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Cobasys Providing NiMH Batteries for Malibu Hybrid

The Malibu hybrid will use the same BAS hybrid system and powertrain as the Greenline Aura. Click to enlarge.

Cobasys confirmed that it will provide the NiMHax Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery system for General Motors’ redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Sedan announced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Earlier post.)

The Chevrolet Malibu arrives in showrooms in fall 2007 and features the same GM Hybrid Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) system that powers the hybrid Saturn Vue Green Line SUV and 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line mid-size sedan.

The Malibu hybrid combines an electric motor/generator with a 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine, Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission and Cobasys 36V NiMH battery pack.

Both Saturn Green Line vehicles and the Malibu hybrid system provide: an electric power assist during acceleration; increased fuel economy through engine shut-off at idle; fuel cut-off during deceleration; and the capability to capture electrical energy through regenerative braking.

Cobasys designed the NiMHax 36-Volt system specifically for GM’s hybrid applications. The NiMHax 36 Volt systems will be manufactured at the Cobasys facility in Springboro, Ohio.

General Motors has awarded an advanced battery contract to Cobasys and its partner A123Systems to design and to test lithium-ion batteries for both plug-in hybrids and the E-Flex series of extended range electric vehicles, of which the Volt is the first prototype.

Cobasys is a joint venture between Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.


Mark A

A great offering from GM. And please, no Prius comparisons or GM bashing need be added.


Psuedo-hybrid. Will be phased out sooner or later. Don't buy one. GM poo-poo.


This could be a problem. The fact that Cobasys and A123 are partnering could cause long term issues for A123. I could see a situation where Cobasys can have a veto over any product A123 will want to go to market.

Ultimately I don't think big oil will care one way or another whether GM goes down the tube eventually. Pick your friends carefully, GM!


Is this the first hybrid Vue system that GM has announced they will replace in 2008? Or is the replacement?

Probably the replacement. It would make no sense to offer the first generation system when you have a better one almost ready.

As to Cobasys and A123. First, it is normal practice to secure your sources. GM will have done that. And risking a restraint of trade violation is something I doubt Chevron is likely to try. The anti-trust laws are tough to beat and can be enormously punitive.



I thought I read somewhere that the 2nd gen Vue hybrid will have GM's dual-mode hybrid, not the BAS shown here.

Harvey D.

A 36-volt battery + stop-start feature does not constitute a great Hybrid.

Sounds like too little 11 years late to me. A 1997 Toyota Prius did more than that.

Is this the best GM can do to catch up? Poor GM.......


Its better to offer mild jubrds now while working on robost medium and full hybrids for later then it is to just wait for full hybrid tech to work itself out.


In a few years I see technology like this being standard on most cars at no or little additional cost. Probably won't even be called a hybrid. If every car had this kind of system it would probably make a lot more difference than a few 100,000 hybrids.


I agree, wintermane. Is this a perfect solution? Of course not. It's not even really a good solution but it's a step in the right direction and gives GM some experience with different designs.


it's a huge reduction in fuel useage, not everyone want the dorky prius.
By the way, Toyota pays royalties to the hybrid battery invertor Cobasys.
It's the first Gen system boys.


When you can make a 4 run like a 6 at the cost of a 6 but the economy of a 4, then you might just have something.

This just goes to show, when you try to use fewer words, the meaning can go right out the window :)


GM has three different hybrid versions of the VUE in delivery and announced.
First is the BAS, which is available today.
Next is the two-mode.
Third will be a plug-in version of the two-mode.
The Cobasys NiMH system is for the BAS system.

joseph padula

GM and Chevron (aka Cobasys) ?
Thank God the demokrats are protecting us, like Rep. Dingle (D) of Detroit. No finer environmentalist and safety maven in the world! Protecting the three stooges for half a century, until the last donation check from the bankruptcy court clears.


Chevron and GM are both publicly traded companies.

You have only your neighbors and yourselves to blame for their actions [if you disagree]. Do you know where your 401K investments are going???


Saturn Green Line vehicles and the Malibu hybrid system provide: an electric power assist during acceleration; increased fuel economy through engine shut-off at idle; fuel cut-off during deceleration; and the capability to capture electrical energy through regenerative braking.

What's not to like here? Is the motor inadequate or something? If it has regen braking, how is it not a full hybrid? (And you guys know how much I love GM...)


Ni-Mh battery HEV is not only thing invented and “controlled” by Cobasys/Ovonics/ECD/ Stanford Ovshinsky.

Among things they invented are : every single Ni-Mh battery on the planet, every single rewritable DVD/CD, three junction thin-film amorphous silicon solar panels, metal hydride hydrogen storage, metal hydride fuel cell/energy storage, theory of metal spinel materials used in most advanced Li batteries, and currently revolutionary phase change random assess memory (PRAM) – in pilot tasting by Apple and Samsung.

I wish we have more such evil companies/people around and less conspiracy theorists.


All that matters in the long run is this gets a fair bit better milage then the old design did.


Well said Wintermane. People are so anxious to bash the companies of their own country that they can't see that this is a good thing. Then again, I could work for Japanese or US companies so either way I'm all set.


The engine cutout alone when it becomes pervasive would be a great fuel saver and air cleaner{especially in city traffic}.I have heard for years of the waste ocurring in traffic jams.
This creates a supply chain for electronics destined for auto production.I think we should be encouraged that the direction arrow is increasingly pointing to electronic mobility.Replacing big ice with big motor is going to require a series of evolutionary steps.When people kept buying the prius and responded energeticaly to the volt we showed that we are receptive to this direction.They will follow up now because they must.

DRD T-bone

Bottom line is it's an inexpensive system that gets results. Added complexity is synonymous with added cost, added lifecycle CO2 output and more things to break.


A good thing about the Cobasys relationship to GM is they do not control the LiIon technology which is why so many battery inventors are in play. Large scale LiIon batteries of the AltairNano variety will be delievered by a variety of competitive companies - driving the mass manufacturing costs down faster.

Bashing GM for this entry is like kicking the guy who quits smoking... better never than late for the doomers.

Bob Bastard

On the bright side, its nice to see hybrid tech making its way in to sedans in Detroit, instead of just SUVs and trucks. On the downside, I think their transmission selection could have been a little better. I was under the impression that automated manuals are price competitive with conventional automatics, but I guess it is asking too much to expect GM to take the risk of debuting such tech in a Malibu. I assume the car is completely redesigned? Hopefully, they have taken the opportunity to implement other fuel saving measures such as reducing the car's weight and drag coefficient.


Stop/start psuedo-hybrid offers fuel economy improvement when traffic gets so bad, it's bumper-to-bumper. Oh yeah, thanks-a-lot GM. The hybrid platform that offers true economy improvement and emission reduction is the one that runs purely on electricity for many miles at speeds up to 30 or 40 mph or more.

For those who defend stop/start psuedo-hybrid technology, I hear the Brooklyn Bridge is offering a great, once in a lifetime opportunity to buy stock. Only a fool wouldn't spend their life savings on the great Brooklyn Bridge stock offering. Really! Send checks payable to Commercial American Stock Holdings or "CASH" as soon as possible. Don't delay.


Pseudo poser hybrids for FTMFL! Long live steam power!!!!



Chinese company, and any other company in the world to that matter, are not required to have license to produce any size of Ni-Mh batteries, and cell it for any imaginable application. The only valid patent Cobasys is holding is for of Ni-Mh vehicular applications, and only in US. License you are talking about is for supply of technology, equipment, and electrode materials from Ovoniks/Cobasis to Chienese factory. Ovonics is still manufacturing and selling worldwide best available sintered materials for fabrication of battery electrodes.

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