Published October 10, 2013
Twas stop/start killed the hybrid.
Chevrolet is cancelling the previously announced hybrid version of the redesigned 2014 Malibu sedan.
The move comes after EPA-sanctioned testing found that the updated base model car, now powered by an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that can shut down when the vehicle is stationary, delivers the same fuel economy as the hybrid model: 25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway.
With a starting price of $22,965, the base Malibu costs $3,705 than what the hybrid was set to go on sale for. Along with the identical fuel economy, the conventional engine is also more powerful than the hybrid’s eAssist drivetrain, which combines a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, electric motor and large lithium-ion battery pack that reduces trunk space.
The stop/start system uses two small lead acid batteries that allow the engine to turn off when the car comes to a stop, then immediately starts it when the driver removes his or her foot from the brake. The auxiliary battery recharges under braking like the batteries in a full hybrid car, and powers the vehicle’s systems when the gasoline engine isn’t running.
While last generation hybrid Malibu was marketed as the Malibu Eco, that name will now be applied to the 2.5-liter car, according to a Chevrolet spokesperson. The eAssist system will continue to be used in other GM models, particularly larger ones, including the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse.
The 2014 Malibu is also available with a high-performance 259 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder at a starting price of $27,575.
General Motors also discontinued its full-size hybrid pickup trucks and SUVs for the 2014 model year due in part to low sales, but has not ruled out bringing the technology back to the segment in the future.