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Malibu Eco gets good fuel economy and is cheaper than other midsized hybrids

With lawmakers in Washington setting their eyes on more stringent CAFE standards, Chevrolet is rolling its new 2013 Malibu Eco. The car promises fuel economy very much like that of other hybrids in its class without the extra cost associated with hybrid vehicles.
 
The new Malibu Eco will carry an MSRP of $25,995 when it lands in dealerships in Q1 2012 as a 2013 model -- the MSRP includes the destination charge.
 
 
Chevy calls the Malibu Eco the most fuel-efficient Malibu ever and it is the first Chevy to get the GM eAssist battery electric/gas powertrain. This powertrain uses a 182hp gasoline engine, lithium-ion battery and an electric motor/generator unit. The car also features regenerative braking, electric assist, and uses start-stop functionality to improve fuel economy.
 
To help improve the efficiency the Malibu Eco uses underbody aerodynamic enhancements and shutters in the lower grill that close at higher speeds. The car also shed weight to improve efficient with an aluminum hood, aluminum rear bumper beam, and low mass carpeting and other light components. This helps the Eco come in at 130 pounds lighter than the normal Malibu. 
 
 
The tech inside the car allows it to get fuel ratings estimated by GM to be 26mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway. 
 
That efficiency level allows the Malibu Eco to offer similar highway efficiency compared to other hybrid and diesel cars. The 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid for instance gets 36 mpg (hwy) and sells for $29,395. The 2012 Camry Hybrid gets 39 mpg (hwy) with a MSRP of $26,660, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sells for $26,545 and gets 40 mpg (hwy).

However, the Malibu Eco gets trounced by the competition when it comes to city fuel economy. While the Malibu manages "only" 26mpg in the city, the Fusion Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Sonata Hybrid offer city ratings of 41mpg, 43mpg, and 35mpg respectively.

Source: GM



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Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Sunrise089 on 11/22/2011 1:37:12 PM , Rating: 1
City MPG numbers:

Malibu (estimated) - 26mpg
Camry - 31mpg
Sonata - 35mpg
Fusion - 41mpg

As a general rule "aggressive" hybrids with big batteries and powerful electric motors compared to their gasoline engines get better city mileage than highway, as they use very little fuel around town when they're usually on battery power and getting a lot of regenerative braking juice. On the highway the gas engine is usually on, so hybrids aren't much more efficient than equal size/weight/power conventional gas or diesel vehicles.

This means if you're commuting long distances on the highway this Malibu might be a good pick, but it's important to note the base Malibu already gets 33mpg and costs a lot less.

If you spend tons of time in stop-and-go traffic (taxi drivers are the best example) the Malibu may not deliver as much savings as one might expect.




RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Reclaimer77 on 11/22/2011 1:43:51 PM , Rating: 1
That's the problem with the proposed insane CAFE requirements. They allow no compromise. This Malibu features a crazy list of technological innovation, and still doesn't even meet the future CAFE numbers. Because it's a mid-sized sedan that people would actually want to own, not a tiny econobox, it fails to hit the numbers.

Automakers will be forced to choose between cars people want, and those they're legally bound to provide or pay a penalty. Guess which one will win?


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By idiot77 on 11/22/2011 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 1
The ones people want because they'll pay the penalty.

Oh... burn. I don't think that's the answer you wanted was it?


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Keeir on 11/22/2011 2:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
Or more accurately.

Automakers will continue to focus on models people want, but raise the prices to try to control market preference. Eventually cars that people want will also be much more profitable than the smaller cars people do not want, such that product choices and RD will be focused on these larger and more profitable automobiles at the expense of the smaller cars. Eventually the smaller offering will be such low quality you essentially have to give them away or lose money, but you have to keep pumping them out to keep selling your high profit items. Of course, a rapid shift in market prefernce could leave your company high and dry...

Oh wait, that already happened once. I give it ~5-10 years till the big American Cars companies are back at the same game.

Wish the Government would not force Automakers to determine customer preference. If we (the voters) feel that our preferences must be determined for us, maybe just have the Government out and out do it rather than created a convoluted scheme so we don't even see how we are paying significant costs and lowering the compeditiness of our domestic companies while giving our politicians a potential corruption point.

End point, niether outcome is really preferable


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By twhittet on 11/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Dorkyman on 11/23/2011 10:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are forgetting that there is an election coming up. Regime Change. CAFE will be rolled back or eliminated.


By Ringold on 11/23/2011 12:22:31 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on the outcome. The public elected a freshman Senator with no real-world experience at all to be president before, they may just re-elect him.


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By cruisin3style on 11/23/2011 3:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
this is innovative tech for 2011, why can't 2025's innovative tech be far superior?


By Reclaimer77 on 11/23/2011 6:27:54 PM , Rating: 1
First of all, I want you to realize that I'm not accepting your premise that it's the Governments job to DECIDE vehicle technology or pick which one wins the market. Ok having said that...

The Prius went on sale in 1997. That's 14 years ago. Ironically enough, it will be 2025 14 years from today.

But think about it, in 14 years there have been practically NO advancements at all in vehicle fuel economy technology beyond hybrid technology. Notice I said "fuel economy", we're leaving EV cars out of this discussion.

So here you are telling me that in 14 more years, we're magically going to meet these numbers while not being forced into EV's are tiny death trap cars? Based on WHAT evidence?


By Samus on 11/25/2011 1:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
People can't always have what they want.

I like the McLaren 12C but the restrictions the US Government put on it will destroy its fuel economy and raise its price, so a 'practical' car becomes unpractical, both of which involve a huge economic investment.

But more realistically, the governments in most other industrialized countries regulate cars in such ways its impossible for most people to afford them, so most people settle for something they can afford, which usually gets great fuel economy (fuel efficient vehicles are less-taxed in many countries, making them very affordable.)

Our government should adobt such a technique. Don't punish the manufactures, punish the people who support their gas guzzlers.


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By cknobman on 11/22/2011 2:03:27 PM , Rating: 3
Both you and the author of this article are wrong about the Toyota Camry hybrid.

The 2012 model gets:

City: 43mpg
Hwy: 39mpg
Combined: 41mpg


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Spuke on 11/22/2011 2:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Both you and the author of this article are wrong about the Toyota Camry hybrid.
Yep, they sure do! A friend told me about the new Camry Hybrid last week. Looking for a car for my wife and it just made my list of considerations. Showed the wife and she likes it too. We'll see next year.


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Shig on 11/22/11, Rating: 0
By Keeir on 11/22/2011 3:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
Your post confuses me.

#1. Your making asserations without data (IE, Safety Equipment does not lead to significant cost increases)

#2. You seem to imply that Oil Companies really care/should care about Car Miles per Gallon. (They care about total Oil Usage... )

I doubt the car companies are angry about an RD bill. They are angry about being forced to make people buy cars that people clearly do not want to buy. High MPG cars are a very small fraction of the market. Any business would be pissed to learn they need to take less than 5% of the market and make it the standard even if the consumer demand does not exist.


By Spuke on 11/22/2011 3:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I refuse to believe that car companies cannot deliver a car that is reasonably priced, looks stylish, is of decent size, and can attain the new CAFE standards.
No one's saying they can't including the automakers. They, like most of us, are worried about PRICE. They can make virtually anything, how much are you willing to pay for it? The favorite price here on DT is $15k or so. None of these cars cost anywhere near that nor will they ever. I agree with Keeir on the following:

quote:
Automakers will continue to focus on models people want, but raise the prices to try to control market preference. Eventually cars that people want will also be much more profitable than the smaller cars people do not want, such that product choices and RD will be focused on these larger and more profitable automobiles at the expense of the smaller cars. Eventually the smaller offering will be such low quality you essentially have to give them away or lose money, but you have to keep pumping them out to keep selling your high profit items.


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Solandri on 11/22/2011 9:27:15 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I refuse to believe that car companies cannot deliver a car that is reasonably priced, looks stylish, is of decent size, and can attain the new CAFE standards.

Is it really impossible to imagine a car that has prius level mpg, a mid 20,000$ price tag, but doesn't look like crap and has somewhat respectable performance?
- The Prius' shape emphasizes aerodynamics over style.
- It uses skinny, hard, low rolling resistance tires.
- It uses a 98 hp engine so that it's operating near its most efficient RPM when needed.
- It uses a relatively small 1.3 kWh battery to reduce cost.

What you're asking for - more stylish shape, respectable handling and acceleration - are the very things Toyota had to compromise to get the mileage up to where it is while keeping price in the mid-$20k.

quote:
I think the real reason car companies are so angry is because they always have 100% of the R&D bill, while the oil companies get bigger subsidies and really don't have to help at all.
Can we stop complaining about oil company subsidies already? Their subsidies work out to about half a cent per dollar. Or a bit less than 2 cents per gallon of gas. The Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. The government penalizes them far more than they help.


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By C'DaleRider on 11/23/2011 7:09:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can we stop complaining about oil company subsidies already? Their subsidies work out to about half a cent per dollar. Or a bit less than 2 cents per gallon of gas. The Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. The government penalizes them far more than they help.


Excuse me, but what penalties do the oil companies suffer from? Certainly not the federal excise tax on gasoline which is paid for by the consumer of the gas, not the oil company which supplies the fuel. That tax is directly paid for by consumers, so it's no penalty on the oil company what so ever.

On the other hand, I suppose you think it's fair to subsidize an industry that posts profits (PROFITS....NOT REVENUE!) in the billions every quarter. Remember, profits are after all expenses are deducted from the revenue....exploration, R&D, employee expenses, equipment expenses, etc.

And I guess it's more important to subsidize an industry that's having no problems posting profits that climb quarter after quarter despite oil consumption dropping or stagnant quarter after quarter.

Yep, more important to spend our precious tax dollars supporting an industry that needs no tax payer support at all instead of ensuring the health and productivity of its citizens...something that would have immediate and positive effects throughout the economy.


By Schrag4 on 11/23/2011 1:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
On the other hand, I suppose you think it's fair to subsidize an industry that posts profits (PROFITS....NOT REVENUE!) in the billions every quarter.


The amount in profits (billions as you say) is meaningless. Profit margin is a much more meaningful statistic. Those billions only amount to a 8-9% profit margin. Why complain that they're able to to provide what we all so desperately need so efficiently? Oh yeah, because it's fasionable.

quote:
Yep, more important to spend our precious tax dollars supporting an industry that needs no tax payer support at all instead of ensuring the health and productivity of its citizens ...something that would have immediate and positive effects throughout the economy.


I think many fiscal conservatives would generally agree with you. Heck, even the best performing oil companies would LOVE to do away with subsidies (as their competition would suffer more than they would). Why should ANY industry be getting subsidies? Not only that, but other industries are getting far sweeter deals. Ever heard of GE? What about the "Green" industry? Again, I think you're just picking on oil companies because it's fashionable.

What do you mean exactly by "ensuring the health and productivity of its citizens?" That part has me really curious, because usually people on the left want the govt to ensure the health of citizens but not their productivity (and you might argue it's the other way around for people on the right). How do you ensure productivity? The only way I see to do that would be to eliminate entitlements so people have to go out and get a job. Of course there's always the option of forcing lowly citizens to work in factories against their will, in which case the govt would have a more direct interest in keeping productivity up. Is that what you meant?


RE: Depends what you need, but watch city MPG
By Keeir on 11/23/2011 2:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
Someone really is missing some basic economic principles.

Lets try to place things in context.

The number one driver of progress in human well-being and happiness is economic expansion. Economic expansion happens when labor and capital are used effectively to provide the goods and service that are required for well-being and happiness. It really doesn't matter -what- these goods and services are, just that people place more value on them then other goods and services that cost the same.

So how can "we" as a society ensure that labor and capital is used effectively? We attach a promise of "profits" to the individuals who are best at aligning goods and services produced to goods and services demanded. Now, I am not saying "Greed is Good"... but Honest Greed is indeed helpful for everyone. There is a line in the sand though... the economic "game" is not played just once. Its played everyday, week, year, decade, etc. There are also unintended consquences of actions, often called "externalities" which can be both good and bad.

The function of government (a capitist one anyway) in the economy is to ensure that the future costs of economic games are taken into account in present transactions, provide economic information, and to ensure appropriate externalities are accounted for...

Oil and Gas companies are affected by all three aspects of governance. For one example, Government provides Oil and Gas companies with "subsidies" in the form of R&D grants, Tax Breaks, etc to try to tie future benefits with today's economic game. Oil and Gas recieve no special favors or extreme help. This clearly refects that the Government (US anyway) does not percieve a significant injustice in the game or dramatic future benefits. For the second example, Government taxes directly at dispensing a very high tax rate for Oil and Gas products sold to consumers. This tax is due to the increased burden on the government to provide roads, emergency services, etc, etc that go hand in hand with car usage. BTW, if gas taxes ARE sufficient to maintain roads. But often local government uses gas taxes to fund marginally related projects. The US government also provides a wealth of information about Oil and Gas products.

Now, you may feel the government should place no value on assisting some companies. But that ignores the fundamental method of subsidy which encourages specific spending items. You should consider these items and the potential reduction in these areas if the US government were to reduce them. For example, say an Oil and Gas company is research more enivormentally sound drilling practices. Something that many would feel should be researched. If just because its an Oil and Gas company, it doesn't recieve the same benifits as an independant company doing the same research, that would mean the Oil and Gas company will spend less resources on the research... even though they would seem to have a compeditive advantage in performing the research. The effect of remove the "subsidy" would be less research by prime companies in enviromentally friendly drilling. Is that a "good" outcome?

Now, some will argue that the US is becoming more "socialist" by offering large subsidies to direct economic activity. I disagree somewhat with that assesment. In a socialist government, the government takes a direct hand in the economic choices of individual companies rather than defining a fair and even playing field. Of course, the government can if it choses create such an unlevel playing field it might as well issue the type of directives found in socialist governments.

The real question is... would you prefer Congress to set the price of Oil and Gas and try to ensure no one makes a (real) profit providing goods or would you prefer that individual companies compete to bring Oil and Gas to you? I just don't trust US Government to ever be able to handle the question appropriately. (Even in Europe, countries just tax oil and gas and let the companies make the money they will...)


By karielash on 12/23/2011 9:17:49 AM , Rating: 1
Oh god, the web dick strikes.Maybe you should stay off Wikipedia.


By Dr of crap on 11/22/2011 3:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
And what is missing from this AD... sorry article?
What is the cost of the "normal" non e-assit Malibu?
Just because it is priced less then the hybrids they compare it to doesn't make it a better deal.
The non e-assit gets 33mpg and at what cost savings?

My guess your better off with the normal one.


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