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  1. Volkswagen has made their plans clear of introducing a number of full electric vehicles beginning with the I.D. next year. But the company is also planning to electrify a number of models beginning with the next-generation Golf. This week at the International Vienna Motor Symposium, Volkswagen unveiled a 48-volt mild hybrid system currently under development for the Mk. 8 Golf. The system is comprised of a 48-volt belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-volt battery. This will allow for an enhanced stop-start system, brake regeneration, and engine-off coasting. Volkswagen made specific mention of the last feature as it would save 0.3 liters of gas over 100 kilometers - not a lot, but every little bit helps. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience. We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream,” said Volkswagen's Member of the Board of Management for VW Passenger Cars, Dr. Frank Welsch. It is expected that Volkswagen will reveal the Mk.8 Golf sometime next year. Source: Volkswagen Volkswagen to offer electrified versions of its models Extensive hybrid programme for the next Golf is the starting point for the comprehensive electrification of conventional drives New 48-V mild hybrid is the first step into the world of efficient electrified models 48-V starter generator is a versatile all-rounder Volkswagen is to launch an electric version of its globally best-selling vehicle – the Volkswagen Golf, offering a sustainable, efficient and powerful alternative. The introduction of innovative, new hybrid systems in the eighth generation of Golf vehicles marks a new era for the brand with regard to drive technology. In the future, Volkswagen will gradually electrify almost every vehicle in its range of models. The company is offering a first look at the future of electrified drive systems as part of the International Vienna Motor Symposium – one of the world’s most important congresses on the automotive technology of today and the future. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience”, says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Technical Development. Welsch continues: “We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream”. Volkswagen will combine the combustion engine with a 48-V belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-V battery. This sustainable combination represents the gateway to the future of Volkswagen hybrid models. The 48-V mild hybrid makes it possible to “coast” with the combustion engine completely switched off, thereby saving up to 0.3 litres of fuel over 100 kilometres. Moreover, this mild-hybrid solution offers much improved dynamics and convenience as a result of providing an electric boost upon start-up. The science behind 48-V technology 48-V technology represents a new chapter in engine design, enabling drives to be electrified in a cost-efficient manner. The 48-V system will be used in vehicles in addition to the well-known 12-V system. In the case of very small wire cross-sections and a lightweight wiring harness, the 48-V system enables a considerably higher amount of energy to be saved than the 12-V system, e.g. via recuperation when the vehicle brakes. This high level of voltage enables a number of operations, including the actuation of the 48-V belt-integrated starter generator. The starter-generator is a true all-rounder. On the one hand, the generator performs the role of alternator and starter. At the same time, it functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases drive torque upon start-up by means of an electric boost. The power of the generator is transferred via a belt. The generator also starts the combustion engine – which is switched off as much as possible while the vehicle is moving – in a barely perceptible way. Another versatile element is the 48-V lithium-ion battery. The battery is supplied with energy during a number of operations, including recuperation – i.e. when the vehicle slows down. The starter generator receives the necessary voltage via the battery and the 12-V power supply receives the required voltage via the “DC/DC converter”. Welsch continues: “The basic interaction of different energy sources – electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas – represents a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. For the first time, the company will simultaneously offer product lines such as the Golf with conventional, electrically assisted drives as well as product lines such as the I.D. with purely electrical drives in the future”. This will result in the product lines diverging into two branches which are nevertheless equal. This new product strategy will come into play for the first time from 2019 onwards with the launch of the next generation of the Golf and the first I.D. – two compact Volkswagen vehicles with completely separate technical concepts as well as clearly different design make-ups. With these two product lines, Volkswagen is seizing the opportunity to democratise the electrification of vehicles. View full article
  2. Volkswagen has made their plans clear of introducing a number of full electric vehicles beginning with the I.D. next year. But the company is also planning to electrify a number of models beginning with the next-generation Golf. This week at the International Vienna Motor Symposium, Volkswagen unveiled a 48-volt mild hybrid system currently under development for the Mk. 8 Golf. The system is comprised of a 48-volt belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-volt battery. This will allow for an enhanced stop-start system, brake regeneration, and engine-off coasting. Volkswagen made specific mention of the last feature as it would save 0.3 liters of gas over 100 kilometers - not a lot, but every little bit helps. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience. We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream,” said Volkswagen's Member of the Board of Management for VW Passenger Cars, Dr. Frank Welsch. It is expected that Volkswagen will reveal the Mk.8 Golf sometime next year. Source: Volkswagen Volkswagen to offer electrified versions of its models Extensive hybrid programme for the next Golf is the starting point for the comprehensive electrification of conventional drives New 48-V mild hybrid is the first step into the world of efficient electrified models 48-V starter generator is a versatile all-rounder Volkswagen is to launch an electric version of its globally best-selling vehicle – the Volkswagen Golf, offering a sustainable, efficient and powerful alternative. The introduction of innovative, new hybrid systems in the eighth generation of Golf vehicles marks a new era for the brand with regard to drive technology. In the future, Volkswagen will gradually electrify almost every vehicle in its range of models. The company is offering a first look at the future of electrified drive systems as part of the International Vienna Motor Symposium – one of the world’s most important congresses on the automotive technology of today and the future. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience”, says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Technical Development. Welsch continues: “We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream”. Volkswagen will combine the combustion engine with a 48-V belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-V battery. This sustainable combination represents the gateway to the future of Volkswagen hybrid models. The 48-V mild hybrid makes it possible to “coast” with the combustion engine completely switched off, thereby saving up to 0.3 litres of fuel over 100 kilometres. Moreover, this mild-hybrid solution offers much improved dynamics and convenience as a result of providing an electric boost upon start-up. The science behind 48-V technology 48-V technology represents a new chapter in engine design, enabling drives to be electrified in a cost-efficient manner. The 48-V system will be used in vehicles in addition to the well-known 12-V system. In the case of very small wire cross-sections and a lightweight wiring harness, the 48-V system enables a considerably higher amount of energy to be saved than the 12-V system, e.g. via recuperation when the vehicle brakes. This high level of voltage enables a number of operations, including the actuation of the 48-V belt-integrated starter generator. The starter-generator is a true all-rounder. On the one hand, the generator performs the role of alternator and starter. At the same time, it functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases drive torque upon start-up by means of an electric boost. The power of the generator is transferred via a belt. The generator also starts the combustion engine – which is switched off as much as possible while the vehicle is moving – in a barely perceptible way. Another versatile element is the 48-V lithium-ion battery. The battery is supplied with energy during a number of operations, including recuperation – i.e. when the vehicle slows down. The starter generator receives the necessary voltage via the battery and the 12-V power supply receives the required voltage via the “DC/DC converter”. Welsch continues: “The basic interaction of different energy sources – electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas – represents a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. For the first time, the company will simultaneously offer product lines such as the Golf with conventional, electrically assisted drives as well as product lines such as the I.D. with purely electrical drives in the future”. This will result in the product lines diverging into two branches which are nevertheless equal. This new product strategy will come into play for the first time from 2019 onwards with the launch of the next generation of the Golf and the first I.D. – two compact Volkswagen vehicles with completely separate technical concepts as well as clearly different design make-ups. With these two product lines, Volkswagen is seizing the opportunity to democratise the electrification of vehicles.
  3. As Ford wraps up European production of the Focus RS next month, rumors are beginning to swirl about the next-generation. Dutch publication Auto International reports the next-generation Focus RS will be packing 400 horsepower via a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The report alleges that the turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder used in the current model will carry over, but will feature a larger starter motor for the hybrid system. Torque will rise to 394 pound-feet. A six-speed manual will be the standard transmission, but Auto International reports a dual-clutch transmission is in the cards for certain markets. There is some credence to this rumor as Ford is planning to electrify a number of models in the coming years, including the F-150 and Mustang. No time frame was given as to when the next Focus RS will debut, but considering the new Focus will debut next month, we're expecting it will be sometime after 2020. Source: Auto International View full article
  4. William Maley

    Rumorpile: Next Ford Focus RS Could Go Hybrid

    As Ford wraps up European production of the Focus RS next month, rumors are beginning to swirl about the next-generation. Dutch publication Auto International reports the next-generation Focus RS will be packing 400 horsepower via a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The report alleges that the turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder used in the current model will carry over, but will feature a larger starter motor for the hybrid system. Torque will rise to 394 pound-feet. A six-speed manual will be the standard transmission, but Auto International reports a dual-clutch transmission is in the cards for certain markets. There is some credence to this rumor as Ford is planning to electrify a number of models in the coming years, including the F-150 and Mustang. No time frame was given as to when the next Focus RS will debut, but considering the new Focus will debut next month, we're expecting it will be sometime after 2020. Source: Auto International
  5. Alfa Romeo will soon be adding another SUV to sit alongside the Stelvio. Auto Express has learned that Alfa has approved plans for a mid-size SUV to take on the likes of the Audi A7, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz GLE. The new SUV will use a stretched version of Stelvio's platform. "The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little big bigger?" said Alfa’s chief technical officer Roberto Fedeli. Compared to the Stelvio, the new SUV will weigh about 200 Kg (about 441 pounds) more. But the increased weight could be offset by a mild-hybrid powertrain that will combine a turbocharged four-cylinder and 48-volt electrical system. “We have to marry the new car with the right level of electrification. Plug-in hybrid could be a problem for the Alfa DNA point of view, but for instance a 48-volt mild hybrid solution is something that we can do without losing anything,” said Fedeli. “I’m quite happy about the result we have obtained coupling a four-cylinder with the 48-volt e-turbo - I think next time we can also use it in production. With a 2.0-litre turbo engine you can achieve around 350 to 400bhp. We are driving on a simulator a car like that, we are working on it, and the result is not so bad. Auto Express says the new SUV is two years out from production, meaning we could see it as early as 2019 or 2020. Source: Auto Express View full article
  6. William Maley

    Alfa Romeo Begins Work On A Larger SUV

    Alfa Romeo will soon be adding another SUV to sit alongside the Stelvio. Auto Express has learned that Alfa has approved plans for a mid-size SUV to take on the likes of the Audi A7, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz GLE. The new SUV will use a stretched version of Stelvio's platform. "The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little big bigger?" said Alfa’s chief technical officer Roberto Fedeli. Compared to the Stelvio, the new SUV will weigh about 200 Kg (about 441 pounds) more. But the increased weight could be offset by a mild-hybrid powertrain that will combine a turbocharged four-cylinder and 48-volt electrical system. “We have to marry the new car with the right level of electrification. Plug-in hybrid could be a problem for the Alfa DNA point of view, but for instance a 48-volt mild hybrid solution is something that we can do without losing anything,” said Fedeli. “I’m quite happy about the result we have obtained coupling a four-cylinder with the 48-volt e-turbo - I think next time we can also use it in production. With a 2.0-litre turbo engine you can achieve around 350 to 400bhp. We are driving on a simulator a car like that, we are working on it, and the result is not so bad. Auto Express says the new SUV is two years out from production, meaning we could see it as early as 2019 or 2020. Source: Auto Express
  7. Volvo made a stunning announcement this morning as it plans to equip all of their vehicles with an electric motor beginning in 2019. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car. Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it,” said Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson in a statement. Volvo is planning to launch five EVs between 2019 and 2021 - two of those coming from Polestar . They'll be complemented by a range of mild-hybrid with 48-volt electric systems and plug-in hybrid models. “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish,” said Samuelsson. Source: Volvo Press Release is on Page 2 Volvo Cars to go all electric Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business. The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history. “This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.” Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars. It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date. These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker. This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor, as pure ICE cars are gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.” The announcement underlines Volvo Cars’ commitment to minimising its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner. Volvo Cars is focused on reducing the carbon emissions of both its products as well as its operations. It aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. The decision also follows this month’s announcement that Volvo Cars will turn Polestar into a new separately-branded electrified global high performance car company. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, will lead Polestar as Chief Executive Officer. View full article
  8. Volvo made a stunning announcement this morning as it plans to equip all of their vehicles with an electric motor beginning in 2019. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car. Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it,” said Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson in a statement. Volvo is planning to launch five EVs between 2019 and 2021 - two of those coming from Polestar . They'll be complemented by a range of mild-hybrid with 48-volt electric systems and plug-in hybrid models. “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish,” said Samuelsson. Source: Volvo Press Release is on Page 2 Volvo Cars to go all electric Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business. The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history. “This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.” Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars. It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date. These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker. This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor, as pure ICE cars are gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.” The announcement underlines Volvo Cars’ commitment to minimising its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner. Volvo Cars is focused on reducing the carbon emissions of both its products as well as its operations. It aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. The decision also follows this month’s announcement that Volvo Cars will turn Polestar into a new separately-branded electrified global high performance car company. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, will lead Polestar as Chief Executive Officer.
  9. Whenever someone brings up hybrid and GM's pickups, we're reminded of the two-mode hybrid system GM installed on the last-generation Silverado and Sierra that only delivered negligible gains in fuel economy. But GM is giving the hybrid truck another go with the introduction of an eAssist powertrain on the Silverado and Sierra. The eAssist system comprises of a small electric motor (13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque) and 0.45-kWh battery pack. This is paired with the 5.3L V8. Power figures stand at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque (no increase in horsepower, but an increase of 3 pound-feet). The system only adds an additional 100 pounds to the overall weight. In terms of overall fuel economy, GM says the eAssist boosts fuel economy from 16 City/22 Highway/20 Combined mpg to 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined mpg. Other pluses for the eAssist include a stop-start system, the ability to run the engine on four-cylinders for a longer time, and regenerative brakes that can feed power to various accessories. The eAssist powertrain only adds $500 to the price of a Silverado or Sierra. All good news? Not exactly. The only way you can get the eAssist system is by either ordering a two-wheel drive version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1LT crew cab or GMC Sierra SLT crew cab with the SLT Premium Plus package. Also, GM is only offering this in California. Finally, GM is only building 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras with the eAssist. GM says this is test and "will monitor the market closely... and adjust as appropriate moving forward." Source: Chevrolet, GMC Press Release is on Page 2 Chevrolet Introduces 2016 Silverado With eAssist New mild-hybrid system delivers 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, based on EPA city estimates DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that a select number of 2016 Chevrolet Silverados will be offered with eAssist technology. The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of innovative electric vehicles – including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13 percent better fuel economy in city driving. “Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy,” said Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevrolet Trucks. “For customers and small-business owners who use their trucks for more urban driving, the addition of eAssist can further reduce their fuel costs without sacrificing the utility they expect in a full-size truck.” The compact, lightweight system increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds, and delivers an additional 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor. The eAssist propulsion system, including the 8-speed automatic transmission, will be a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim. Initially, Chevrolet will offer approximately 500 Silverado eAssist trucks for the 2016 model year, exclusively through California dealers. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet will adjust production for 2017 model year. The eAssist Silverado adds another piece to Chevrolet’s growing electrification portfolio - from all-electrics like the Chevrolet Spark EV and Bolt EV (slated to begin production in late 2016), to extended-range electrics like the Chevrolet Volt, to full-hybrids like Malibu Hybrid, and mild-hybrids like Silverado eAssist. Technology developed from new Malibu Hybrid and Volt The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission to provide: Electric Power Boost: The on-board electric motor provides up to 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of supplemental power during acceleration and passing. The electric motor also enables the Active Fuel Management system on the 5.3L V-8 engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods, resulting in additional fuel economy benefits. Stop/Start capability: Added fuel savings are achieved by seamlessly turning the engine off when stopped at a traffic light or in congested traffic and turning the engine back on when the accelerator is pressed. Regenerative Braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system. These features deliver a 13 percent improvement in city fuel economy, based on EPA estimates. The 2016 Silverado eAssist will have an EPA estimated 18 mpg city, a 2 mpg improvement over the equivalent Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8 and 8-speed automatic. EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Silverado eAssist is 24 mpg, while the combined rating is 20 mpg. Power for the eAssist system is supplied by a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the center console (or front bench seat) that uses the same battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. It weighs nearly 15 percent less than the previous generation eAssist system, yet provides up to 15 kW of power to the electric motor. A reengineered power inverter module is now liquid cooled and moved underhood for improved packaging and performance. The software used to control the battery system is based off a modified version of the software for the Chevrolet Volt. The compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides peak regen capability of 15kW resulting from advanced software controls based off those used in the Volt. The motor, which features a stator design leveraged from the Volt and Malibu Hybrid, acts like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb.-ft. (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high-load situations. This new generation of eAssist is also more modular than the previous system, meaning it could be more easily used in front-wheel or rear-wheel drive drivetrain configurations and it’s capable of using more or fewer cells, based on power needs for each vehicle application. GMC Introduces 2016 Sierra with eAssist Technologically advanced premium truck offers greater efficiency, capability DETROIT – Building on GMC Sierra’s advanced powertrain technologies, new eAssist technology enhances its position as one of the industry’s most innovative and capable trucks, helping it achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy – and solidifying its segment-best ranking for V8 efficiency. Starting this spring, the new eAssist system is exclusively available on the already well-equipped 2016 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD model with the SLT Premium Plus package. For 2016, we will monitor the market closely, producing 200 Sierra eAssist models for California, and adjust as appropriate moving forward. “Innovative technology that enhances capability is at the core of everything we do at GMC and the new Sierra with eAssist takes it to a higher level,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “Its advantages are delivered in a compromise-free package that enables real-world fuel savings with premium content that provides a very high level of refinement, comfort and connectivity.” Compared to a comparable Sierra 1500 with a 5.3L/eight-speed powertrain, the Sierra with eAssist offers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city – a 2-mpg improvement – while highway fuel economy improves 2 mpg to 24 mpg. The combined estimate improves 2 mpg to 20 mpg. The 5.3L eAssist V8 has a GM estimated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The new eAssist powertrain is available in the Sierra SLT crew cab with the up-level Premium Plus package, a package that is also available with the standard 5.3L non- eAssist engine and the 6.2L V8 engine. The SLT Premium Plus package includes an extensive list of premium technologies and features: High-performance LED headlamps, LED taillamps and thin-profile LED foglamps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone) IntelliLink with navigation and 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen Bose premium audio system Wireless phone charging Heated and vented leather-appointed seats Heated steering wheel Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert IntelliBeam headlamps Front and Rear Park Assist Rear Vision camera. The max trailering rating is 9,400 lbs. and the Eaton locking rear differential is standard, for sure-footed traction on slippery surfaces. eAssist details The Sierra’s eAssist powertrain is a light electrification system leveraging General Motors’ latest electrification technologies. It builds on the advanced technologies of the 5.3L V8 engine, including direct injection, variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), complementing them with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to enhance efficiency through: Stop/Start capability: Additional fuel savings are achieved by turning off the engine when stopped at a stop light or heavy traffic and restarting the engine when the driver lifts his or her foot from the brake pedal Electric power boost: The on-board electric motor provides a power boost during acceleration and passing, while enabling the engine to operate in four-cylinder mode for longer periods, for additional fuel savings Regenerative braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system Aero enhancements: A 6 percent improvement in aerodynamics contributes to fuel economy due to a standard soft tonneau cover and automatic grille shutters, which can close at speeds over 30 mph in order to further reduce drag and fuel consumption. The eAssist system includes a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located under the center console (or front bench seat). It adds only about 100 pounds to the vehicle’s curb weight. A compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides 15 kW of peak regenerative capability, thanks to advanced software controls based on the Chevrolet Volt. It performs like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high load situations. There’s also a liquid-cooled power inverter module located under the hood. View full article
  10. Whenever someone brings up hybrid and GM's pickups, we're reminded of the two-mode hybrid system GM installed on the last-generation Silverado and Sierra that only delivered negligible gains in fuel economy. But GM is giving the hybrid truck another go with the introduction of an eAssist powertrain on the Silverado and Sierra. The eAssist system comprises of a small electric motor (13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque) and 0.45-kWh battery pack. This is paired with the 5.3L V8. Power figures stand at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque (no increase in horsepower, but an increase of 3 pound-feet). The system only adds an additional 100 pounds to the overall weight. In terms of overall fuel economy, GM says the eAssist boosts fuel economy from 16 City/22 Highway/20 Combined mpg to 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined mpg. Other pluses for the eAssist include a stop-start system, the ability to run the engine on four-cylinders for a longer time, and regenerative brakes that can feed power to various accessories. The eAssist powertrain only adds $500 to the price of a Silverado or Sierra. All good news? Not exactly. The only way you can get the eAssist system is by either ordering a two-wheel drive version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1LT crew cab or GMC Sierra SLT crew cab with the SLT Premium Plus package. Also, GM is only offering this in California. Finally, GM is only building 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras with the eAssist. GM says this is test and "will monitor the market closely... and adjust as appropriate moving forward." Source: Chevrolet, GMC Press Release is on Page 2 Chevrolet Introduces 2016 Silverado With eAssist New mild-hybrid system delivers 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, based on EPA city estimates DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that a select number of 2016 Chevrolet Silverados will be offered with eAssist technology. The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of innovative electric vehicles – including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13 percent better fuel economy in city driving. “Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy,” said Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevrolet Trucks. “For customers and small-business owners who use their trucks for more urban driving, the addition of eAssist can further reduce their fuel costs without sacrificing the utility they expect in a full-size truck.” The compact, lightweight system increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds, and delivers an additional 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor. The eAssist propulsion system, including the 8-speed automatic transmission, will be a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim. Initially, Chevrolet will offer approximately 500 Silverado eAssist trucks for the 2016 model year, exclusively through California dealers. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet will adjust production for 2017 model year. The eAssist Silverado adds another piece to Chevrolet’s growing electrification portfolio - from all-electrics like the Chevrolet Spark EV and Bolt EV (slated to begin production in late 2016), to extended-range electrics like the Chevrolet Volt, to full-hybrids like Malibu Hybrid, and mild-hybrids like Silverado eAssist. Technology developed from new Malibu Hybrid and Volt The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission to provide: Electric Power Boost: The on-board electric motor provides up to 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of supplemental power during acceleration and passing. The electric motor also enables the Active Fuel Management system on the 5.3L V-8 engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods, resulting in additional fuel economy benefits. Stop/Start capability: Added fuel savings are achieved by seamlessly turning the engine off when stopped at a traffic light or in congested traffic and turning the engine back on when the accelerator is pressed. Regenerative Braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system. These features deliver a 13 percent improvement in city fuel economy, based on EPA estimates. The 2016 Silverado eAssist will have an EPA estimated 18 mpg city, a 2 mpg improvement over the equivalent Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8 and 8-speed automatic. EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Silverado eAssist is 24 mpg, while the combined rating is 20 mpg. Power for the eAssist system is supplied by a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the center console (or front bench seat) that uses the same battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. It weighs nearly 15 percent less than the previous generation eAssist system, yet provides up to 15 kW of power to the electric motor. A reengineered power inverter module is now liquid cooled and moved underhood for improved packaging and performance. The software used to control the battery system is based off a modified version of the software for the Chevrolet Volt. The compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides peak regen capability of 15kW resulting from advanced software controls based off those used in the Volt. The motor, which features a stator design leveraged from the Volt and Malibu Hybrid, acts like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb.-ft. (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high-load situations. This new generation of eAssist is also more modular than the previous system, meaning it could be more easily used in front-wheel or rear-wheel drive drivetrain configurations and it’s capable of using more or fewer cells, based on power needs for each vehicle application. GMC Introduces 2016 Sierra with eAssist Technologically advanced premium truck offers greater efficiency, capability DETROIT – Building on GMC Sierra’s advanced powertrain technologies, new eAssist technology enhances its position as one of the industry’s most innovative and capable trucks, helping it achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy – and solidifying its segment-best ranking for V8 efficiency. Starting this spring, the new eAssist system is exclusively available on the already well-equipped 2016 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD model with the SLT Premium Plus package. For 2016, we will monitor the market closely, producing 200 Sierra eAssist models for California, and adjust as appropriate moving forward. “Innovative technology that enhances capability is at the core of everything we do at GMC and the new Sierra with eAssist takes it to a higher level,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “Its advantages are delivered in a compromise-free package that enables real-world fuel savings with premium content that provides a very high level of refinement, comfort and connectivity.” Compared to a comparable Sierra 1500 with a 5.3L/eight-speed powertrain, the Sierra with eAssist offers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city – a 2-mpg improvement – while highway fuel economy improves 2 mpg to 24 mpg. The combined estimate improves 2 mpg to 20 mpg. The 5.3L eAssist V8 has a GM estimated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The new eAssist powertrain is available in the Sierra SLT crew cab with the up-level Premium Plus package, a package that is also available with the standard 5.3L non- eAssist engine and the 6.2L V8 engine. The SLT Premium Plus package includes an extensive list of premium technologies and features: High-performance LED headlamps, LED taillamps and thin-profile LED foglamps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone) IntelliLink with navigation and 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen Bose premium audio system Wireless phone charging Heated and vented leather-appointed seats Heated steering wheel Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert IntelliBeam headlamps Front and Rear Park Assist Rear Vision camera. The max trailering rating is 9,400 lbs. and the Eaton locking rear differential is standard, for sure-footed traction on slippery surfaces. eAssist details The Sierra’s eAssist powertrain is a light electrification system leveraging General Motors’ latest electrification technologies. It builds on the advanced technologies of the 5.3L V8 engine, including direct injection, variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), complementing them with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to enhance efficiency through: Stop/Start capability: Additional fuel savings are achieved by turning off the engine when stopped at a stop light or heavy traffic and restarting the engine when the driver lifts his or her foot from the brake pedal Electric power boost: The on-board electric motor provides a power boost during acceleration and passing, while enabling the engine to operate in four-cylinder mode for longer periods, for additional fuel savings Regenerative braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system Aero enhancements: A 6 percent improvement in aerodynamics contributes to fuel economy due to a standard soft tonneau cover and automatic grille shutters, which can close at speeds over 30 mph in order to further reduce drag and fuel consumption. The eAssist system includes a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located under the center console (or front bench seat). It adds only about 100 pounds to the vehicle’s curb weight. A compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides 15 kW of peak regenerative capability, thanks to advanced software controls based on the Chevrolet Volt. It performs like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high load situations. There’s also a liquid-cooled power inverter module located under the hood.
  11. Drew Dowdell

    2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Now that the Sonic and Cruze have launched, by all accounts, successfully, Chevy is eager finish up the upper two models in its family car lineup. This 2013 Malibu Eco marks the three quarter mark on this refresh project while the Impala awaits its turn for 2014. The outgoing Malibu was on the large end of the mid-size scale, nearly approaching big brother Impala in overall size. And, while not the most feature laden of family cars, it offered a good combination of space, performance, efficiency, and value. In fact, even when viewed next to more modern designs like the Kia Optima and Toyota Camry, the 2012 Malibu was still an attractive and handsome car, especially in upper trims. That generation of Malibu had fairly good reports for build quality and reliability as well. Chevy could likely have gotten away with a minor styling refresh with some power train updates and kept that model on sale for another two years. Instead, Chevy decided to push the new Malibu out sooner in spite of not all of the engines being ready at launch. So instead of a full Malibu lineup, the car was launched in only the Eco trim which comes only with a mild hybrid setup GM called eAssist. I sampled the eAssist set up in the 2012 Buick Lacrosse back in January where I achieved an astounding 36mpg highway and 27mpg city. I was impressed with the performance of the eAssist because it gave the 4-cylinder gasoline engine more of a smooth V6 feel while rolling around town yet was still able to get to those fuel efficiency numbers without employing one of the more expensive full-hybrid configurations in a car that is not at all light weight. So the 2013 Malibu has two main tasks to convince me of: First prove that it is better than the outgoing Malibu and second perform at least equal or better than the bigger and heavier Buick Lacrosse eAssist. A few weeks ago, you got William Maley’s review on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco and now it is my turn. Is the new Malibu up to the two tasks I have set out for it? Next up: How is the Malibu inside? As GM’s value brand, it is Chevy’s job to offer good value for the money. Clocking in at an eye popping $29,380 as tested, this Malibu has a number of nice features, but a notably absent one at this price being a full navigation system instead of just OnStar turn-by-turn. In the prior model, the only navigation option was OnStar, but the rest of the car upped the value quotient with a lot of car for your dollar with good passenger space and plenty of trunk room. With the new Impala coming, Chevy had to kick the Malibu down a notch in size and shaved 4.5 inches out of the wheelbase while trimming exterior length by just 2/10ths of an inch. I know we usually start our tour with the driver’s position, but this 4.5 inch drop has the largest impact on rear seat passengers. Chevy claims it was able to keep rear legroom about the same by the numbers, but I wasn't able to find it. Rear leg room is on the tight side and even though I’m only 5’10”, my knees were almost in the back of the front seat. In fact, knee room feels roughly on par with the Malibu’s little brother Cruze. The Cruze get there by having cutouts in the rear of the front seat. It seems to me this same trick could have been employed to get a little more room for the Malibu, but no such luck. Even the Jetta, a car that should not even be playing in this size class, has a good bit more leg room than the Malibu. Headroom in back is merely acceptable, but don’t be much taller than I am. Those wishing for a rear center armrest that the previous model lacked finally get their wish fulfilled. The rear seats themselves are firmly supportive and comfortable. Moving up to the pilot’s position, we are greeted with a new take on Chevy’s dual cowl dashboard. The design is now split horizontally with black plastic ribbing inside the split and a thin chrome strip running through the center. No one’s pictures (especially mine) do the design justice, but it does look very attractive in person especially when the night time ambient lighting kicks on. The plood on the steering wheel, doors, and center console looks especially fake with the dark veins of grain looking printed on almost to the point of being pixilated. The large oval center stack dominates and the camaro-esque instrument panel gives a nod to the Malibu’s sportier cousin. Controls on the center stack are laid out logically and have a high quality feel to them. An attractive addition is the active backlight behind the controls that gives a swooshing lighting effect when you make adjustments on certain dials. Chevy’s MyLink system is here and it is simple enough to use for even the most technically inept. I did find the response from the touch screen to be rather laggy, but otherwise I experienced no bugs. There is a compartment under the MyLink screen which would be useful for storing your MP3 player or smart phone if Chevy had included a USB port inside. Without that, the smart phone was relegated to the center console. The only thing I found the compartment useful for was storing my toll transponder. The HVAC system is more than up to the task of cooling the cabin rapidly. There are two modes for the system : Eco and Comfort. Eco will allow the eAssist system to stop the gas engine when the car has come to a stop, in effect stopping the cooling ability of the A/C compressor. The Comfort setting will continue to run the engine to keep the cabin cool. Being somewhat eco conscious, I kept the setting in Eco, however the car seemed to want to override my selection from time to time and bump back into Comfort. If outside temperatures are over about 85 degrees Fahrenheit you will probably want to keep the car in Comfort as cabin temperature can rise rapidly at a long light. Interior build quality is not one of the new Malibu’s strong suits. I found numerous assembly defects in my test vehicle. Frankly, given the great strides GM has made on its interiors lately, the number and severity of the defects in this Malibu was shocking. Hitting heavy turbulence, I noticed the instrument pod had a bit of extra shake to it. After poking at that I found the cover just peels back. Even just small amounts of pressure was able to move part of the dash on the passenger side around, and just a one handed small tug pulled the whole piece off. The carpet on the passenger side was not installed correctly, leaving a large gap in the foot well. Interior panel gaps were misaligned all over. I’m not sure how this particular car ever passed Q/C much less end up in the press fleet. Next up: Can we judge a book by its cover? With a new model comes new exterior styling as well. Personally, I felt the dearly departed previous generation Malibu to be one of the most handsome vehicles in the segment. If I were in the market, I could have written a check for the LTZ without remorse. Out front Chevy butched up the face of the Malibu with a lot more creases and folds. Rather than one subtle crease in the hood like the previous model, Chevy upped the ante with no less than 7 folds of the metal making up just the hood. It has to be a very expensive part to produce and on my example it did line up perfectly. In fact, all of the body panels lined up well with tight gaps. Around back, Chevy incorporated more Camaro into the tail lights. Taken as a whole, I like the overall more masculine effect. It’s not better or worse than the previous body, just a different style. If I had any specific complaint about the exterior, it is that the 17” aluminum wheels look too small, but that is likely a compromise for Eco’s sake. If you’re expecting to need to haul a lot in the trunk, just wait for a non-Eco model. The battery pack takes up so much room back there you end up with one of the smallest trunks in the class and again bested by Cruze and Jetta. Next up: Yes, but how does the Malibu Eco drive? In spite of the Camaro cues incorporated into various parts of the Malibu design, it isn't especially sporty out on the road. The suspension is more concerned with providing comfort than strong cornering abilities. Out on the highway, the Malibu is a comfortable long distance cruiser soaking up road imperfections before they infiltrate the cabin. One of the reasons you can buy a 2013 Malibu today rather than having to waiting till the fall is because GM management at the highest levels decided to push the car out early in spite of not all engines being ready for production. Since the 2.4 liter Ecotec with eAssist was the only engine ready to go at launch time desired by management. This put Chevy in the disadvantage of having its new midsize entry come with an initial base price thousands of dollars above the competition. Functionally, the eAssist starts and runs like any other engine out there available. During light acceleration conditions, the 15 horsepower electric motor adds some twist to the wheels to help out the gas engine and save some fuel. The additional power mostly comes on at lower speeds, giving the 4-cylinder a more torquey feel that one might expect from a V6. On the highway, the system will give slight boost to crest light waves in the highway while regenerating the battery on the downside of the hill. The transition between assist and regeneration is absolutely seamless and, unless you have one of the power train displays up, you will have no idea what is going on under the hood. When stopping at a light, the eAssist will also stop the gasoline engine unless the HVAC system is set to Comfort as mentioned above or if the engine is not yet at operating temperature. Full throttle acceleration is not what I would call brisk. Swing the tach too far past the 4,000 mark and the engine seems to run out of breath. Don’t expect much help from the electric motor at that point either, its 15 horsepower only goes so far. While I appreciated the eAssist in the Buick Lacrosse back in January, the lack of Buick’s quiet tuning was quite apparent here with much more engine noise entering the cabin. Brake feel has the same lack of feedback that nearly every hybrid I've driven has. There were a couple of times when coming to a stop that I rolled out further than I expected to due to this lack of feel. Fuel economy for an “Eco” midsize was terrible. As I mentioned earlier, I left the climate control in Eco mode as much as possible and averaged just 23.7 mpg combined for the week. On one longer trip I hyper-miled it and still was only able to manage 28mpg. There are circa 300 horsepower V6es in heavier cars that can do better than that, Chevrolet’s own Camaro V6 being the most obvious example and Chrysler 300 is another. At first I thought the atrocious fuel economy was a problem limited to one car as I had done substantially better in the Buick Lacrosse eAssist review, however William Maley experienced similar terrible fuel economy during his review of the 2013 Malibu Eco a few weeks ago. In the end, it just reinforces the idea that if Chevrolet went through the hassle of fitting batteries into the car, shouldn't it get substantially better fuel economy than those cars without? Next Up: What it all boils down to... In the end, the 2013 Malibu Eco failed the two tasks I set out for it. The unacceptable build quality of my example ruined any chance of it being judged better than the prior model. The diminish rear seat room that has the Malibu matching with the Jetta and Cruze, the class smallest trunk space, the real world fuel economy below a larger Buick with the same power train, and higher-than-competition base price tag remove the value proposition. About the only thing this Malibu has going for it at the moment is its looks and a decent entertainment system. It is abundantly clear that this was a rush job on GM’s part, a rush job that wasn't even necessary with the already competent, though aging, previous generation Malibu out there for sale and doing good for GM’s reputation. Sorry GM, this one wasn't done cooking before you took it out of the oven. Better see what you can do to salvage things. General Motors provided the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, one tank of fuel, and insurance. Make: Chevrolet Model: Malibu Model Year: 2013 Trim: Eco 2SA Engine: Transversely mounted 2.4 liter 4-cylinder with eAssist Transmission: Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed manual Max horsepower @ RPM: 182 hp @ 6200 rpm Max torque @RPM: 171 lb-ft of torque @ 4900 rpm EPA Fuel Economy: 25 City / 37 Highway Exterior color as tested: Crystal Red Tintcoat Interior color as tested: Cocoa Location of Manufacture: Kansas City, Kansas, USA MSRP as tested: $29,380.00 Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @cheersngears View full article
  12. Drew Dowdell

    2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Now that the Sonic and Cruze have launched, by all accounts, successfully, Chevy is eager finish up the upper two models in its family car lineup. This 2013 Malibu Eco marks the three quarter mark on this refresh project while the Impala awaits its turn for 2014. The outgoing Malibu was on the large end of the mid-size scale, nearly approaching big brother Impala in overall size. And, while not the most feature laden of family cars, it offered a good combination of space, performance, efficiency, and value. In fact, even when viewed next to more modern designs like the Kia Optima and Toyota Camry, the 2012 Malibu was still an attractive and handsome car, especially in upper trims. That generation of Malibu had fairly good reports for build quality and reliability as well. Chevy could likely have gotten away with a minor styling refresh with some power train updates and kept that model on sale for another two years. Instead, Chevy decided to push the new Malibu out sooner in spite of not all of the engines being ready at launch. So instead of a full Malibu lineup, the car was launched in only the Eco trim which comes only with a mild hybrid setup GM called eAssist. I sampled the eAssist set up in the 2012 Buick Lacrosse back in January where I achieved an astounding 36mpg highway and 27mpg city. I was impressed with the performance of the eAssist because it gave the 4-cylinder gasoline engine more of a smooth V6 feel while rolling around town yet was still able to get to those fuel efficiency numbers without employing one of the more expensive full-hybrid configurations in a car that is not at all light weight. So the 2013 Malibu has two main tasks to convince me of: First prove that it is better than the outgoing Malibu and second perform at least equal or better than the bigger and heavier Buick Lacrosse eAssist. A few weeks ago, you got William Maley’s review on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco and now it is my turn. Is the new Malibu up to the two tasks I have set out for it? Next up: How is the Malibu inside? As GM’s value brand, it is Chevy’s job to offer good value for the money. Clocking in at an eye popping $29,380 as tested, this Malibu has a number of nice features, but a notably absent one at this price being a full navigation system instead of just OnStar turn-by-turn. In the prior model, the only navigation option was OnStar, but the rest of the car upped the value quotient with a lot of car for your dollar with good passenger space and plenty of trunk room. With the new Impala coming, Chevy had to kick the Malibu down a notch in size and shaved 4.5 inches out of the wheelbase while trimming exterior length by just 2/10ths of an inch. I know we usually start our tour with the driver’s position, but this 4.5 inch drop has the largest impact on rear seat passengers. Chevy claims it was able to keep rear legroom about the same by the numbers, but I wasn't able to find it. Rear leg room is on the tight side and even though I’m only 5’10”, my knees were almost in the back of the front seat. In fact, knee room feels roughly on par with the Malibu’s little brother Cruze. The Cruze get there by having cutouts in the rear of the front seat. It seems to me this same trick could have been employed to get a little more room for the Malibu, but no such luck. Even the Jetta, a car that should not even be playing in this size class, has a good bit more leg room than the Malibu. Headroom in back is merely acceptable, but don’t be much taller than I am. Those wishing for a rear center armrest that the previous model lacked finally get their wish fulfilled. The rear seats themselves are firmly supportive and comfortable. Moving up to the pilot’s position, we are greeted with a new take on Chevy’s dual cowl dashboard. The design is now split horizontally with black plastic ribbing inside the split and a thin chrome strip running through the center. No one’s pictures (especially mine) do the design justice, but it does look very attractive in person especially when the night time ambient lighting kicks on. The plood on the steering wheel, doors, and center console looks especially fake with the dark veins of grain looking printed on almost to the point of being pixilated. The large oval center stack dominates and the camaro-esque instrument panel gives a nod to the Malibu’s sportier cousin. Controls on the center stack are laid out logically and have a high quality feel to them. An attractive addition is the active backlight behind the controls that gives a swooshing lighting effect when you make adjustments on certain dials. Chevy’s MyLink system is here and it is simple enough to use for even the most technically inept. I did find the response from the touch screen to be rather laggy, but otherwise I experienced no bugs. There is a compartment under the MyLink screen which would be useful for storing your MP3 player or smart phone if Chevy had included a USB port inside. Without that, the smart phone was relegated to the center console. The only thing I found the compartment useful for was storing my toll transponder. The HVAC system is more than up to the task of cooling the cabin rapidly. There are two modes for the system : Eco and Comfort. Eco will allow the eAssist system to stop the gas engine when the car has come to a stop, in effect stopping the cooling ability of the A/C compressor. The Comfort setting will continue to run the engine to keep the cabin cool. Being somewhat eco conscious, I kept the setting in Eco, however the car seemed to want to override my selection from time to time and bump back into Comfort. If outside temperatures are over about 85 degrees Fahrenheit you will probably want to keep the car in Comfort as cabin temperature can rise rapidly at a long light. Interior build quality is not one of the new Malibu’s strong suits. I found numerous assembly defects in my test vehicle. Frankly, given the great strides GM has made on its interiors lately, the number and severity of the defects in this Malibu was shocking. Hitting heavy turbulence, I noticed the instrument pod had a bit of extra shake to it. After poking at that I found the cover just peels back. Even just small amounts of pressure was able to move part of the dash on the passenger side around, and just a one handed small tug pulled the whole piece off. The carpet on the passenger side was not installed correctly, leaving a large gap in the foot well. Interior panel gaps were misaligned all over. I’m not sure how this particular car ever passed Q/C much less end up in the press fleet. Next up: Can we judge a book by its cover? With a new model comes new exterior styling as well. Personally, I felt the dearly departed previous generation Malibu to be one of the most handsome vehicles in the segment. If I were in the market, I could have written a check for the LTZ without remorse. Out front Chevy butched up the face of the Malibu with a lot more creases and folds. Rather than one subtle crease in the hood like the previous model, Chevy upped the ante with no less than 7 folds of the metal making up just the hood. It has to be a very expensive part to produce and on my example it did line up perfectly. In fact, all of the body panels lined up well with tight gaps. Around back, Chevy incorporated more Camaro into the tail lights. Taken as a whole, I like the overall more masculine effect. It’s not better or worse than the previous body, just a different style. If I had any specific complaint about the exterior, it is that the 17” aluminum wheels look too small, but that is likely a compromise for Eco’s sake. If you’re expecting to need to haul a lot in the trunk, just wait for a non-Eco model. The battery pack takes up so much room back there you end up with one of the smallest trunks in the class and again bested by Cruze and Jetta. Next up: Yes, but how does the Malibu Eco drive? In spite of the Camaro cues incorporated into various parts of the Malibu design, it isn't especially sporty out on the road. The suspension is more concerned with providing comfort than strong cornering abilities. Out on the highway, the Malibu is a comfortable long distance cruiser soaking up road imperfections before they infiltrate the cabin. One of the reasons you can buy a 2013 Malibu today rather than having to waiting till the fall is because GM management at the highest levels decided to push the car out early in spite of not all engines being ready for production. Since the 2.4 liter Ecotec with eAssist was the only engine ready to go at launch time desired by management. This put Chevy in the disadvantage of having its new midsize entry come with an initial base price thousands of dollars above the competition. Functionally, the eAssist starts and runs like any other engine out there available. During light acceleration conditions, the 15 horsepower electric motor adds some twist to the wheels to help out the gas engine and save some fuel. The additional power mostly comes on at lower speeds, giving the 4-cylinder a more torquey feel that one might expect from a V6. On the highway, the system will give slight boost to crest light waves in the highway while regenerating the battery on the downside of the hill. The transition between assist and regeneration is absolutely seamless and, unless you have one of the power train displays up, you will have no idea what is going on under the hood. When stopping at a light, the eAssist will also stop the gasoline engine unless the HVAC system is set to Comfort as mentioned above or if the engine is not yet at operating temperature. Full throttle acceleration is not what I would call brisk. Swing the tach too far past the 4,000 mark and the engine seems to run out of breath. Don’t expect much help from the electric motor at that point either, its 15 horsepower only goes so far. While I appreciated the eAssist in the Buick Lacrosse back in January, the lack of Buick’s quiet tuning was quite apparent here with much more engine noise entering the cabin. Brake feel has the same lack of feedback that nearly every hybrid I've driven has. There were a couple of times when coming to a stop that I rolled out further than I expected to due to this lack of feel. Fuel economy for an “Eco” midsize was terrible. As I mentioned earlier, I left the climate control in Eco mode as much as possible and averaged just 23.7 mpg combined for the week. On one longer trip I hyper-miled it and still was only able to manage 28mpg. There are circa 300 horsepower V6es in heavier cars that can do better than that, Chevrolet’s own Camaro V6 being the most obvious example and Chrysler 300 is another. At first I thought the atrocious fuel economy was a problem limited to one car as I had done substantially better in the Buick Lacrosse eAssist review, however William Maley experienced similar terrible fuel economy during his review of the 2013 Malibu Eco a few weeks ago. In the end, it just reinforces the idea that if Chevrolet went through the hassle of fitting batteries into the car, shouldn't it get substantially better fuel economy than those cars without? Next Up: What it all boils down to... In the end, the 2013 Malibu Eco failed the two tasks I set out for it. The unacceptable build quality of my example ruined any chance of it being judged better than the prior model. The diminish rear seat room that has the Malibu matching with the Jetta and Cruze, the class smallest trunk space, the real world fuel economy below a larger Buick with the same power train, and higher-than-competition base price tag remove the value proposition. About the only thing this Malibu has going for it at the moment is its looks and a decent entertainment system. It is abundantly clear that this was a rush job on GM’s part, a rush job that wasn't even necessary with the already competent, though aging, previous generation Malibu out there for sale and doing good for GM’s reputation. Sorry GM, this one wasn't done cooking before you took it out of the oven. Better see what you can do to salvage things. General Motors provided the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, one tank of fuel, and insurance. Make: Chevrolet Model: Malibu Model Year: 2013 Trim: Eco 2SA Engine: Transversely mounted 2.4 liter 4-cylinder with eAssist Transmission: Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed manual Max horsepower @ RPM: 182 hp @ 6200 rpm Max torque @RPM: 171 lb-ft of torque @ 4900 rpm EPA Fuel Economy: 25 City / 37 Highway Exterior color as tested: Crystal Red Tintcoat Interior color as tested: Cocoa Location of Manufacture: Kansas City, Kansas, USA MSRP as tested: $29,380.00 Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @cheersngears
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 14, 2012 During an event in San Francisco, GM's product chief Mary Barra announced the company their green-car will focus on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. "A major focus for GM's electrification strategy will center on the plug," said Barra. She went onto say that plug-ins offer "a unique opportunity to change the way people commute.” GM's original strategy for green cars included the development of different powertrains, including hybrids. That plan has proven to be too expensive and not efficient. "We need to make educated bets on which technologies hold the most potential for creating values for our customers and our company," said Barra. GM's mild-hybrid system, branded the eAssist system will be sticking around. GM is hoping by 2017 to sell 500,000 vehicles with some sort of electrification. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 14, 2012 During an event in San Francisco, GM's product chief Mary Barra announced the company their green-car will focus on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. "A major focus for GM's electrification strategy will center on the plug," said Barra. She went onto say that plug-ins offer "a unique opportunity to change the way people commute.” GM's original strategy for green cars included the development of different powertrains, including hybrids. That plan has proven to be too expensive and not efficient. "We need to make educated bets on which technologies hold the most potential for creating values for our customers and our company," said Barra. GM's mild-hybrid system, branded the eAssist system will be sticking around. GM is hoping by 2017 to sell 500,000 vehicles with some sort of electrification. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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