While all eyes may be turned towards Chevrolet's upcoming Volt plug-in hybrid, other brands under the General Motors umbrella are also set to offer plug-in hybrids to help improve the carmaker’s fleet average fuel economy levels and become more competitive in a world of record high fuel prices. Speaking at the recent Plug-In Conference in California, GM's executive director for hybrid powertrain engineering Larry Nitz confirmed that plug-in versions of the Saturn Vue Hybrid were already undergoing real world testing.

The Saturn Vue plug-in hybrids use lithium-ion batteries and according to Nitz have already undergone "extensive battery thermal management work in the lab and on the road". Nitz mentioned that the plug-in charge integration was still in its early stages but that the system was fully operational

Set to arrive in a couple of years, the Vue plug-in hybrid will be using the familiar two-mode hybrid system when it’s eventually released. In the meantime, a front-wheel drive version of the 2009 Saturn Vue will be offered with the same two-mode hybrid system and GM is confident that it will have class-leading fuel efficiency and emissions.

While the Chevrolet Volt will be sold as a global model, the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid is expected to be sold only in North America. GM engineers are working on two new plug-in hybrid vehicles, one based on the Flextreme Concept and another larger and more spacious model.