Here’s some news on a few cars. I will try and put another piece together on the Malibu Hybrid beyond the brief story here.
New Chevrolet Spark
By Phillippe Crowe
Chevrolet has redesigned the Spark city car for 2016.
Based on a brand new architecture, the 2016 version of this city car will have a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height about 1.6 inches lower than the current model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency, stated Chevy.
“At its core, the new Spark is still the fun, agile urban car that made the first-generation model so popular, but it delivers that fun driving experience with greater sophistication,” said Sam Basile, executive chief engineer. “And while it’s a truly global car, it is targeted for more developed vehicle markets, allowing engineers to focus more precisely on the materials and technologies that resonate with customers in those markets.”
The new Spark will be powered by an all-new Ecotec 1.4 liter four cylinder engine combined to a choice of either manual or continuously variable (CVT) transmissions. The engine’s 98 horsepower represents a 16-percent increase over the current model.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Test Drive Review
GM estimated this new Spark will return 40 mpg on the highway with the available CVT. This is the only mpg figure the automaker is at this time announcing.
Chevy explained the new 1.4 liter engine features an aluminum cylinder block and head, which helps reduce the vehicle’s overall mass to enhance performance and efficiency. The cylinder head also incorporates an integrated exhaust manifold, which further reduces weight – an attribute that contributes to increased vehicle efficiency and a more favorable front-to-rear weight balance, for a more responsive driving experience.
Safety-wise, the Spark will be available with Side Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert. The Spark will also incorporate next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen.
The 2016 Spark will be offered in more than 40 markets around the world and will be produced at GM’s Changwon, South Korea assembly facility.
It will go on sale in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015. No word yet on whether the EV version will soldier on the previous gen or will migrate to the new for 2016 architecture.
Jeff’s note — The Spark EV will carry forth as is, and not get the redesign as speculators believed. Does that mean the Bolt will replace it? GM’s comment: No Comment! But you can do your own figuring from the handwriting written on the wall.
2016 Malibu Hybrid Promises 47 MPG
Today from New York General Motors announced its 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will achieve 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway, and 47 mpg combined making it one of the most efficient family sedans on offer in the U.S.
The estimate is not U.S. EPA verified, but per GM is expected to be officially backed up by EPA test certifications for the car that now fills a gap formerly occupied by only mild hybrids against several more-competitive full hybrids.
“Fuel efficiency is important to our customers, especially in the midsize segment and with an estimated 48 mpg city rating, the Malibu Hybrid delivers,” said GM President Dan Ammann of the car that borrows technology from the Chevy Volt.
The new Malibu is being refreshed relatively early in the product life cycle of the lineup that was all new just a few years ago. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter direct-injected engine merged with 2-motor electric drive unit modified from its use in the 1.5-liter 2016 Volt
A 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery comprised of 80 cells provides energy storage and up to 55 mph all-electric drive. Range for electric drive has not yet been disclosed but this size battery is on par with other hybrids capable of under two-miles EV range, if not just one mile.
Really, this is a regular hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid known for a stretch of electric range, and its efficiency is had by teetering between electric and gas drive with system controls that aim for maximum fuel economy for the car rated with 182 total system horsepower.
It of course will also share regenerative braking and other power electronics as a non-plug in, but “full” hybrid.
The car that’s to be manufactured in Kansas City, Kansas, at the Fairfax Assembly plant is due in showrooms spring 2016.
Industry watchers are reacting positively to GM’s decision to make use of the plug-in Volt’s system in non-plugged form – with tweaks for the midsize Malibu – and the hope is this has brought GM’s segment representative into greater competitiveness.
Formerly, GM has prompted articles asking how serious it was about electrification with no full hybrids and its cost-saving and comparatively milquetoast eAssist mild hybrids.
The automaker now joins on the EPA’s list of most-efficient family sedans the likes of Ford’s now 42-mpg rated Fusion which Ford originally self-certified at 47 mpg as well, but later revised.
Others in the midsized segment are the top-selling 41-mpg Toyota Camry Hybrid which was extensively updated this year, as well as the revised Hyundai Sonata, and pending revised Kia Optima Hybrid.
Honda’s also quite-impressive 47-mpg Accord Hybrid is technically in this class of family sedan although the EPA does count it as one class size bigger as a “large” sedan.
The new Malibu is restyled and updated throughout aside from the hybrid powertrain. That GM is serious about meeting the competitors in this tight segment is clear.
One little tidbit I’ll add here is GM did plan the Malibu from the inception of its redesign of the Gen-2 Volt’s 2-motor drive train, says head engineer Daryl Wilson.
How tough would it be to make it a PHEV? Not tough at all!
Does GM intend to do this? Its comment: No comment! (and “I wish I could tell you” said Pam Fletcher of all GM has up its sleeve on the general question of electrification.
Cadillac Will Discontinue the ELR
According to Cadillac brand president Johan de Nysschen, the automaker which is believed to have revised the ELR for 2016 will elect not to continue the Volt-based model.
“The ELR will continue through its lifecycle,” he said to AutoGuide in New York this week, however, “I don’t’ think we will create a next-generation, compact, two-door, gorgeously styled alternative powertrain successor to ELR.”
The “gorgeously styled” ELR also sold just 1,310 units last year being a compact 2+2 with 37 miles EV range and 33 mpg combined in premium gas-burning operation.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Cadillac ELR Review – Video
It was left unclear when the production will end and the news did catch GM media reps by surprise who have told us the ELR is due to continue, revised, next year. Those plans for the updated ELR do appear still in the works, de Nysschen’s comment would apply to after this updated ELR still in generation one’s life cycle continues.
A press announcement that was supposed to have been made in Geneva has otherwise been delayed on the revised ELR but a reasonable assumption would be it could get drivetrain updates from the 2016 Volt.
After that, if de Nysschen’s statement comes through as it sounds, the ELR could be no more but we shall see.
de Nysschen’s comment was on the occasion of bigger news for Cadillac today – the revelation of its new flagship CT6.
March Volt Sales Sees Leaf Edge It Out In Cumulative Sales To Date
Chevrolet sold 639 Volts and Nissan sold 1,817 Leafs in March.
We knew this was coming, and it has: The Leaf (for now) leads in sales since both cars’ December 2010 launch with 76,407 Leafs to the Volt’s 75,231.
What this matters is in question, as the Leaf is a BEV and the Volt is an EREV.
Look for the summer to see the Volt’s sales surge.
The new aluminum-intensive Cadillac flagship, the CT6 – Cadillac Touring 6 – was revealed this week in New York.
The AWD vehicle is longer than a BMW 7-series and weighs like a BMW 5-series.
Powered by a 3.0-liter twin turbo with 400 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet torque – or a 2.0-liter turbo or 3.6-liter naturally aspirated engine – Cadillac now headquartered in the city where it was revealed wants this to be a no-excuses world car.
That means benchmarks like the big Bimmer and opulent M-B S class are competitors it aims to take customers from.
To please said customers with German tastes, Cadillac has equipped the new flagship with wood, carbon fiber, leather, massaging seats, twin high-def screens on the rear headrests, night vision with pedestrian recognition, and a Bose 34-speaker Panaray stereo.
No word was made of a certain plug-in hybrid variant but a little bird told me we should all look to April 21 for news to come forth on that iteration.
The Chinese are driving the market for PHEVs. The minimum AER (under their test cycle) is 50 km. On the EPA cycle it would be less than that cycle that is more a match for NEDC and not EPA.