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GM Introduces New Malibu; Hybrid Model to Come this Year

GM’s currently announced production hybrid timeline. Click to enlarge.

At the introduction of the redesigned 2008 Malibu today at the North American International Auto Show, Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper confirmed that a hybrid version will be introduced with the start of production later this year.

The Malibu hybrid will use the GM Hybrid System already applied in the Saturn VUE Green Line SUV and Saturn Aura Green Line sedan hybrids. The GM Hybrid Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) system in the Green Line vehicles 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. (Earlier post).

The 2008 Malibu.

The non-hybrid models of the new 2008 Malibu offer either a 2.4L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine or a 3.6L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing (VVT). A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V-6 and is offered with the 2.4L four-cylinder—a segment first.

The 2.4L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine is rated at 164 horsepower (122 kW) and delivers an estimated 31 mpg in highway driving. The available 3.6L V-6 VVT is an all-aluminum DOHC engine that uses variable valve technology to produce 252 hp (188 kW) while delivering an estimated 26 mpg in highway driving.



If the Camry hybrid is over $26K, then I think that they need to bring this in at or below $23k to have a chance.

fyi CO2

If ever a car needed a makeover, it was the '06 Malibu.
Based on earlier post claim of 25% fuel efficiency, we have a 39mpg hwy / ?? mpg city candidate? Under $25k, this is a good step..

Rafael Seidl

In terms of hybrid technology, this is more of the same but that does not make it a bad thing. On the contrary, mainstreaming hybrids in terms of actual sales volume as opposed to merely market perception is a very worthwhile ambition.

Even basic stop/start functionality and mild boost/recuperation can deliver fuel economy benefits of 5-10% at moderate cost. Of course, it makes little sense to combine this fuel saving feature with a gas-guzzling 3.6L V6. If you care enough to buy a hybrid to begin with, consider choosing the 2.4L engine and spending the difference on something more worthwhile, like an electric bicycle. You really don't need a V6 to go shopping and, out on the highway the hybrid system has no effect on fuel economy.


Rafael Seidl,
They could add CD, to shut down half of the cylinders, under low load (V6-V3). GM V8s already have it, though to accomplish the smooth operation/transition Honda has with their V6 CD system may be a bit of a challenge.

_GM should push to have a BAS version all their models by 2010. This would improve fleet fuel mileage, since some may not opt for the 2mode, but want better than conventional drivetrains. They can market it as "freedom of choice".
_Demonstrate clean and quiet electric generator mode in disaster/blackout prone areas. Do the same when the Tier2Bin5 diesels reach market.


Yeah, way too much crome on the front and rear.

Kent beuchert

I just finished reading a report of an energy analysis of a number of regular and hybrids that covered ALL energy expended in every facet of the vehicles life, from cradle to grave. It showed that hybrid versions are much less energy efficient than their non-hybrid brothers. This is tellingme that hybrids are a fraud that has been sold to a gullible public by automakers and environmentalists eager to rip off same. Plug-in hybrids that are serial would be cars that would be energy efficient, in addition to freeing our country from dependence on foreign oil. They should be supported.
I call on everyone concerned about our energy situation to boycott non-plug-in hybrids. They have acheived nothing other than depleting our wallets and making
some ignorant environmentalists self satisfied.

The Anonymous Poster

If you're talking about that ridiculous CNW study, that's already been debunked. A Prius does take more energy to build than a regular sedan but that deficit quickly disappears when you start to drive the cars.

So unless you buy cars and never drive them...


The Vue Greenline has the 2.4l with BAS and gets 27/32 and weighs about the same. Considering the Malibu is more streamlined than the Vue, the highway might be higher, but they quote 31. Since all the EPA numbers will be revised for more real world conditions, the numbers will to down.



There is the efficiency of consciousness to consider which causes a consumer to think higher MPG, lower GHG products in the first place. To say that manufacturing costs zero out the benefit of moving to renewable energy is old fashioned spin accounting from the 1940s.


Well, consumers who want a vehicle which uses less foreign oil would do just fine to buy a hybrid. We get very little power (for manufacturing or otherwise) from oil.

fyi CO2

Kent- better find a stronger leg to stand on before you stumble on this blog and call for a boycott; PS- Al Gore is not living in Venezuela.


I used to hear the same thing about PV solar panels, that they took more energy to make than they could ever produce. After someone added up all the processes and the energy involved, it turns out the average PV panel takes around 3 years of energy to produce and the average panel lasts 30 years. I would like to see the detailed listing and calculations on something like the Prius before I make up my mind on this issue.


Too little, too late.

By 2009 and 2010 Toyota/Honda hybrids will get 100MPG.

GM has lost the hybrid battle.

Ron Fischer

Compare GM's concept cars with the roadmap above showing what they're actually going to sell to the public. Bit of a gap there. Perhaps closing it is next on their agenda?

Also: on the CNW hybrid study the flaw there (from memory) was overestimating second and third order development costs then using very low production numbers to amortinze them.


I just saw a story on the GM Volt on ABC News. They said that GM is waiting for 3-4 years for the batteries to come down 10 to 1 in cost, but industry analysts said it would take more like 10 years. They also said at present battery costs, the Volt would sell for $200k. I don't believe any of that, but thought I would pass it along.

Roger Pham

Thanks, SJC, for the update on the Volt. So, it's truly not up to GM to decide when to release the Volt, but rather, it's up to the battery industry. So, Kent, you can wait all you want, but the public will go ahead to enjoy the higher fuel efficiency of the HEV today.

As Rafael mentioned, a modest (but low-cost) fuel efficiency gain spread over a large number of vehicles sold can make a bigger total fuel saving than that of a super-duper high-mpg model sold at much smaller sale volume due to its high cost!


SJC, Roger Pham,
There is an odd phenomenon. When people predict something is likely to happen in ~5 years, it usually takes longer, or not even happen at all. When they estimate ~10 years, often it comes to pass sooner. Just my 2cents.


Here is the ABCNews video on the Volt:
Here is the writeup on it:

The video is very informative, but the "several hundred thousand dollars" comment on the price comes from the reporter and not a GM Exec.

hampden wireless

you wrote:
Too little, too late.

By 2009 and 2010 Toyota/Honda hybrids will get 100MPG.

GM has lost the hybrid battle.

Toyota will have won the hybrid war. GM will have come in second. For the 2008 model year Honda will only have one real hybrid, the Civic. The Insight is gone, the Accord hybrid is going this year and thier new one is a 2009 model. By then GM will have a two mode or full hybrid on the streets and Honda will have yet to market thier first FULL hybrid. Do I think GM is a cleaner car company then Honda?? Heck no! But I like the trend at GM and dont like it at Honda.


It would be foolish to ignore how behind the big three are when compared to Toyota. However, we have every piece of the puzzle in America to put together a car that will blow the Prius, Highlander, Camry and Lexus hybrids:

Altair Nano has the batteries: 15,000 cycles (0 to 100%), can be charged in 10 minutes (6C), 4000 Watts/kg.

AC propulsion has the electric drivetrain: 248 hp, 3 phase AC squirrel cage motor, 80% (at max power) to 95% efficient, great torque up to 8000 rpm, 13500 max rpm, includes 2 speed transmission and differential for 140 lbs.

Use a small HCCI engine at a constant RPM (you can couple it with a small CVT to get a variable power output with constant rpm). This will make the lightest, most efficient genset for a series plug in hybrid configuration.

If the Big Three wait until Toyota makes the switch from NiMH to Li-ion fast charging (Toshiba was the first company to announce this technology), and the switch from the permanent magnet DC motors to the high power density AC motor drivetrain, they will not have time to catch up.


I think that is one of the reasons A123 has teamed with Cobasys. A huge corporation like GM needs to deal with suppliers that have some credibility and depth. They will be there and can supply their requirements. Now A123 is backed by ECD and Chevron, they can be a player.

Henry Gibson

GM has showed us that they are in the OIL business by fighting the electric car in California and crushing perfectly useable EV1s. Their interest in the hybrid car is simply a front to divert attention from TOY0TA. Any statement that batteries are too expensive is a front to delay the introduction of suitable batteries. GM, Itself, could commission the cheap manufacturing of 100 year old Nickel Iron Technology batteries in China. Modern plastics and Fliessband construction could have them cost less than lead acid batteries and have a life of a hundred years. When the car was junked, the battery could be used for power load leveling for the next 75 years....



I do not agree with your statements made above. I do not know how many on here would agree with those statements, but just because no one comments about them does not mean that they agree with them.



I don't personally subscribe to all the conspiracy theories of the world. I can't condemn someone who TRIES, and GM is definitely Trying. Look at the Volt as a better example than even this Malibu. I checked out another green Blog website that interviewed Chris Paine, the Director of "Who Killed the Electric Car", which had the following comments about the Volt:

Sebastian - We came to Detroit for the unveiling and the Volt looks great. It's a beautiful design and the result of what looks like earnest and incredible hustle at GM over the last 12 months. I was impressed. The proof, of course, will be when the car is sitting in your or my driveway, but in the meantime you can be sure that all of our pressure as consumers and citizens has made a difference.

GM has listened and made some good decisions to return to the EV table in earnest. I do not agree with their press faulting the EV1 nor do I believe that everything must wait for the perfect lithium battery; but by the same token I don't feel that this is just a PR play at GM. We talked to senior executives and many employees who looked us in the eye and spoke from their hearts. One executive said "the public won't forgive GM twice" which is a revealing and accurate comment.

From what I can see, GM is doing the right thing and I'm supporting them as long as they keep making good decisions and moving plug-in cars into production reality. It's a week we can all be proud of.


So as you can see, even Chris Paine likes the Volt.


I have driven Honda's for the last 20 years and have never owned more than a 4 cylinder engine. I currently drive a 2006 CRV and consider it the most versatile, reliable, and valuable car in the world. I get 24-25 around town and recently averaged 28 mpg on a long trip @ 79 mph average while hauling two hundred pounds of stuff.

I was considering buying the Acura small SUV (RSX?), anticipating a hybrid model, but they gave us a turbo instead. I am concerned that Honda is losing its green vision and am looking towards the Saturn Vue hybrid as my next vehicle.

Honda should leapfrog current hybrids and off a CRV with plug-in-to-recharge electric propulsion with an on-board turbo diesel for long trips. Propane, fuel-cell, ethanol, bio-diesel, and solar technologies are just not ready or economically feasable.

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