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Malibu Hybrid Makes its Debut

6 July 2007

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The Malibu Hybrid in the MLB Fan Zone.

GM gave the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (earlier post) its world debut at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

Powered by the GM Hybrid System (Belt-Alternator-Starter, or BAS), the first Malibu hybrid delivers an EPA rating of 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, for a combined 27 mpg (8.7 l/100km). The hybrid offers a two-mpg improvement on the highway cycle compared to the conventional 4-cylinder 2008 Malibu.

Production of the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is scheduled to begin in October, with vehicles arriving in dealerships shortly thereafter. The system will be available as a powertrain option on the base LS model, which also features Electric Power Steering, Automatic Climate Control and the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.

The GM Hybrid System features a 36-volt electric motor/generator mated to GM Powertrain’s 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission. A 36V Cobasys NiMH battery pack provides energy storage for regenerative braking. (Earlier post.)

The Malibu hybrid and both Saturn Green Line hybrids—which use the same GM 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.

The GM Hybrid System provides additional power, when required, during launch from the electric motor/generator. At wide-open throttle, such as during a passing maneuver, the system enhances acceleration by using the motor/generator to bolster the gasoline engine and achieve maximum power.

The GM Hybrid System also is designed to automatically maintain full accessory functionality—including climate control—when the vehicle is stopped. The Malibu Hybrid offer two selectable climate control modes. The Hybrid A/C mode favors more fuel-efficient performance by limiting the draw on the hybrid powertrain, while the normal mode provides maximum passenger comfort in hot climates and enhances defogging performance.

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is covered by GM’s five-year / 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition, the Malibu Hybrid’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack is covered by an eight-year / 100,000-mile warranty.

July 6, 2007 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (75) | TrackBack (0)

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This is a Hybrid ???

(In name only).

A major breakthrough! Win the solar races in the 1980's, build the EV-1 in the 90's and now this flash of genius. GM is on a roll!

They've been talking this mild-hybrid game for years. They wimped out and assumed batteries would never be cheap enough, and that people would pay an extra $1200/car for an extra 2 mpg. I could understand if they did a through-the-ground hybrid that only had a 10-mile battery as a way to cut costs, but this isn't nearly that good.

This car is a perfect example of a failing auto company. Why bother?

This car is a perfect example of a failing auto company. Why bother?

hello sillies. This is an example of a large scale use of a limited commodity... They simply cant get enough batteries to outfit every car with them so they have to make do.

Its better then just waiting for more vatteries to ship.

I believe that the beauty of GM's BAS system is that the entire system fits into the same vehicle as the non-hybrid model, thus streamlining manufacturing and allowing for an easier overall conversion.

If that is true, then why offer the non-BAS model at all? The advantages, albeit slight in this case, are there - so why give consumers the choice and why not just come out swinging and convert the line over? Doesn't that show vision and demonstrate that they mean business vs. having 10 to 15% of the line go towards the BAS models? They have already proved that the BAS model is fully functional (Aura, Vue).

Or - if they are concerned about losing out on acceleration and top speed, offer the V6 (non-BAS) and the I4 (BAS) only.

That would be a bold move, in my opinion.

Why is this called a Hybrid??? GM must be trying to sell this to the mentally challenged......

Why did the article give the improvement for the hwy mpg and not the city mpg? Doesn't a mild hybrid help the city mpg more than the hwy mpg?
A fact that is seldom pointed out is that improving a gas hogs mileage by a limited amount does as much or more good than improving a fuel sippers mileage immensely. Most people drive about 15000 miles a year. If they get 15 mpg they use 1000 gallons and emit a corresponding amount of pollution. If they get 25 mpg they use 600 gallons and if they get 50 mpg they use 300 gallons. Improving a Crown Victoria's mileage from 15 to 25 mpg saves 400 gallons of gas every year per vehicle. Improving a Corolla size car from approx 32 mpg (Corolla city mpg) to 53 mpg (Prius city mpg) saves just 186 gallons. I know the two cars aren't identical, but they show that improving gas hogs mileage can be even more productive than improving the mileage of already efficient cars. Do both, but start with the dogs first.
One other thing I am curious about, how do the new standards regarding how the EPA mpg figures are calculated figure in this article?

Well said Mike L

They can convert that entire lineup to Mild Hybrid atleast.

But some people will try to calculate the ROI for the extra $ 1,200 they pay upfront.

Also the midsize non-hybrid sedans like Camry, Accord, Altima also gives 32 MPG highway and even the bigger Impala give 30 MPG.

They could have made Malibu / Aura Hybrid lighter to give 35 MPG atleast.

Pathetic.

You GM bashers need to get your own website.

Let me get this straight. For a measly $1200, GM is offering better fuel economy, more power, and brakes that will last significantly longer, and this is a bad thing?

The Camry hybrid, using the same 2008 EPA figures, gets only 2 mpg more on the highway for a LOT more money. So, for people who might drive 80% on the highway, this is likely to be a far better deal.

I agree with Angelo. While the Camry is a much better car the jump from non hybrid to hybrid huge. The $1200 spent on the hybrid Malibu might even be covered by tax incentives. The 32mpg highway for a car this size is not bad. The city mpg on the other hand is bad for a hybrid but again for a vehicle this size is better then average.

If its $1200, its $1200 well spent.

How could GM be a winner in my eyes? Make this standard on the 4 cyl models. I don't think they will.

Meh, the amount of cash paid per percentage increase in city fuel economy for both cars is about the same. With the Camry hybrid, you can pay more for a larger increase in city economy. Not bad or good, just bleh, like the Camry Hybrid. ;)

One word: Pathetic.

Make mine Prius!

The city milage is lousy for a hybrid, ok for an econobox, and very good for everything else. For a sports car, 25mpg is quite good, and at a $1200 premium, it pays for it's self within 400 gallons, or the 10,000 mile mark. ie within a year or so.

It's really simple: Any hybrid that give you less than 40MPG isn't a hybrid. Does GM really think that this is going to sell at a car lot when gas costs over $3.00 a gallon?!

2 miles per gallon? Couldn't you get that with higher pressure tires, synthetic oil, and keeping your windows rolled up?

Hardly seems worth the effort. On the other hand, I believe the Prius has some serious safety problems stemming from poor visibility towards the rear (left right and center), a restricted view through the windshield, distracting light shows on the forward console, dependency on fancy an expensive to replace electronics (rearward video display) to compensate for poor engineering. Thanks but I'll stick with my Volkswagen golf that only needs a $.50 piece of glass to show me what it's like in back of the car.

So now we've gone from a shouting match about horsepower to one about battery size? Toyota marketing really has successfully brainwashed US consumers into equating 'hybrid' with its Prius product.

Fact is, even a cheap 12V idle stop system a.k.a. microhybrid will improve combined fuel consumption ~5%. A mild hybrid, such as this one, will save ~10%, but the incremental cost is ~3x that of a microhybrid. A full hybrid will save ~15% but cost ~2x as much as the mild version. These are ballpark numbers, my point is that you quickly get into the law of diminishing returns.

Far better then to ship tens of millions of cars as micro- or mild hybrids than to sell just a few as full hybrids. We're not quite there yet, obviously, but GM is actually barking up the right tree with their BAS technology. The environment and energy security are assets held in common, so no-one should get a free ride.

GM's mild hybrids are part hype and part immediate improvement across product line. While over-use of the term dampens full hybrid, at least consumers get exposed to electric drive concepts.

These stop gaps are transitions to the real serial hybrid products which will show up in prototype for the first time at Madison, WI HybridFest July 21.

"The other is the “G-Volt” PHEV. The G-Volt features a series plug-in hybrid drivetrain mapping to the specs of the Chevrolet Volt but applied to a Geo research platform. The G-Volt is V2G-capable."

The A-Team to show a large automotive Li pack to set the direction for first gen BEV function.

"Far better then to ship tens of millions of cars as micro- or mild hybrids than to sell just a few as full hybrids"

Exactly. Give GM a chance. Within a few years, the BAS could be offered on every one of their front-drive vehicles. Bottom line, a car with BAS is better than one without it.

"It's really simple: Any hybrid that give you less than 40MPG isn't a hybrid".

That is your opinion, and not the accepted definition in the automobile industry or within the US Tax Code.

I think the 2007 mileage, using the new method would have been 21 city/31 highway with an overall of 25. So the improved mileage of the 2008 BAS 24 city, 32 highway with an overall of 27 is a pretty significant improvement. Good job GM! Now my 1986 Buick 4 banger got 36 MPG highway, probably because it was lighter and smaller, so further improvements seems possible. Until then, I guess we are stuck driving the hybrid Camry with gets better than 30 MPG overall.

One other thing I cannot understand is the ever so casual dismissal of the laws of supply and demand. Not every consumer wants the same type of car. Many people are still skeptical of hybrid technologies, and desire a simpler approach like this. This isn't going to take anything away from their continued development of their 2-mode systems or their plug-in, series hybrid systems.

This helps to give people more choice. Something that has always been important in the automobile industry.

I think GM is making a mistake with the Malibu Hybrid similar to the one Honda made with the Accord hybrid - trying to having it both ways and thus pleasing no-one. The hybrid version of the Malibu should come with a 2.0L or 2.2L engine instead of the 2.4L. If a smaller engine raises the 0-60 time to 10 seconds, so be it.

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