The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu will be offered in a hybrid version that uses an adaptation of GM’s Voltec plug-in hybrid system.
This will be the third generation of Malibu Hybrids, but the previous two had only a “mild hybrid” system that assists the gas engine. The new ‘bu is a “strong hybrid,” and can drive at up to 55 miles per hour on electricity alone.
The new hybrid shares most of its powertrain with the 2016 Volt, but has an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, as opposed to the Volt’s 18.4 kWh pack. It shares power electronics and a blended regenerative braking system with the Volt.
The Malibu Hybrid uses a direct-injection 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors that are “slightly modified” versions of those in the 2016 Volt. Total power output is 182 hp (136 kW).
“Besides leveraging innovation from the Chevrolet Volt, the Malibu Hybrid also has unique features that help improve aerodynamics, like upper and lower grille air shutters to improve airflow and a reduced ride height, all of which help reduce fuel consumption,” said Jesse Ortega, Chevrolet Malibu Chief Engineer.
Chevy says the new model will offer a combined fuel economy rating over 45 mpg – higher than competitors such as the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrids.
Using the same electric powertrain components in multiple models should give GM great opportunities to achieve economies of scale – even more so as the company is expected to add several other hybrid models to its lineup over the next few years.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will be built at GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, and is scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2016.