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Chevy Equinox Hybrid SUV

The Chevy Equinox Hybrid SUV is a mild hybrid that was expected to roll out in 2006 for the 2007 season. This is now on hold.

When it rolls out as a mild hybrid, the Chevy Equinox Hybrid is expected to receive fuel savings in the 10 to 15-percent range over the standard Equinox SUV.

Other mild hybrids in the GM lineup include the Saturn VUE hybrid SUV and the Chevy Malibu Hybrid.

The mild hybrids run mainly on the gasoline engine and are assisted by the electric motor as needed. Larger GM hybrid vehicles such as the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon will receive a full hybrid system, powered by a V8 gasoline engine and two electric motors. These two large hybrid SUV's will generate approximately 30-percent in fuel economy savings.



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The Equinox Hybrid SUV will be equipped with General Motor's belt alternator starter (BAS) system, regenerative braking, engine-idle cutoff and deceleration cut-off for added fuel efficiency. The Equinox Hybrid will be a bit less sophisticated than the Saturn VUE Hybrid (2.4-liter variable valve timing (VVT) Ecotec engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45-E electronically controlled overdrive transaxle), but will sport a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine and the efficient VTi continuously variable transmission.

Besides General Motors, there is another group currently hybridizing a Chevy Equinox. The Virginia Tech College of Engineering's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) is taking part in Challenge X, sponsored by GM and the U. S. Department of Energy (DoE). HEVT is participating in a 3-year long competition with 16 other top universities with a goal of reducing the total petroleum consumption of the Chevy Equinox by 80 percent. In order to succeed in the competition, HEVT and the other universities must the team must produce a low-emissions, fuel efficient Equinox that also retains all of its original performance factors.

It will be interesting to see if any of the innovations from Challenge X make it into the GM production lines in years to come. Hopefully, this will be a step forward to making the Equinox SUV and others in it categories full hybrid models, with greater gasoline savings, in years to come.

It will also be interesting to see the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell SUV rollout to 100 individuals in 2007, before the hybrid version of the same vehicle rolls out. This may be putting the proverbial technological cart before the horse, but perhaps somewhere along the line, the cart and horse will become one and the point will be moot.