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GM Suspending 2010 Malibu Hybrid Production; Next-Generation Li-Ion Mild Hybrid Expected for 2011

General Motors has announced that there will be no retail production of the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid for model year (MY) 2010 due to “elevated inventory levels of the 2009 model.” A limited amount of 2010 Malibu hybrids may be produced to fulfill fleet sales requests.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid
2008 Malibu hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Service and warranty of existing Malibu hybrids will be unaffected by the decision, as the company has an adequate supply of replacement components, including the 36/42V battery packs.

The Malibu hybrid shares components with two other GM mild hybrids: the Saturn Aura and Vue hybrids. Although GM is committed to delivering MY 2010 Saturn Aura and Vue vehicles as part of its Memorandum of Understanding with Saturn buyer Penske Automotive Group, no decision has been made as to whether or not hybrid variants of those two vehicles will be offered for that year.

GM’s next-generation mild hybrid system, which was announced in 2008 (earlier post), is scheduled to debut in MY 2011, powered by a lithium-ion battery from Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd (HVE). Hitachi Automotive Products produced the integrated starter-generators and the power electronics for GM’s 2007-2009 mild hybrids.

—Jack Rosebro

Comments

SJC

"..36/42V battery packs.."

I read that some of the packs that Cobasys delivered were defective, so GM had to find another supplier. That and the Mercedes suit for lack of performance tells me Cobasys is not a serious battery maker.

kelly

As GM crushes more hybrids..

alpha1847

Hardly the same thing, Kelly

They are only proposing a one-year gap in production until they move over to the much improved second generation BAS. Like they said, their current inventory will probably take them through a portion of next year anyway.

Personally, I'm waiting for the next generation anyway. Give me the second generation BAS with the Lithium battery, DI and a 6-speed auto, and I'll buy that hybrid in a heartbeat. That would likely get better highway economy than either the Fusion, Camry or Altima, which may be preferable to many people.

kelly

There's a rumor that if a car uses a typical lead-acid battery for accessories - radio, CD, etc. - and another battery (NiMH, Li-ion,..) for power - this is legally two power sources and an electric hybrid for 'patent considerations'.

While 13 of Cobasys's NiMH patents expire in 2014, 120 more patents don't.

alpha1847

What would be really cool is if the 2011 replace the normally aspirated 2.4 with a small turbo engine. The 1.4 they are planning to use in the Cruze would work pretty well. Considering that they can get 260HP out of a 2.0 Turbo DI, that projects to 182HP for a 1.4 liter version - the same HP as the 2.4 DI that they are putting in the 2010 Equinox, and it would likely have more torque and a flatter curve too. Probably wishful thinking....

alpha1847

Actually, they'd probably do better by implementing the Atkinson cycle (Miller cycle, since it would be boosted) and upsizing to 1.6 to offset the loss in power. Why won't GM listen to me?

Ok, I'm done having a conversation with myself...I think.

SJC

The DI turbo in the SKY/Soltice gets 260 hp out of 2.0 liters. That might be more acceptable to the buying public. The BAS Plus was suppose to be out by now. I want to see the performance figures on it and see if it is the cost effective way. Prius and others more powerful drives, Honda has the medium IMA and GM has the BAS and perhaps BAS Plus. It will be good to see who gets the best mileage for the buck.

JC

@alpha1847,

Agreed - a light pressure, DI Miller 1.4L would be the best way to go for GM's new lithium BASH Malibu for 2011, only instead, I'd recommend a bigger NiMH battery(more like Ford, Toyota and Honda) until the price of the lithium battery comes down to earth. This should be the standard powerplant, not an optional one.

There's no reason to upsize to ~1.6L, as the battery will make up for the torque loss; that's its purpose. The cost of making yet another engine easily overrides the horsepower loss in my opinion.

GM has the turbo 2.8L, and DI 3.0L for those who want to waste their hard earned money, and to do their bit to melt Greenland. As the new head of GM "doesn't know anything about cars," and as the public will continue to be dragged by the media into buying overpowered cars, I'd guess that the DI 3.0L is scheduled for the Malibu as well. Putting the kabosh to the sixes (in this affordable class) should be what the government does, but I doubt they have the nerve to tell the industry what to do.

kelly

"Hardly the same thing, Kelly

They are only proposing a one-year gap in production until they move over to the much improved second generation BAS."

It's the same GM culture and EV track record. Buyers were waiting a dozen years ago for hundred mile range EV1's. Now they wait for fourty-mile electric range Volts. In between, much of what little hybrid production they have is shut down in the US and China.

If there were only a pattern to be spotted..

SJC

If GM comes out with a DI BAS-Plus 6 speed dual clutch auto Malibu in 2010, it would be worth the wait. Right now they have an EPA of 26 mpg city compared with Camry hybrid 30 mpg. Camry is $30k and Malibu is $25k. If the new one gets 28 mpg, the buyer will have more choices.

dursun

"Camry hybrid 30 mpg. Camry is $30k and Malibu is $25k"
And a Ford Fusion Hybrid is 41/36 mpg at $27,270.
GM has been an arrogant prick since at least the time of Corvair/Nader. GM is NOT going to resurrect itself any time soon.

SJC

I have not been able to find a Fusion hybrid on a lot for under $31k (41 mpg city), but I can find a Camry hybrid at $30k (33 mpg city) and a Malibu hybrid under $26k. (26 mpg city)

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