Hybrid GM trucks will be available in California

Updated Feb 26, 2016
A limited number of hybrid 2016 GM trucks will be available in California this spring. Featured above is the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 with eAssist.A limited number of hybrid 2016 GM trucks will be available in California this spring. Featured above is the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 with eAssist.

A limited number of hybrid 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and 2016 GMC Sierra pickups will be available in California this spring, GM announced today.

The new eAssist system will be available as a mild hybrid option for up to 500 2016 Silverado 1500 crew cab models in 1LT trim and up to 200 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab two-wheel-drive models with the SLT Premium Plus package.

GM says eAssist’s lithium-battery based technology, borrowed from the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu Hybrid, will achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy.

The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission

“Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy,” says Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevrolet Trucks. “For customers and small-business owners who use their trucks for more urban driving, the addition of eAssist can further reduce their fuel costs without sacrificing the utility they expect in a full-size truck.”

Duncan Aldred, vice-president of GMC sales and marketing, says the new eAssist option for the Sierra makes the truck even more attractive for consumers in the Golden State.

“Its advantages are delivered in a compromise-free package that enables real-world fuel savings with premium content that provides a very high level of refinement, comfort and connectivity,” Aldred says.

Compared to a comparable Sierra 1500 with a 5.3-liter eight-speed powertrain, the Sierra with eAssist offers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city, a 2-mpg improvement, while highway fuel economy improves 2 mpg to 24 mpg. The combined estimate improves 2 mpg to 20 mpg. The eAssist Silverado has the same fuel performance gains.

The 5.3L eAssist V8 has a GM-estimated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

California was chosen as the launching ground for GM’s new eAssist trucks given the popularity of the pickup market there. Availability may change for 2017 eAssist truck models depending on consumer demand.

“Obviously, California is a sizeable truck market,” says Robert Wheeler, GM fleet communications manager. “Plus, we believe eAssist will be most popular in urban areas, like L.A. or San Diego, as eAssist delivers the best fuel economy improvements in city driving.”

The eAssist powertrain is a light electrification system leveraging GM’s latest electrification technologies. It builds on the advanced technologies of the 5.3L V8 engine, including direct injection, variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), complementing them with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to enhance efficiency.

Additional fuel savings are achieved by turning off the engine when stopped at a stop light or heavy traffic and restarting the engine when the driver lifts his or her foot from the brake pedal.

The on-board electric motor provides a power boost during acceleration and passing, while enabling the engine to operate in four-cylinder mode for longer periods, for additional fuel savings.

By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system.

A 6-percent improvement in aerodynamics contributes to fuel economy due to a standard soft tonneau cover and automatic grille shutters, which can close at speeds over 30 mph in order to further reduce drag and fuel consumption.

The eAssist system includes a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located under the center console or front bench seat. It adds only about 100 pounds to the vehicle’s curb weight.

A compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides 15 kW of peak regenerative capability, thanks to advanced software controls based on the Chevy Volt. It performs like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 foot pounds and up to 13 horsepower of additional boost in high load situations. There’s also a liquid-cooled power inverter module located under the hood.