Truckers should have no problem with this new hybrid system.
GM is testing the waters for a new hybrid truck, announcing that it’ll offer a very limited run of GMC Sierras and Chevrolet Silverados with a new hybrid system called eAssist. Although both trucks only gain a boost of 2 mpg, the system is being offered exclusively on V8 engines, which, as GM points out, equates to a total boost in fuel economy of 13 percent. The system itself isn’t groundbreaking in terms of tech and is as mild a hybrid as they come.
Here’s what you get with eAssist: stop/start engine technology, regenerative braking and a boost of 13 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque courtesy of the new electric motor. Said motor weighs in at 100 pounds and is powered by a 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery. The electric motor also helps enhance cylinder deactivation on the V8 engines, allowing them to run on four cylinders for longer periods of time. GM is also touting improvements in aerodynamics courtesy of a standard soft tonneau bed cover and automatic grille shutters that close at speeds over 30 mph. All of this sounds cool but remember that whole thing about this being a limited run. Only 700 eAssist trucks are being offered in total and all will be sold in California.
What’s more is that the option is only available on two specific trims. For the Silverado that’s the two-wheel drive 1500 Crew Cab 1LT, and for the Sierra it’s the 2WD 1500 SLT Crew Cab. The split is 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras. Although it will be a hard-to-find option, the good news is that eAssist only costs $500. Ford has committed to making a hybrid F-150 which leaves GM playing from behind. However, if eAssist proves popular it could motivate the General to revive its hybrid pickup program. Hopefully buyers have different attitudes this time around.