Chevrolet announced that it is creating a hybrid version of the Malibu sedan for next year, borrowing technology from the Volt to build the hybrid’s powertrain.
The Malibu Hybrid takes technology from the Volt, but its overall powertrain will be brand new. For the base drive unit, engineers are using a slightly modified system from the Volt. Components such as the regenerative braking system and power electronics will also carry over.
Chevrolet is introducing new technology as well. The Malibu Hybrid will house the brand’s first engine fitted with Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery and Exhaust Gas Recirculation. These systems extract heat from the exhaust to warm the engine for better fuel economy. It also warms the cabin area in cold weather.
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Powering Chevy’s new hybrid is a direct-injection 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with an overall output of 182 horsepower. This is somewhat beefier than the 2015 Volt’s 1.4-liter engine and its total output of 149 horsepower.
Rounding out the Malibu’s electric setup is an 80-cell, 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. When running in all-electric mode, the Malibu Hybrid can reach up to 55 miles per hour.
Fuel economy is pretty even in both cars, with a slight edge for the new powertrain. The Malibu Hybrid’s predicted 45 mpg tops the 2016 Volt’s EPA-rated 41 mpg. Chevrolet didn’t post an all-electric range for the Malibu Hybrid (the Volt, for reference, has an emission-free range of 50 miles).
“The 2016 Malibu Hybrid will offer impressive fuel economy, exceptional driving characteristics and gorgeous styling,” said Jesse Ortega, Chevrolet Malibu chief engineer.
“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,” Ortega said.
Chevrolet hasn’t released pictures of the design for the new Malibu Hybrid yet (pictured above is the 2015 Malibu), but said it plans to deliver the sedans to dealers starting in the spring of 2016.