GM tries again with big hybrid pickups
After two failed attempts, General Motors will try hybrid pickups again.
Later this year, GM will build 700 hybrid pickups -- 500 Chevrolet Silverados and 200 GMC Sierras -- and market test them in California. The trucks will be equipped with a new version of GM’s eAssist mild hybrid system, which turns the alternator into a motor that is used for a start-stop system and that helps the vehicle accelerate.
GM will charge $500 for the eAssist system, which will be offered only on the Chevrolet Silverado 1LT two-wheel-drive crew-cab model and the GMC Sierra Crew Cab two-wheel drive with SLT package.
The eAssist system uses a lithium ion battery pack with 24 cells under the console or front bench seat. It adds about 100 pounds to the trucks’ weight.
GM also made a few aerodynamic tweaks to help highway fuel economy. The trucks have active grille shutters in front of the radiator which open and close based on the vehicle’s speed and temperature, and a tonneau cover over the bed to reduce wind resistance at highway speeds.