We recently had the opportunity to check out one of the latest GM hybrids, the Chevrolet Malibu ECO.
Unlike a traditional hybrid, the ECO is what’s known as a “mild hybrid” that doesn’t use the onboard battery and motor to propel the vehicle.
The GM system leverages the fact that a generator also can be a motor: use it to make current; it’s a generator: feed it current; it’s a motor. When the Malibu comes to a stop, such as at a red light, the conventional 4-cylinder engine shuts off. When it’s time to move again, the GM system’s battery feeds juice to the alternator, which restarts the engine and gets the car moving. This all takes place so quickly, the driver will likely never notice the system working. When the car is in motion, the alternator powers the car’s electrical systems and recharges the on-board battery.
In a week of mixed city and highway driving, we found the Malibu to be a most agreeable car. More important, the Malibu is a well-built car; a testament to the changes that have taken place since GM’s near-death experience.
For the full review, click here.