General Motors is bringing hybrid power back to its pickup trucks, though for now the trucks are limited to buyers in California.
In a select number of 2016 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras fitted with a 5.3-liter V8 and eight-speed transmission, GM will offer eAssist mild-hybrid technology, resulting in a boost of 2 mpg across the board. That brings overall ratings up to 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
Only two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cabs in 1LT trim and Sierra SLT premium plus trucks can be fitted with eAssist, which will be a $500 premium over standard trucks.
The eAssist system is made up of three main components, starting with an on-board electric motor which boosts output by 13 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque, slightly offset by the package’s extra 100 lbs of weight. The electric motor also helps the truck’s cylinder deactivation system on the 5.3-liter V8 stay in four-cylinder mode more of the time.
The second part of eAssist is start/stop capability, while regenerative braking completes the package, enabling the truck to convert braking into electricity to recharge the onboard batteries.
Only 500 Silverado eAssist models and 200 Sierra eAssist trucks will be built in 2016, and all of those will be exclusively sold in California. GM says it will closely monitor sales and will adjust availability based on feedback.
Power for the system comes from a 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery packed underneath the center console or font bench seat.
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