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It won't hit dealerships until October, but the Chevy Malibu Hybrid is now officially on display in San Francisco at the MLB All Star Game's Fan Zone, which opened to the public today. The Malibu Hybrid is basically the fraternal twin of the Saturn Aura Green Line we recently reviewed at Autoblog and AutoblogGreen. Powered by the same mild hybrid setup, the Malibu Hybrid boasts a 24/32 city/highway EPA fuel economy rating, a slight upgrade over the non-hybrid 4-cylinder. Unlike the standard 4-banger, however, this one should be eligible for a tax credit. By introducing it at the All Star Game, GM gets to kill two birds with one stone: it's puts the new Malibu in front of a lot of faces that probably haven't seen it yet, and it tells the public that a Hybrid version's on the way. Malibu will also be available with the aforementioned non-hybrid Ecotec as well as GM's smooth-operating 3.6L V6. Follow the jump for the press release issued by GM.

[Source: GM]



PRESS RELEASE:
All-New 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Debuts at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game

SAN FRANCISCO – The all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will join baseball's other stars as it makes its world debut in the All-Star Fan Zone today. The Malibu Hybrid's appearance continues through the last out of one of MLB's highlights of the year.

Thanks to an affordable hybrid powertrain option, the all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid not only will be the most refined new midsize sedan in the neighborhood, but one of the most fuel-efficient, as well. Powered by the GM Hybrid System, the first-ever Malibu Hybrid delivers an EPA rating of 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway – a two-mpg increase over the non-hybrid four-cylinder model – and will be Chevrolet value-priced, offering customers an affordable hybrid choice.

"The beauty of the Chevy Malibu Hybrid is that customers don't have to choose between a stylish, expressive, fuel-saving sedan full of standard content and the gasoline that goes in the tank," said Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper. "The Malibu Hybrid's winning package of uncompromising design and fuel economy will help us assert leadership in the midsize sedan segment and meet the needs of Chevy customers."

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 featured on the Malibu Hybrid saves fuel by using sophisticated controls and software, as well as a unique, 36-volt electric motor/generator mated to GM Powertrain's 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission. The GM Hybrid system maintains the vehicle's sporty feel and seamlessly reduces fuel consumption by:

* Shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, to minimize idling
* Restarting the engine promptly when the brake pedal is released
* Enabling early fuel shut-off during vehicle deceleration
* Capturing vehicle kinetic energy during deceleration through regenerative braking to charge the advanced nickel metal hydride battery
* Performing intelligent battery charging when it is most efficient

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, so that hybrid operation is seamless to the driver and passengers. The Malibu Hybrid delivers an appropriate balance of fuel economy and cabin comfort with an air conditioning system with two selectable 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.

Malibu Hybrid models make a statement away from the gas pump, too, thanks to specific exterior appointments such as 16-inch low rolling resistance tires and unique hybrid badging. Inside, a special gauge cluster provides information and feedback about the hybrid powertrain's operation.

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


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