The Volt isn't the only high-efficiency car in the works at GM

The Volt isn't the only high-efficiency car in the works at GM

General Motors' engineers are quick to point out that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt isn't a hybrid at all - it's powered only by electricity, with the combustion engine serving only to extend its range. But according to a new report, GM does have plans for a dedicated, high-efficiency hybrid to one-up the Chevrolet Malibu mild hybrid.

Why is GM finally taking its game down the dedicated hybrid road? Because its mild hybrids aren't efficient enough to differentiate themselves from the already rather efficient standard powertrain vehicles, reports GM-Volt.

“One of the issues with the Malibu hybrid has been that the four cylinder 6 speed transmission Malibu gets 33mpg on the highway,” said Ed Peper, general manager of the Chevrolet division.

Unfortunately for GM, the dedicated hybrid won't be a short term solution. Peper says they are trying to 'work toward' a dedicated solution, but that it is a 'longer term' plan.

With talk of the Camaro Z28 getting shelved once again due in part to fuel consumption concerns, Fritz Henderson's reluctance to see the Pontiac G8 GXP live on as a Chevrolet and the work being done to bring the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt and this new dedicated hybrid to market, it's clear that General Motors, and in particular Chevrolet, have an intense focus on fuel economy for the future product plan.

With the recently enacted fuel efficiency standards raising the bar to a fleet-wide average of 35.5mpg by 2016, that may not be a bad idea, but one has to wonder how much of the new fuel-consciousness is directly attributable to the U.S. government's recent acquisition of a substantial portion of GM, and how that influence might affect the long-term culture within GM, and among its fans.