Last post on Jan 12, 2009 at 3:47 PM
You are in the Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Saturn VUE, Hybrid Cars, Fuel Efficiency (MPG), SUV
#68 of 84 Re: Breakeven Point.... [kipk]
Nov 12, 2008 (7:43 am)
Typo on my part -
Back in December of 2006 Hybrid Vue cost $2250 MORE that the Regular view. The numbers in my situation follow my logic.
One should run the numbers prior to making a decision. If the Hybrid is substantially more expensive and federal tax credits are considerably less or zero - those are factors to consider in your purchase. Back in 2006 the difference was small. Seems for the 2008 models that gap has widened.
The issue Saturn had with was with a potentially faulty wiring harness. The fix was not intended to impact your hybrid operation one way or the other UNLESS your vehicle is one that has the wiring / alternator issue. To over-simplify, the wiring harness can intermittently mis-communicate with the alternator. The alternator says "I don't know what you're trying to tell me to do, so I won't do anything". That includes charging the batteries. The fix is a more robust harness to alternator interaction via the replacement harness. Again, I am over-simplifying, but hopefully now you get the gist.
I had it replaced in March of 2007. I did not have any problems before or after the installation.
#69 of 84 Re: Breakeven Point.... [hybridvue]
Nov 12, 2008 (10:30 am)
Saturn let us drive off the lot after we purchased the GreenLine in 2007, when they knew there were problems with the harnesses. Ours went bad in local driving, we had it towed from our house to the dealer. Nice to know they were willing to risk our lives to save themselves the cost of the replacement. Saturn later issued a recall for the harnesses. I was one of the people who filed complaints with the NTSB.
I have not had problems since the electrical harness was replaced. Knock on wood.
I will be taking my 2007 GreenLine in for routine service in December. At that time I will have have the battery examined (batteries were recalled due to voltage imbalance problems about 6 months ago?) when I take it in. The charge/assist seems to be fine at the present.
Have not heard anything about the 2008s, hence my comments about not recommending one until word was out on correction of those problems (harness and battery).
#70 of 84 Is this correct?
Nov 13, 2008 (3:43 am)
Are these correct statements?
The "electric" portion of the GL is to allow the gas engine to shut off for a predetermined time at stop signs, red lights and so forth, and the "battery" keeps the AC radio and other accessories operating.
Forward or rearward propulsion of the car is dependent on the gas engine, and the electric motor is never the only source of propulsion..
The purpose of the "electric" motor is to help the gas engine during acceleration , and help in re charging the "battery" while braking.
Are those accurate statements? If not, please explain.
#71 of 84 Re: Is this correct? [kipk]
Nov 13, 2008 (6:42 am)
Yes those statements are accurate.
The Saturn Vue Hybrid models 2007 and 2008 are based upon the BAS system - for belt alternator starter.
Basically, BAS is a big motor-generator in place of the vehicle's normal alternator. The big motor can deliver 6.7 horsepower at speed, and 48 pounds-feet of torque the moment it begins to turn, according to Saturn. That's enough to run the gasoline engine by turning the serpentine belt — "fan belt" to old-timers — on the front of the engine.
The Green Line's belt is wider and beefier than normal to handle the extra strain.
Other hybrids link their gasoline and electric powerplants through the transmissions. Those vehicles use sophisticated computer programs and complicated transmissions to blend the gasoline and electric power outputs for smooth operation.
Because the Vue Green Line's gasoline engine is always doing the driving — even when it's being spun by the BAS system — the transmission and powertrain controller can be simpler and cheaper.
The Green Line's gasoline engine often shuts off when the vehicle is stopped longer than a moment, such as at a red light. No need to burn fuel when you're not going anywhere. The Saturn Hybrid can not drive soley on electric. It always needs gasoline to propel the car. The electric is used to assist the car.
The moment you take your foot off the brake, the robust starter-generator turns the belt, which turns the gasoline engine and drives the vehicle for a second or two until the engine's fuel supply is restored and the engine is up to speed.
For my 2007 Saturn Vue Hybrid - the transition at stop lights from the engine running to off to running again is seemless. As for coasting and braking - this charges up the Hybrid battery. Also, when starting out - acceleration will also charge the battery.
Hope that clears up the setup for the Saturn Hybrid Vue. By the way, I just notched another 34+mpg tank. Not bad for November.
#72 of 84 Re: Is this correct? [hybridvue]
Nov 13, 2008 (12:27 pm)
One funny story. I take our vehicles to the local gas station a block from work for routine stuff like oil changes and inspections. I have taken our automobiles there for 10 years.
When I took my GreenLine in to the station for an oil change they couldn't figure out how it worked because it (engine, BAS, and battery) didn't look like a Toyota Prius or Ford Escape. The GreenLine would't move on the electric motor. They wanted to know why the gas engine kept coming on. Talk about confused mechanics. They had never even heard of a mild hybrid.
I ended up giving a 30 minute course, which included a Q&A session on the BAS system.
It was such a low cost alternative to a 2 stage hybrid when I purchased it in 2007. Better performace than a typical 4 cylinder, with better gas mileage. I sometimes wonder what the future of the BAS concept would have been if Saturn hadn't alienated so many customers following the electrical harness and battery issues.
#73 of 84 Re: Is this correct? [chmsomm]
Nov 14, 2008 (9:35 am)
That is a good story.
You are absolutely accurate - it is/was a low cost alternative to a 2 stage hybrid back in 2007. With the marginal extra cost over the regular model and improved mpg's - those of us who weathered the recalls, learned to drive it to the fullest, made out very well.
As with the EV some good ideas just never reach their full potential. In the mean time, may you have many more happy miles with your Hybrid Vue. (Mine will pass 60,000 miles on Monday and turn two years old next Month.
Nov 20, 2008 (3:22 pm)
Great messages recently on this board. Glad everyone has some interesting stories to tell. Our GL has treated us well and we're very happy owners. I'd like to clear up one thing about the BAS operation discussed earlier--it does NOT run the A/C off of the hybrid battery. While in auto-stop mode, the battery operates accessories like the radio, the HVAC blower, lights, etc, including the auxiliary transmission pump and coolant pump in the hybrid electronics system. The A/C compressor is a traditional, belt-driven system that will come to a stop if "eco" mode is selected. Therefore, the air coming from the system will begin to become less cool as you sit in auto-stop mode. I find that it doesn't ever become "warm" and the eco mode is sufficient. However, we live in IN and don't experience horribly hot weather.
Kip, I admire your efforts in researching cars prior to purchase. That seems to be a lost art anymore, and I feel it's important. In our case, we drive mostly in rural and town situations and only occasionally on the highway. Our total MPG since new, including ALL tanks, is 28.6 mpg. We have seen a low of 24.5 and a high of 34.9, which allowed a 539 mile tank range. This is within the old-method EPA estimates of 27 city / 32 highway, and we're very pleased with this mileage. I should also point out that my wife primarily drives the car, and may be a bit less careful about MPG than I am. She LOVES the car. We have roughly 32,000 miles on it and have had the battery and harness updates done. The car did experience loss of hybrid activity prior to the recall, but the car performed fine (just no assist). Our dealer kindly gave us a rental in spite of its ability to run normally. We have always been pleased with Saturn service. This is our second Saturn.
I should also note that our GL was rear-ended recently and came away amazingly well. The other car was totalled, but the VUE only needed a new rear bumper cover, a little paint work, and a new tailpipe assembly. It's a strong little SUV. In terms of size, I think the CR-V and VUE are pretty close. I've ridden in both. I must honestly say that the CR-V's back seat was superior to the VUE's in comfort, but they had similar room. Fortunately, I rarely sit in the back.
Like chmsomm, we purchased our VUE at a good time, including 0% financing, a Pres. day incentive, and GMS discount. The price was MUCH lower than the 2008 VUE GL. Would I buy a 2008? Honestly, probably not. I prefer the polymer panels, the overall appearance, and better cargo capacity of the 2007. I'm also disappointed that the new model is assembled in Mexico while ours is a domestic product. But the real reason is price. I don't see it as such a good value anymore. That said, I haven't driven a 2008 GL (I have driven a conventional gasser 2008), so it may be better in some esoteric ways.
Good luck with your choice!
#75 of 84 Re: [tackepj]
Nov 21, 2008 (5:06 am)
That was a very good and informative post!
#76 of 84 Solar Power Battery Charging-Opinions?????
Nov 24, 2008 (12:01 pm)
This is an email I sent to Saturn:
This is a technical question for someone working with Saturn's Hybrid Vehicles.
I currently own a 2007 Saturn Vue GreenLine. Great gas mileage. 26-28 mpg in my 26 mpg roundtrip commute.
There are currently solar chargers available on the retail market (2-5W) that can be plugged in to cigarette lighters to keep automobile batteries charged. Very inexpensive. $20-30. I was thinking of using one of these when my Vue GreenLine is parked to assist in keeping the battery pack fully charged, and therefore fully available for use in the assist mode.
I have used small portable panels to charge 12v car batteries that I use for powering 12v astronomy equipment during the day (for night time use when I am in the field). They work reasonably well. In other words, they actually do help charge a free-standing car battery during a 8-10 hr day.
1. Would one of these panels work with my Vue GreenLine to charge the existing battery pack during the day?
2. Is the Vue GreenLine electical system compatable for this type of charging?
#77 of 84 Re: Solar Power Battery Charging-Opinions????? [chmsomm]
by pf_flyer HOST
Nov 24, 2008 (12:06 pm)
Isn't the cigarette lighter operated off of the 12V battery and separate from the hybrid battery pack? Just my first impression, but I don't think you'd be able to send any charge to the hybrid battery pack through the cigarette lighter.