2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Borrows Some Volt Technology


2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teaser

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teaser

Tomorrow, General Motors will unveil its 2016 Chevrolet Malibu at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Ahead of the big reveal, GM released some details on the “strong” hybrid version of the new Malibu.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Powertrain

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Powertrain

Normally, a conventional hybrid (no plug) wouldn’t interest us, but this one does for one reason: “Using technology from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt propulsion system, Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg.”

The trickle-down effect? Or would it be trickle-up?

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Battery

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Battery

Here’s how GM explains the Volt connection:

An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.

Malibu Hybrid also shares power electronics from the 2016 Volt and a blended regenerative braking system, which provides maximum kinetic energy recovery during braking to be stored into the battery system to help maintain charge.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Engine

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Engine

Full press release on the 2016 Malibu Hybrid below.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Derives Technology from Volt
GM estimates combined fuel economy ratings to exceed 45 mpg

DETROIT – Chevrolet’s recent production announcement of its all-electric vehicle based on the Bolt EV concept, as well as the introduction of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, will be joined by a strong hybrid version of the next-generation Malibu.

Using technology from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt propulsion system, Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg, higher than the combined mileage ratings of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrid variants.

“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.

An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.

The engine also features Chevrolet’s first application of Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery, or EGHR, technology, which uses exhaust heat to warm the engine and cabin. EGHR improves engine warm up and assures consistent fuel economy performance in cold weather. Additional fuel economy benefits come from Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR.

An 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electric power to the Hybrid system. The advanced lithium-ion based chemistry can power the Malibu hybrid at up to 55 miles per hour on electricity alone. The gasoline-powered engine will automatically come on at higher speeds and high loads when necessary to provide additional power.

Malibu Hybrid also shares power electronics from the 2016 Volt and a blended regenerative braking system, which provides maximum kinetic energy recovery during braking to be stored into the battery system to help maintain charge.

The Malibu Hybrid will be manufactured in Kansas City, Kansas, at the Fairfax Assembly plant from globally sourced parts. It is due in Chevrolet dealer showrooms in spring 2016

Categories: Chevrolet

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

70 Comments on "2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Borrows Some Volt Technology"

newest oldest most voted

I’ve been saying all along this new GM transmission is a big winner. Putting it in other cars in GM’s line up makes it even cheaper and should allow a lower cost for the Volt.

The tranny could even be used in an EREV silverado pick up.

The motors would have to be scaled up. For larger vehicles more likely limited to hybrids. Still have issues with packaging two propulsion systems.

Not using rare earth elements or using very small amounts is a huge winner.

Not really. It has a larger gas engine. If the gas engine can come on to help accelerate, then it just means the car will have less power in EV mode. But compared to vehicles like the Fusion Energi, it should still do well.

He’s talking about an EREV Silverado. That would require the motors to provide full performance.

But why not give it a plug? Hmm

Your kidding right?
You know the final drive (diff) is driven by a Chain.
I think gear to gear would be better on a Silverado size vehicle.

PS love that new cutaway.

Great. Now that the Impala has been selling for a year or two with a four cyl engine, put this in it and shoehorn in a 30 kwh battery for 50-75 mile all electric range in it.

At $50,000 for a decent trim (batteries don’t cost anywhere near what they used to), they’d have a pretty-much electric vehicle at 1/2 the price of Tesla and very similar interiors. They would literally sell like crazy. Its already rated CU’s best Large Sedan. Of course since it would NOT be 0-60 in 1/2 second they’d hate it, but then I for one am not overly concerned.

If I can figure this out how come the Great-Brains at GM are ‘Challenged’?

I think GM wants to move forward cautiously on this. Voltec is clearly a great drivetrain, but that doesn’t mean you can start throwing it in everything.

The Malibu is a good start. I think by the time Voltec 3.0 rolls around, it (or variants) will be as widespread throughout GM’s car line as the Hybrid Synergy Drive is through Toyota’s.

Oh, oh, sorry, of course not. Just because it was COMMONPLACE 50 years ago, that’s so old-fashioned and we wouldn’t want to use any of those concepts, even though strangely GM was much more profitable back then.

The ‘big six 250 cu in / 3 speed manual or 2 speed powerglide automatic’ was used basically unchanged in:

Sports cars (Camaro)
Small cars (Chevy II, later NOVA)
Mid size (Chevelle, later Malibu – uh no relation)
Large cars (Biscayne, Bel Aire, Impala, Caprice)

as well as all the station wagon (thats Cross overs for you younger types) variants.

And later on, this was cross pollinated amoungst all the GM divisions, sans Cadillac.

We wouldn’t want to use something off the shelf when we can have fun spending millions of $$$ we don’t have and making something basically the same as we already have, since If we don’t invent the wheel, we won’t need to hire another 50,000 engineers.

You realize that Voltec, as a technology, has been in production service for less than 5 years, right?

Toyota didn’t start throwing THS in everything they make 5 years after the Prius came out. In fact, THS/HSD wasn’t really widespread until the Gen2 Prius was a huge success. And while the Volt has done well relative to other EVs, it’s nowhere near that level of market penetration yet.

There is still this pervasive belief in the EV community that GM is somehow trying to undermine or torpedo the EV market, and that they are holding back their EV tech for some nefarious reason. Why is it so hard for people to believe that GM’s execs actually want to beat Toyota in the fuel-efficiency space?

There is nothing “nefarious” about legacy auto makers not wanting to offer EVs that will compete with their own best selling cars. This isn’t about attitude, nor is it some vast conspiracy. It’s just business, that’s all. From the viewpoint of GM stockholders, one can hardly blame them for not offering compelling EVs in large numbers.

The only way any “conspiracy theory” comes in here is when people try to deny reality: The reality that legacy auto makers have a strong disincentive to make and sell compelling EVs in large numbers.

“The competition out there is a joke. Tesla’s cars DO NOT compete against other electric cars. First off, the electric cars out there are not remotely in the class of Tesla’s vehicles. Second, Model S (and the coming MX, M3) are aimed at the best-in-segment ICE cars and there is absolutely NO indication any ICE carmaker intends to cannibalize their highest margin, most successful ICE product by offering similarly competitive high-end, high performance BEVs.” –Randy Carlson

The idea that any automakers would not want to sell cars “that compete with its own cars” is bizarre and absurd. So why did Toyota introduce the Prius, if hybrids would just “cannibalize” existing Camry and Corolla sales?

I’m still waiting for the conspiracy-minded EV advocates to explain why GM or Nissan should care about EV drivetrain proliferation vs. ICE drivetrain dominance, and more importantly, why they would invest BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in EV development if they have a vested interest in EVs failing.

It seems to me that Nissan and GM have everything to gain from EV proliferation, especially since they are clearly going to have a long-range mass-market BEV in production before anyone else (including Tesla).

GM Execs may want to, but some of those guys I don’t trust. Such as the Cadillac Boss who says new product over the next 5 years will ‘Transform Cadillac’. This sounds like someone who can make a “Small Fortune” out of a large fortune. Caddy sales overall are way down in an up market since this guy’s been put in charge, and, he’s stated in the past his hatred of ev’s. Toyota has been successful with the Prius. Of course then people here totally bash them when they talk about hydrogen. So, the number of toyota boosters you are going to find here is limited. But that issue is separate from the points I made, which your reply is just a deflection. Bring up a tertiary issue to buttress your case. You would think a car company would want to leverage their product to the extent they can, seeing as volatile gasoline prices will one day make people swing back toward hybrids and ev’s. As it is, the next time gas is at $5/4qt gallon, GM will have no product to introduce people to EV’s other than the Volt. No product for people who need to deliver Refrigerators. No… Read more »

I agree Bill, that would be a very attractive package.

Presumably the Voltec drive will show up somewhere else after the Malibu.

And the manufacture of a few 100,000 thirty kwh battery packs would make a few idle battery plants start getting busy.

Plus Lear could make alot more 3.3 or 3.6 kw chargers, although for an Impala I’d at least hope they’d offer a 6 kw or dual 3.3’s as an option so that people at public charging setups would feel they’re getting their money’s worth.

The Malibu Hybrid might cannibalize the 2016 Volt’s sales in states with high electric rates. In the northeast US, with $.20 per kWh electricity and $2.40 per gallon gasoline it’s actually cheaper to drive the 45+ mpg Chevy Malibu Hybrid than it is to drive the 2016 Chevy Volt on either electricity or gasoline.

Part of the sales pitch for the Volt should be “gas price volatility”. Yes, gas is now $2.40. This time last year it was $4.00. Next year it will be ??? Do your electric rates hop around like that? Do you want to roll the dice that gas will always be $2.40? huh? do ya?

Do your gambling in Vegas. Everywhere else – play it safe – buy a Volt…

@Hvac man
huh? do ya?

Are you quoting Dirty Harry?

Pretty good

well do ya punk?

(not that Sven’s a punk)

No, I wasn’t poking at Sven – just hypothesizing a sales pitch. I didn’t even realize I was channeling Clint Eastwood. LOL! Yeah, GM, forget Tim the toolman Taylor. Get Clint Eastwood for your Next Gen Volt spokesman….

Sales will depend on (be greatly influenced by) the MRSP of both vehicles and the difference in MSRP between them. Many people who don’t qualify for the EV tax credit will not want to pay for the added cost of the Volt’s battery, and will opt instead for the hybrid drive train of the larger Malibu Hybrid.

To play devil’s advocate, I crunched the numbers. Even at $4.00/gallon gasoline and $.20/kWh electricity, the difference in annual fueling costs between a Malibu Hybrid and 2016 Volt is only about $350 if the Volt is powered solely on electricity, and LESS if powered partially on gasoline since the Mailibu Hybrid has a higher 45+ MPG combined rating than the 41 MPG combined rating the 2016 Volt will get in charge sustain mode. The costs assume fueleconomy dot gov/m figures of 15,000 annual miles with 45% highway and 55% city driving.

I substituted the 47 MPG combined Accord Hybrid for the 45+ MPG combined Malibu Hybrid, and substituted the 105 MPGe combined Kia Soul Electric for the 102 MPGe combined 2016 Volt.

Annual fueling costs:
At $4.00/gal gasoline & $.20/kWh electric

2015 Soul Electric: $950
2015 Accord Hybrid: $1,300



As I said above, the argument for EREV’s need to get beyond the old messages of green-ness and short term energy cost economics. All of the above hybrids,even the Malibu, you still need to stop at a gas station every two weeks or so, step outside in the heat or snow or rain, scan your credit card,get gas smell on your hands, etc. With the Next Gen Volt – that probably will be 10 times a year, and buy about 8 gallons each time. That should be a jaw-dropping figure.

$.20/kWh is almost double the US. average, and maybe 3x off-peak electric rates.

$.20/kWh is the going electric rate in the northeast US.

Electric rates by state:

My electric utility provider, Con Ed, does not offer TOU metering and off-peak rates. A couple of years ago I called up Con Ed and asked if they had any Time of Use plans. The service rep asked me: “What’s a TOU plan?” After I explained to her about TOU and off-peak rates, she incredulously said to me: “Now why would we want to charge you less for electricity?” True story.

Con Ed is the same electric utility that in 1962 tried to build a freakin’ nuclear power plant 300 feet away from Manhattan in Queens on the banks of the East River!!! That plan was shot down by community opposition. But undaunted, Con Ed for over a decade continued to try to get the nuclear power plant built elsewhere in NYC.

Obviously, I have no love for Con Ed.


OH I just (LOVE talking about Consolidated Edison Stories. Firstly, they tried to power into a shorted transmission line” “AHEM! We’re CON ED !!!! We can power ANYTHING”. That led to a chain of events that shut down the entire northeast power grid in 1965. A few years later the CEO of the company said “We’re in the best shape infrastructure wise that we’ve ever been!!!”. This was one week before a much longer blackout of NY City only (this time, the other utilities got smart, and cut the ropes early so not to go down with the idiotic ConEd Ship again.) ConEd put emergency peaking plants all over the burroughs so that, in their thinking, another systemic blackout would be impossible. Unfortunately, the Pressurized Oil-filled cables interconnecting the peaking plants with the main interconnections at large were pressurized by small oil pumps run off the normal network, so that in the event of the power failure, none of the cables would be pressurized and they’d all short out!! So they had all this ‘backup’ and no way to get to it. Geniuses. Then, NYC dwellers pay 20 cents / kwh or more, ostensibly since much is underground. But if… Read more »

You’re the second person in the last week I’ve seen cite “$0.20/kWh” as some sort of average electricity rate in the Northeast. I asked for references last time and got nothing.

As for your claim that ConEd does not offer TOU rates:


Their off-peak rates are $0.0136/kWh, which basically detonates your entire line of argument. Unless we go back to Clinton-era sub-$1 gasoline, EVs win easily.

As for your uninformed ConEd service rep: the reason why utilities are willing to charge less during off-peak is so they can charge MORE during peak. This is not rocket science.

SD, you keep criticizing others, Sven here for instance, when you are making larger mistakes than the trivial misstatements SVEN makes. He’s saying 20 cents/kwh average. And you are saying under 1.5 cents/kwh.

Actually, per ConEd’s time of use calculator, you are horribly misinformed.

SVEN might have more of a feel for what he pays, since he pays his own electric bill.

According to to CE’s calculator, non-tou is around 31 cents/kwh. THIRTY-ONE.

If you sign up for the 18 month minimum TOU, the ABSOLUTE CHEAPEST RATE on avg is 14 cents/kwh from midnight to 8 am.

Peak is 42 cents/kwh, SUPERPEAK (2-6 pm summer) is $1.20/kwh. TEN TIMES what I pay for 24/7/365 service. It varies from 8-10 times, but you get the point.

THe 1.36 cents/kwh you quoted is the off-peak delivery charge only, which doesn’t include the variable energy charges here in NY State.

So SVEN was grossly UNDERSTATING what he really pays. Far from exaggerating, its actually FAR WORSE.

Its only because upstate places like Buffalo have much more reasonable rates that NY State as a whole is 20 cents/kwh. Which was the gist of SVEN’s comment.

You’re right: one needs to click through to the calculator to find the actual rates (for the TOU plan that Sven just said was non-existent). I don’t know if I would agree that the existence of a TOU plan is a “trivial misstatement” while the costs of that plan are a huge omission… they both seem like pretty big errors. (But as you said, I don’t pay his bill.)

$0.14/kWh for off-peak is slightly more than PG&E charges in CA ($0.10/kWh), and $1.20/kWh for summer superpeak (2p-6p) is about 3x as much as PG&E customers pay for summer peak (2p-9p)… although to be fair, California summers are not quite the same as New York state summers.

To clarify further: CA is the biggest EV market in the nation, and PG&E provides service to most of CA. While I suppose one could make the argument that CA drivers are buying EVs against their own financial interests, it would seem that the charging costs work out for most drivers here.

If you pay 20 cents per kwh then you need to install solar PV.

That’s what I was going to say but solar doesn’t work as well in Mass.

Oh, it works just fine in Mass. Yeah, not as good as it works in the desert southwest but MUCH BETTER than in Germany.


I’m actually waiting for the Solar City gigafactory to be built in my home state to buy some USA made panels and see a return on my NYS tax dollars. 😉 Hopefully, solar City will allow me to buy the panels outright and not lease them.

solar panels will fix the if electric is.20/kw problem. you can lease or own(with a loan) for zero down at least in Maryland you can and electric is only .11/kw here

Big deal for GM. It now has a clear path to strong hybrids for all front wheel cars and, as the energy density of batteries increases, a clear path to making all those vehicles EREVs eligible for Type 0 or even Type I ZEV credits.

Will be interesting to see what happens with RWD cars. Should have a better idea of that when GM unveils the Cadillac CT6.

Shared parts also means lower costs.

CARB scores again.

We (and by we I mean the world) owe a lot to CARB, at least in electric vehicle space

CARB also is owed a ton of blame for the charging standard wars. We had viable inductive charging standard until CARB walked away from it. J1773 way back in 2002.

Yes, they also do lots of things ‘not so well’, but overall I am much happier they have been around the past 10 years than not.

Agreed except make that 20 years for their effect on EV

CARB has been the single most important driver of electric cars, better mileage, and less pollution. In the world. Doesn’t mean everything CARB does works or is right.

While the transaxle may be superior to the Fusion, I’d still much rather have a Fusion Energi because at least it plugs in.

That is entirely possible at some point.

The Voltec flexibility seems to allow both the engine and battery pack sizes to vary widely. Quite a few interesting combinations should be possible.

Here’s a crazy suggestion: one of the auto manufacturers should do something like this with one of their models but not market it. Don’t even call it a hybrid.

I wonder how many people are scared away when they hear “hybrid”, “battery” or “electric motor”.

Part of me thinks if they just switched over without fuss people would be saying, “wow, can you believe how smooth the new Malibu drives!”

Good point. I think some people want to avoid being labelled a tree hugger. Other people associate “hybrid” with “prius” and assume the car will be slow.

This is great. GM needed good hybrid tech. eAssist was crap to put it politely.

Also, nice to see li-ion in a hybrid.

My 13 Optima Hybrid has a lithium ion pack.

“EGHR” -The cool new acronym for coolant running through the exhaust manifold. I believe the 1.5l Volt shares it. I’m more impressed by the shared regenerative system. Volt really got the brake bias right. Regen balances right in, with no front dive. Malibu won’t have the low gravity center, but I gotta think it’s going share smoothness. Trickle down works, with this one.

In other words, GM is just catching up with everyone else’s hybrids. The specs for this are similar to my Optima Hybrid’s.

GM refers to “Volt technology” because that’s all they’ve got. This car doesn’t operate like a Volt at all.

I’m not diminishing this design; I’m just saying they’re late to the game. Hope it’s a nice car.

Doesn’t the Optima Hybrid get 36 city/40 hwy to the Malibu hybrid’s combined more than 45 mpg? I wouldn’t necessarily call those similar specs. The Camry hybrid would be considered similar to the Optima since it gets 43 city/39 hwy.

But a combined north of 45 mpg means the Malibu is probably getting 50 hwy which is 10 mpg more than the Optima.

Not really. A “real” hybrid will typically get better fuel economy in the city than on the highway.

Reverse the numbers then. Point being that the Optima hybrid won’t be considered “similar” to the Malibu hybrid if you look at the numbers being almost 10 mpg better. That’s a pretty big feat when you begin trying to improve numbers past 40 mpg.

Yes, but the difference is when Ford says “47”, people reported 38. GM’s “45” is likely to be 45mpg. -Consider, too, this may be on $.35 cheaper 87 octane.

We don’t know exactly how the Malibu hybrid will work. This is NOT an HSD drive train or anything similar. It has the potential to have a full 185 HP (with the engine-assist) of Next-Gen Voltec-based electric/ICE low-end torque and acceleration. That’s 20% more HP than the 2016 Volt, and the Malibu is 10% lighter than the 2016 Volt. That could mean great 0-60 times for a “hybrid” and neck-snapping 0-30 acceleration. Not your typical econo-car.

I can’t wait to see the specs.

I think we know exactly how it will work. George even wrote an article about it. It’s sort of HSD on steroids.

The big deal is that it seems very scalable.

Of no interest to me personally.

Yes, GM is finally catching up. They leapfrogged with the Volt but I guess people weren’t ready for that. So I guess this is their hybrid drivetrain. I hope it delivers as promised.

They REALLY needed a good hybrid drivetrain. Their eAssist stuff was complete crap.

If by people, you primarily mean GM management and sales then I agree. I agree the bulk of the target consumer was not Volt ready, not looking for an EREV solution. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t/isn’t a good solution for them. Without GM management and sales firmly behind most of their products and certainly all brand new tech, the markets will appear to not be ready when looking through the prism of sales volume alone.

Perhaps I missed it, but I haven’t seen the impact in cargo space due to the battery. That could affect how well it will sell.

Good point – I hope that battery can hide under a seat.

BTW – that battery looks really bulky for 1.5kWh

+1. It looks as big as the gas tank

Doesn’t look any bigger than a Prius or Cmax-hybrid battery pack.

It’s over the rear shaft, hopefully under rear the seat.

Still think they should offer a Plug in variant.
It would be an alternative mainstream buying choice (with the running gear of the Volt)
& for those that like the Malibu Styling / size and packaging…
Another potential opportunity GM …

Specs are great but at what cost. This has to be at least a $5k adder above the Malibu’s base engine and that would likely be without any profit. More likely will be a $6-$7k adder unless they don’t offer a base 4-cyl, which is highly unlikely. With that increase why not add 8.5kw of cells and their cheap charger and give it a real 20 miles of EREV range unlike the competing PHEVs. Problem would be packaging.

Also wish it were 150kw max power so it would be better received as an efficient, luxury, AND performance upgrade. That would better distinguish it from other HEV PHEV competition.

Time for Voltec to break out of the pigeon hole GM has stuffed it in.

While it is not a new plug-in, it is definitely encouraging to see GM offer a ‘strong’ hybrid. I can only hope that this is the tip of the iceberg as far as offering the Voltec powertrain in other vehicles.

I am almost sure that GM has at least a hybrid, if not PHEV CUV/SUV in the works as well.

So they’re actually using the new Voltec drive train instead of a conventional automatic transmission?

If so that’s pretty awesome!

Looking at the cutaway of the battery pack and the view of the chassis, first of all, man that is a big battery pack for just 1.5 kWh! It looks like it takes up nearly the entire width of the space between the rear wheels and is a bit more than a foot tall and a foot and a half front to back!

I must be mistaken in what I think is the battery because there is no way 1.5 kWh is going to take up that much space.

“An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power”. The initial GM press release provides few facts. Could anyone familiar with the voltec drivetrain provide some technical details on the following: 1. “two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Volt”. How would the Volt EREV drive unit need to be modified to work in an HEV? 2. “The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine, for 136 kW of total system power”. How much of that power is coming from the electric motors? Is the total system power limited by the maximum this drive unit can handle, or is it just that the peak power of the ICE & electric motors occur at different revs? It will be interesting to see in future how scaleable the voltec drivetrain turns out to be. GM could win a lot more sales if they are able to fit the voltec drive unit into HEVs, PHEVs & EREVs in a variety of market sectors… Read more »

Malibu exterior and interior styling is similar to the new Volt:

Smooth flowing lines inside and out.
However, like the Volt the low sloping rear roofline might put off some potential buyers.

Trunk looks big enough to give up some space in the hybrid version. I just wonder how
if the hybrid battery will still allow folding back seats.