General Motors Beats Ford to Hybrid Pickup Punch … Again

General Motors Beats Ford to Hybrid Pickup Punch … Again

General Motors will test the coastal waters with mild-hybrid versions of its 1500-series trucks beginning this spring, the automaker announced Thursday.

A total of 500 Chevrolet Silverado and 200 GMC Sierra eAssist trucks will be sold exclusively to granola-fed Californians. GM claims the trucks are good for a 13-percent boost in city fuel efficiency, the natural habitat of the vinyl trading, furniture refinishing, kale-eating millennials hopefully interested in a full-size domestic pickup.

The latest effort is unlike GM’s earlier foray into utilitarian electrification, which employed a two-mode hybrid system on GM’s full-size pickups and SUVs jointly developed with BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler. The new, modular eAssist system will rely on a small lithium-ion battery providing electrons to a 13 horsepower compact induction electric motor. The system adds electric power boost, stop/start capability, and regenerative braking to equipped pickups.

General Motors Beats Ford to Hybrid Pickup Punch … Again

According to General Motors, the mild-hybrid system is mated exclusively to two-wheel drive trucks powered by the 5.3-liter EcoTec V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Battery cells are the same as those found in the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, and software controls are lifted from the Chevrolet Volt, the company stated in its release.

By employing the new tech, General Motors claims its V8 engine can run in four-cylinder mode for longer periods of time thanks to assist from its electric motor, improving efficiency in the process.

Total system output is estimated at 355 horsepower and 383 lbs-ft of torque, with 13 horsepower and 44 lbs-ft provided by the electric motor.

If this particular solution interests you, expect to shell out “just over $50,000″ for the GMC Sierra eAssist, said product representative for Sierra light-duty pickups Kelly Wysocki. That’s before the inescapable taxes associated with living in California are tacked on top. TTAC estimates Chevrolet models will be in the mid-$40,000 range before taxes and fees.

The eAssist powertrain will only be available in Silverado 1LT and Sierra SLT Premium trims.

Ford is planning to give its F-150 pickup hybrid capability by 2020. Chrysler has developed an all-new hybrid powertrain for the Pacifica minivan, but the Auburn Hills automaker stated the minivan will be the largest vehicle in its fleet to use the system. GM killed off its earlier two-mode hybrid pickups with the introduction of its current-generation models.

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