH is BELOW the national USA average. Get that? Got that? Good !!!!

    You need to read your own article. You left out a big part. You are only looking at the window sticker price. It is what it costs you including TTL AND financing charges. Your $27k TCH would come out around $35k with all those added costs. $20k -$21k MSRP is more the average selling price not the Price to own as your article reads. You are trying to have it both ways. That does not work.

    Comerica says the main reasons for the high prices are increased financing costs and because “consumers have used incentives to upgrade their vehicle choices.”

    Today a loaded TCH or Prius will have a sticker price of $31k and change. When you include TTL & financing it will be North of $40k. That is not your average buyer. Toyota Hybrids are for fat cats and those that like being in debt up to their EYEBALLS. The VUE hybrid is aimed at or just slightly above your average buyer.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    The average price of a car includes all charges including finance charges.

    resulting in the worst reading for affordability in six years. Including finance charges, the total cost of buying an average-priced light vehicle was $29,200 in the fourth quarter, up 11 percent from a year ago.

    "Affordability has deteriorated over the past year because consumers are buying more expensive cars, financing a larger portion of those purchases, and paying higher interest rates on car loans," according to Dana Johnson, chief economist at Comerica Bank.


    Average car prices

    Hybrids may be the reason for higher priced cars?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Who said you need a "loaded" TCH or Prius? They are still available with ALL the hybrid technology for $26K for the TCH and for $22K for the Prius.....before TTL of course.....but nonetheless, that does not price them out of middle income buyers range !!

    And Jonnycat, I don't know or care about the non-hybrid Vue - we are talking about the HYBRID VUE and it does NOT contain those basic hybrid instruments which all hybrids before it have utilized.....I think that is a step backward.....
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary said: "Toyota Hybrids are for fat cats"

    Gary, do what I did. Go to the "Toyota Prius - prices paid and buying experience" and review the prices which people have paid.

    Almost none of them are as high as $28K, and most are in the $25K to $26K range.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,167
    So you cannot see in your report from Comerica that the average price of a car includes financing, taxes and license? You are so dead wrong on this average price car. Even if there was such a thing as a $22k Prius it would be close to $30k with all the cost to own charges.

    When was the last time you saw a $22k Prius for sale on a lot?
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