For most of their history, eco-features on cars were not really a "thing." But in the last few years there has been a huge rise in what car manufacturers are doing to make their vehicles more fuel-efficient and safer for the environment. And yes, of course, cars are cars. No matter what, walking, biking, or taking transit is always going to be the most eco-friendly choice but for most, cars are a necessity. So if you need to have one, why not buy one that contributes to making thing greener?
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When I bought my current car, eco-options were not mainstream, so it has NOTHING advanced about it. It's trusty, but it's old and I'm at the point where I'm starting to do my research to figure out what I want to buy next.
I love cars in general but I have a big soft spot for GM vehicles. I've always driven a GM car—from my first all the way to the one I drive today—so naturally, I wanted to learn what they were up to when it came to green initiatives and options.
I had the chance to experience and learn about a few of those things when I test drove a 2015 Malibu for a few days. I currently drive a 2007 Malibu, so it was a HUGE upgrade and I LOVED every second of it! Who doesn't love to drive a new car?!
Take a look at this beauty:
The 2015 Malibu carries this eco-badge:
Most car manufacturer's nowadays put an eco-badge on their cars, and for each manufacturer, the badge means something different. When you see this one, it tells you that the car it appears on is the most fuel-efficient variant in this line of cars. So, the car I drove is the most fuel-efficient in the 2015 Malibu line.
The major eco-feature on this car is the stop/start technology. After getting into the car for the first time and driving it for a few minutes, I came to my first red light. Once stopped, the engine shut down. Silence. It was a bit strange at first but thankfully I had a heads up that this was a feature on this car—so I knew that I did not break the car 2 minutes into the test drive!
Here's how it works:
When you come to a stop when driving the 2015 Malibu—a red light, during stop and go traffic, sometimes even a stop sign—the system monitors vehicle speed, climate control system operation, and other factors to determine whether it is efficient to shut off the engine. If it's ideal, it shuts off to save fuel and cut back on emissions:
The engine then automatically restarts when you take your foot off the brake:
When the engine shuts off, features such as the audio system, heat/AC, lights etc. are not affected.
Start-stop comes standard on all 2015 Malibu's equipped with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and is only available on Malibu's with this engine. Which is why it is the most fuel efficient variant in the Malibu line!
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The Malibu has two powertrain offerings: the standard 2.5L iVLC with stop/start technology (the one I drove) and a 2.0L turbo that does not come with the stop/start feature. Along with other technologies, including direct injection, variable valve lift control and a six-speed automatic transmission, the 2.5L powertrain contributes to fuel consumption ratings of 9.3 L/100km when city driving and 6.4 L/100km when highway driving. Click here for more fuel consumption comparisons.
In addition to adding innovative eco-features to their vehicles, GM has taken it a step further when they spear-headed two initiatives that will contribute to making the world a little greener.
Wildlife Habitat Certification
In 2012, the St. Catharines Powertrain and Kapuskasing Test Centre facilities earned Wildlife Habitat Certification. This means that these facilities have been recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council for enhancing biodiversity and engaging community partners to promote wildlife conservation and education.
These two facilities joined 40 other GM facilities around the world who are now part of conservation programs certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.
Click here to read more about GM's Wildlife Habitat Certification.
In October 2014, the Canadian Automotive Manufacturing Inc. (CAMI) continued to contribute to the landfill-free initiative by adding 11 more General Motors facilities to the landfill-free status list. This brought the total to 122 manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations that recycle, reuse, or convert to energy all waste from daily operations.
Landfill-free status helps GM avoid more than 600,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. This is comparable to the greenhouse gas benefit of 15 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
Click here to read more about GM's landfill-free status.