Engineers at General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] are working on a new hybrid drivetrain they plan to install in the next-generation Opel Astra (current model pictured), scheduled to hit the streets in 2010. GM is working on its new E-Flex plug-in technology but is also planning to launch a new range of more conventional hybrid vehicles, where both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor drive the wheels.

The next Astra is a crucial model for GM as its launch in Europe will coincide with a launch in the U.S. where the car will be sold as a Saturn. Speaking with AutomobilWoche, a GM engineer revealed the new car will be based on the latest version of the Delta front-wheel-drive compact platform, which will eventually spawn 13 different models including a new baby Saab.

The hybrid system GM will use for the Astra is a conventional two-mode hybrid, similar to the setup used in the Toyota Prius. As for the more advanced E-Flex system, the GM insider said this won’t arrive on the market until the end of 2010, possibly in a production version of the Volt concept.


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