GM has unveiled new hybrid versions of its Chevy Silverado and GMC full-size pickups, which use a mild hybrid system to improve the the fuel efficiency of the large pickups by up to 13 percent. Rather than use a full hybrid system, like the new Malibu, both pickups use a small electric motor and lithium-ion battery.
The Silverado and Sierra with eAssist models are powered by a 5.3L V8 and a 13-hp electric motor. A small 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located under the center console and the hybrid powertrain sends its power to the ground via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 355-hp hybrid powertrain is 13 percent more fuel-efficient than the standard 5.3L V8, which gives the pickups a 18/ 24 mpg rating.
The 13-hp electric motor isn't powerful enough to accelerate the pickups on its own, so instead it adds additional power during acceleration and enables the 5.3L V8 to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods. The V8 also has start-stop technology and the on-board electric motor acts as a generator to recover the energy recovered while braking.
GM doesn't know how many buyers will actually want a hybrid pickup, so only 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras with the eAssist technology will be produced for the 2016 model year. They will also only be sold in California. If the demand is there, GM will increase the production for the 2017 model year.
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