Traverse City, Michigan – A new Buick crossover featuring plug-in hybrid technology will be introduced in 2011. The announcement was made by Tom Stephens, GM’s vice-chairman of product development.

The yet-unnamed Buick will launch in late 2010 with a family of fuel-efficient, direct-injection gasoline engines, followed in 2011 by the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model.

“Buick has always been at the forefront of new technology, so it is only fitting that the brand should debut our new plug-in hybrid technology in a beautiful new crossover,” Stephens said. “This will firmly put Buick, and GM, front and centre in the advanced technology game.”

The company said the new crossover will build on the success of the Enclave, and will use an Ecotec 2.4-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine, with optional 3.0-litre direct-injected V6.

The PHEV model is expected to be the first commercially-available plug-in hybrid SUV produced by a major automaker. It will use GM’s 2-Mode Hybrid system with advanced lithium-ion battery cells and charging technology developed for GM’s Voltec system, which will debut in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle in late 2010. The Buick plug-in will use the same manganese-spinel-based chemistry and polymer battery cells as the Volt. The 8-kwh battery, containing half the energy of the Volt battery pack, will be packaged in a rectangular-shaped box under the cargo floor.

The lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in four to five hours by connecting the vehicle to any standard 110-volt household electrical outlet. In early testing, the vehicle is capable of electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles (16 km) at low speeds. On the road, the system can use any combination of electric or gasoline power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions.

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