10 Best Vehicle and Technology Innovations of 2018
GM Debuts eAssist System for Silverado and Sierra 1500 Pickups
General Motors is launching a new trail hybrid powertrain program for approximately 700 pickup trucks to be sold in California for the 2016 model year. Roughly 500 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab trucks trimmed in the mid-grade 1LT trim, along with roughly 200 GMC Sierra Crew Cab trucks with the SLT Premium Plus package, will receive the hybrid eAssist powertrain. GM will monitor customer feedback in preparation for a larger rollout for the 2017 model year.
The hybrid system is only available with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission with the 2WD driveline configuration.
The hybrid system utilizes the same lithium-ion battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and software derived from the Chevy Volt. Power is sent to a compact induction motor located on the engine’s accessory drive. It provides up to 13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque during high-load situations, while also allowing the 5.3-liter V-8 to operate in four-cylinder mode more often, furthering its efficiency. When not under power, the electric motor acts as a generator, providing 15 kW of regenerative power back to the battery pack. Furthermore, both trucks now feature a Start/Stop system for the V-8.
That battery pack is a 24-cell, 0.45 kWh unit and is located in the center console or under the front bench seat, depending on which seating configuration is chosen, while the power inverter module is located in the engine bay for liquid cooling. The total system only adds 100 pounds to the trucks, resulting in little sacrifice in capabilities. Maximum towing is listed at 9,400 pounds.
All told, the hybrid system increases both the Silverado’s and Sierra’s fuel economy by two miles per gallon in city, making their EPA numbers climb to 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. The eAssist system is only costing customers an additional $500 atop the truck’s price. If GM receives good reports from its customers, it may expand availability of the eAssist system in its 1500-series trucks for future model years.
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Top Speed had the pleasure of trying out a greener option for that other necessary item in any weekend racers garage, a work truck. Sure its nice to have a classic Ferrari or a an all out race car in your garage, but what good are they if you cannot get them to an appropriate environment. That is where our GMC Sierra 2WD Hybrid Crew Cab comes into play, this pick up can haul up to 6,100 pounds of trailer and seat six individuals inside the cab. Aside from the nice touches like the 18 inch chrome rims and larger than life front grill, the Sierra Hybrid has the benefit of being an alternatively fueled vehicle.
The full sized trucks 2-Mode Hybrid/Electric power train is tuned to get as much as 21 MPH when driving around town, impressive for any vehicle that weighs over 5,000 pounds. Don’t let the size discourage you, the Sierra Hybrid is easy to drive and the power adjustable front seat allows the driver to find the perfect vantage point.
The truck uses a combination of an electric module and a 6.0 Liter Chevrolet small block to make 332 HP, but you most likely won’t have to use much of those ponies, we found ourselves driving the Sierra around on electric only power most of the time, negating the need for any of the eight pistons. It was nice to know that they were there when we needed them like when passing on the highway or pulling a heavy load. One thing was for certain, the GMC Sierra Hybrid is working hard to give trucks a good name again.
Continued after the jump.