Don't worry, they still have V8 engines.
While electric pickups like the GMC Hummer, Rivian R1T, and Tesla Cybertruck have been getting all the attention of late, gas-powered trucks are still crucial for fleet and commercial use. Ford's new hybrid drivetrain for the F-150 is geared more towards personal usage, but General Motors has now quietly rolled out a new XLP Plug-in Hybrid Electric Drive System for a few of its commercial truck models. This second-generation upfit technology is coming to select configurations of the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 3500HD, and 4500HD and the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 3500HD, and 4500HD.
Compared to a standard gas-powered truck, this PHEV conversion can increase the miles per gallon by up to 50% and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately one-third. Automakers do not quote fuel economy on heavy-duty truck models, but if a gas-powered Silverado or Sierra 2500HD averages around 12-mpg as an example, this upgrade could bump the fuel economy all they up to an 18-mpg average.
"GM Fleet vehicles are built to meet the rigorous performance requirements of today's most demanding applications," said Jim Connelly, Manager of Commercial and Specialty Vehicles, GM Fleet. "Adding XL's plug-in hybrid electric upfit technology to these tried-and-true GM Fleet vehicles can provide a tested and flexible option for customers looking to electrify their work truck applications immediately."
XL, the company responsible for the upfit, explains that the upgrade will come in handy for fleet applications such as electric utilities, emergency response units, and last-mile delivery vehicles. PHEVs typically offer a few miles of electric-only driving range as well, but there is no mention of how far these trucks can travel on a full charge.
"By leveraging our experience with over 200 customers and utilizing proprietary data from nearly 140 million customer miles driven, we are uniquely positioned to quickly and efficiently develop solutions for applications with significant demand," said Dimitri Kazarinoff, Chief Executive Officer of XL Fleet. "The launch of our plug-in hybrid electric upfit technology for the GM family of high-performance fleet vehicles represents an exciting expansion of our work with GM Fleet as well as our growing line of plug-in hybrid electric solutions. This new platform incorporates XL's second-generation plug-in hybrid electric drive technology, providing higher kilowatt-hours with a more scalable design that can be expanded onto a much broader array of vehicles and applications."
GM says customers can receive the upfit starting in the first quarter of 2021 for the 2500 HD and 3500 HD models. The upfit will arrive a bit later in the second quarter of 2021 for the 3500 and 4500 cutaway chassis models.