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
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
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.