Tired of making little budget cutbacks because the cost of filling your gas tank just went up again? Not everyone is. Chevrolet Malibu ECO owners are well-protected against fluctuations in fuel prices because the car features fuel-saving technologies that could help pay for those little extras again.
One such solution is literally at their fingertips. Chevy’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan ever features electric power assist steering, which helps to improve fuel economy by up to 2.5 percent compared to conventional hydraulic steering systems. This little change alone can help customers save approximately 12 gallons annually, or about 120 gallons in a 10-year life. At $4 per gallon, that saves about $50 per year or $500 in 10 years.
The system constantly measures the driver’s steering input, adapts to changing road conditions, and helps compensate for slight directional shifts caused by factors such as uneven road surfaces or crosswinds. It also makes low-speed parking maneuvers feel practically effortless, delivers a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds, and can be tuned to various driving modes, such as “comfort” and “sport” in some models. It even helps reduce vibrations that transfer through the steering wheel.
“Electric power assist steering is just one example of how a system improvement can deliver not one but several benefits for customers,” said Mark Meyers, General Motors global vehicle performance manager. “By the end of the 2013 model year, more than half of all Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles will have electric power assist steering.” Chevrolet Malibu ECO achieves an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon city and 37 mpg highway fuel economy.
It features GM’s fuel-saving eAssist technology that shuts down fuel delivery in certain deceleration conditions, further improving fuel economy. While in fuel shut-off mode, the motor-generator unit continues spinning along with the engine to provide immediate and smooth take-off power when the driver presses on the accelerator. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the motor-generator unit positions it properly for a smooth restart when the brake is released. The system also captures up to 15kW of energy that would be normally lost during braking and uses it to recharge the lithium-ion battery.
Because of electric power assist steering, eAssist, and other fuel-saving technologies, the Chevy Malibu ECO can travel up to 580 highway miles (965 km) between fill-ups with a 15.8-gallon (59.9 liters) fuel tank. eAssist saves customers an estimated $1,950 in annual fuel costs or about $19,500 over 10 years.
Malibu ECO is on sale now and is priced less than competitors’ full-hybrid vehicles. Chevrolet is scheduled to roll-out an all-new fuel-efficient 2.5L Ecotec engine on the full Malibu lineup this summer. A new turbo model will be available this fall. All Malibu models will come with electric power steering standard. “There is no silver bullet for improving fuel efficiency,” Meyers said. “It’s the many small improvements like electric power assist steering, as seen on the new Malibu that contribute to significant savings for our customers.”
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Chevrolet has always been associated with quality, but until recent years, not so much with value. As the automotive industry has evolved on the fronts of both technology and efficiency, Chevy’s remained ahead of the curve and is reaping the rewards – literally.
According to Strategic Vision, the Chevrolet Volt posted the highest overall scores in the Total Value Index, “a calculation of explicit owner statements on 442 attributes and focuses on immediate and expected (long term) economic factors such as warranty, technical innovation, standard equipment, MPG, etc., and each is weighted appropriately as the data dictates,” as defined by Chris Chaney, Strategic Vision’s VP and Head of Automotive Research.
The Chevy Volt garnered the most points of any vehicle of any kind in the TVI, and it won the Strategic Value Total Value Index for the Mid-Size Car class. Bolstering the validity of the award(s) is the fact that the study was conducted during a time when gas prices were lower; at approximately $4/gallon, the value index only would have been higher. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the first “extended range” electric vehicle to be offered on U.S. soil.
A “real” driving experience is promised by the Volt, with nothing sacrificed to go green. In fact, according to Autobytel, “the Chevrolet Volt’s futuristic technology is largely masked by the fact that it drives almost exactly like a real car – minus the engine noise, of course:”
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