I've said this before, I think Buick is going to be GM's best brand moving forward.
The company's new designs are eye-catching and if the 2010 LaCrosse sedan delivers anywhere near what it looks like Buick will have a hit on its hands.
Now, the company is announcing that GM's plug-in hybrid technology will be introduced in a new Buick crossover vehicle in 2011. The nameless car, for now, will launch late next year with what the company calls "a family of fuel-efficient direct-injected gasoline engines, followed in 2011 by the plug-in hybrid model."
The new five-passenger crossover will build on the success of the Buick Enclave, offering the brand's finely crafted execution and premium driving experience in a fuel-efficient package.
The Buick crossover will be powered by an Ecotec 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.0L direct-injected V-6, and is expected to deliver 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway.
The Buick plug-in hybrid version is expected to be the first commercially available plug-in hybrid SUV produced by a major automaker.
GM claims that the Buick plug-in hybrid has the potential to achieve double the fuel economy of comparably-sized SUVs on short trips. It will use same battery cells as the upcoming Chevy Volt. The lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in four to five hours by simply connecting the vehicle to any standard 110V household electrical outlet. By recharging rather than refueling, the Buick plug-in hybrid significantly improves fuel economy and reduces petroleum use. In early testing, the plug-in hybrid is capable of electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles at low speeds.
On the road, GM's 2-Mode plug-in hybrid system can use any combination of electric or gasoline engine power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions. This differs from GM's Voltec technology, which provides the Volt with up to 40 miles of emissions- and petroleum-free electric-only propulsion, and an overall range of more than 300 miles with its flex-fuel engine-generator.
In addition to the lithium-ion battery pack, the Buick plug-in hybrid's powertrain features two powerful electric motors, sophisticated electronic controls and battery management systems and an efficient direct-injected 3.6L V-6 flex-fuel engine.