• Jul 13, 2009
2008 Chevy Malibu Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors' current crop of midsize hybrid sedans are rarely mentioned in the same breath as hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima – let alone the standard-bearing Toyota Prius and its main competitor from Japan, the Honda Insight. According to The General, much of the blame for the slow sales of the Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura hybrids is due to the small mileage improvement of the mild hybrid powertrain compared to a standard four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission. No kidding, right?

Fortunately, GM apparently has a plan to address its midsize hybrid shortcomings. Speaking to GM-Volt.com, Chevrolet head Ed Peper said:
What we are trying to work towards is 'Yes,' we will have other hybrid vehicles (besides the Volt) but we are trying to work towards a dedicated hybrid... We think that's probably a better way for us to go longer term.
And now for the fun part: Speculation. If GM were to develop a new dedicated midsize hybrid model, it seems likely that it would use its sophisticated 2-Mode Hybrid system in lieu of the mild belt-alternator-starter system currently employed in the Malibu and Aura hybrids. The first production instance of the 2-Mode system in a front-drive application is expected in either the Cadillac SRX or the Chevy Equinox, possibly in 2011. A dedicated hybrid sedan could soon follow using the same drivetrain.



Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: GM-Volt.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      a dedicated sedan-could be great PR and sales.

      i did this one 3 years ago. Rhymes with LS1...
      http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/artandcolour2006/Photochops/ChevroletEllesse1-1.jpg


      • 5 Years Ago
      Ummmm...

      Volt?

      How many dedicated hybrid sedans do they need?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think the Volt is a "dedicated" hybrid vehicle. Though it does have both a gas engine and battery pack, only the batteries provide power to the electric motors to get the car moving. The engine only serves to recharge the batteries when necessary.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jei,

        That is the definition of a hybrid, possibly moreso than a dual-drive parallel style hybrid system.

        If it has gas on board, AND batteries on board, it is a hybrid.

        If it didn't have a fuel tank, it would be electric. If it didn't have batteries, it would be a Cruze in a fancy body.
        • 5 Years Ago
        While the volt is the obvious step up from hybrids (as it eliminates the need for gas all together for a certain distance), GM still needs to bridge the gap. The Volt won't be selling in mass quantities just yet so it is wise for GM to do this. Hopefully they will be quick about it and be able to compete with other companies soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it could be Impala. GM has a knack for big-ass hybrids. Plus they recently announced that a new Impala won't be out until 2013.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to come out with a real hybrid, because the Malibu and Vue hybrids are a joke.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For that to work, though, the package would still have needed to cost much less than it did (certainly less than a well-equipped V6 model) and/or provided more than a 2-4 MPG benefit over the cheaper, smoother-driving base model.

        The "mild hybrids" weren't just a problem of perception, but of GM underestimating the customer. They counted on the hippy-dippy "green" crowd throwing their money at shiny "Hybrid" badges without doing any sort of cost-benefit analysis, which simply didn't happen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or like Honda which dropped the first Insight because nobody was buying it, dropped the Accord Hybrid because people weren't warm to the idea of a "high performance" hybrid, and now the new Insight hybrid where people (and Consumer Reports) are realizing that it's a cheap tin can.
        • 5 Years Ago
        *shaking my head*....


        GM: JUST never really getting it right the first time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think GM's biggest mistake with the Malibu and Aura mild-hybrids is calling them hybrids. They should have just referred to it as a start/stop package or something. Rather than being criticized for making "crappy hybrids" they would have been lauded for having an innovated system that squeezes out a few more MPGs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Their dedicated hybrids will be ignored and remain unsold.

      The Volt will be hated and remain unsold.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As you say O wise one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      50 billion dollars of our money stolen by Obama to fund GM and THEY STILL move at a snails pace.

      GM has never been at the forefront of anything! 2011 for a hybrid?
      ...3 years to bring the camaro to market?
      ...God knows how long to do the Volt.
      ....and on and on.

      This is the same old GM, just owned by the government now. Nobody should feel good about any of this.

      Prediction: in 10 years GM will be doing this all over again, how many times can a company promise to change and reinvent itself???

      The writing is on the wall people, are you going to read it or keep acting like nothing is wrong while Obama ruins this once great country???
        • 5 Years Ago
        Riiight, and the US was supposed to be dead 3 months from Obama's confirmation?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with your points. But Bush authorized the initial bailouts; Obama simply expanded and accelerated them.

        And I think GM's next demise will be much sooner than 10 years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just out of curiosity, is there any indication that their mild hybrid system provides benefits beyond what the EPA numbers indicate? Mostly I'm interested in its ability to save gas when stuck in traffic, because my daily commute is roughly half grid-lock on Route 1 in New Jersey. It seems like the EPA cycle doesn't tell me whether or not I could save gas wasted by sitting in traffic.

      Any current owners out there care to chime in?
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they can get such impressive numbers out of the new Equinox (which I checked out at a dealer and was VERY impressed) than they should have no problem producing a real competitor.

      This is a good move.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well there's two different approaches going on, one's the age old less powerful smaller displacement mill for better fuel economy (in the general sense, not restricted to the General's lineup), the other's completely different. I'm hoping they can pull it off, though they don't have a ton of experience in this field like say Toyota, that doesn't mean they can't try. GM's doing a lot of good right now, vast improvements in interior quality, big steps in exterior design, it makes sense to start really focusing on engine and drive train for their next push.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's always interesting to see what kind of crap I will be subsidizing and losing my shorts on.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All the best,GM.
      • 5 Years Ago
      By the time GM enters the market, the Hybrid Fad will have gone away. :p
        • 5 Years Ago
        "By the time GM enters the market, the Hybrid Fad will have gone away."

        One can only hope.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem isn't that the Malibu and Vue hybrids were mild hybrids. All of Honda's hybrids AFAIK are also mild hybrids. The difference is that Honda's hybrids get fuel economy comparable to full hybrids with similar displacements and cylinder counts; the GM mild hybrids only get marginally better fuel economy than their similar-cylinder-count/displacement gasoline-engined brethren for a lot more money.
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