February 28, 2024

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Technology and Age

Report: Next Chevy Malibu May Be Electric

The Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept seen from a front quarter angle

The Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept seen from a front quarter angleGeneral Motors is in the process of developing a new electric midsize sedan for the Chinese market. Now, GM President Mark Reuss says it may come to the U.S. as the next Chevrolet Malibu.

Speaking during a GM Investor Day presentation in China, Reuss said the company is working on a new electric sedan for the Chinese market with a “pretty dramatic” design.

A Chinese-Market Design for Now

“Although the model is only confirmed for the Chinese market for now,” GM Authority reports, “Reuss’ words indicate that the potential all-electric replacement for the Chevy Malibu will also be considered for other markets during its development, and this leaves open the possibility of offering it in North America.”

The report didn’t say when Chevrolet might introduce an electric Malibu. But the current car dates to the 2016 model year. GM often redesigns vehicles after seven years.

A Common Platform for Many Vehicles

Most new electric cars ride on so-called “skateboard” platforms – near-flat combinations of batteries, electric motors, steering, and suspension parts. Designers can scale them up or down to build many different sizes of car. They can build sedans, SUVs, vans, or wagons by changing the body designed to ride on top of them.

GM calls its electric car platform Ultium. The same platform lies under many new vehicles, from affordable to super-luxury. You can buy it today as the GMC Hummer pickup or Cadillac Lyriq SUV. By the end of next year, you’ll likely be able to buy it as the Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer SUVs or the Chevy Silverado EV pickup.

The Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept seen from head on

And, eventually, you’ll be able to buy it as a sedan. GM recently unveiled a concept car called the FNR-XE in China, which may be the vehicle Reuss mentioned. It’s dramatic looking, with bulging shoulder lines at the rear fenders and a jewel-like false grille under a sharply creased hood.

The Malibu has enjoyed a resurgence in 2022. Sales declined dramatically last year but have recovered in 2022 as gas prices soared and Americans returned their attention to plain old cars. At its low point, Chevrolet sold just 66 Malibus in July 2021. Last month, it sold almost 16,000.