Whenever someone brings up hybrid and GM's pickups, we're reminded of the two-mode hybrid system GM installed on the last-generation Silverado and Sierra that only delivered negligible gains in fuel economy. But GM is giving the hybrid truck another go with the introduction of an eAssist powertrain on the Silverado and Sierra.
The eAssist system comprises of a small electric motor (13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque) and 0.45-kWh battery pack. This is paired with the 5.3L V8. Power figures stand at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque (no increase in horsepower, but an increase of 3 pound-feet). The system only adds an additional 100 pounds to the overall weight.
In terms of overall fuel economy, GM says the eAssist boosts fuel economy from 16 City/22 Highway/20 Combined mpg to 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined mpg. Other pluses for the eAssist include a stop-start system, the ability to run the engine on four-cylinders for a longer time, and regenerative brakes that can feed power to various accessories.
The eAssist powertrain only adds $500 to the price of a Silverado or Sierra.
All good news? Not exactly. The only way you can get the eAssist system is by either ordering a two-wheel drive version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1LT crew cab or GMC Sierra SLT crew cab with the SLT Premium Plus package. Also, GM is only offering this in California. Finally, GM is only building 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras with the eAssist. GM says this is test and "will monitor the market closely... and adjust as appropriate moving forward."
Source: Chevrolet, GMC
Press Release is on Page 2
Chevrolet Introduces 2016 Silverado With eAssist
- New mild-hybrid system delivers 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, based on EPA city estimates
DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that a select number of 2016 Chevrolet Silverados will be offered with eAssist technology. The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of innovative electric vehicles – including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13 percent better fuel economy in city driving.
“Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy,” said 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.”
The compact, lightweight system increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds, and delivers an additional 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor.
The eAssist propulsion system, including the 8-speed automatic transmission, will be a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim.
Initially, Chevrolet will offer approximately 500 Silverado eAssist trucks for the 2016 model year, exclusively through California dealers. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet will adjust production for 2017 model year.
The eAssist Silverado adds another piece to Chevrolet’s growing electrification portfolio - from all-electrics like the Chevrolet Spark EV and Bolt EV (slated to begin production in late 2016), to extended-range electrics like the Chevrolet Volt, to full-hybrids like Malibu Hybrid, and mild-hybrids like Silverado eAssist.
Technology developed from new Malibu Hybrid and Volt
The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission to provide:
- Electric Power Boost: The on-board electric motor provides up to 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of supplemental power during acceleration and passing. The electric motor also enables the Active Fuel Management system on the 5.3L V-8 engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods, resulting in additional fuel economy benefits.
- Stop/Start capability: Added fuel savings are achieved by seamlessly turning the engine off when stopped at a traffic light or in congested traffic and turning the engine back on when the accelerator is pressed.
- Regenerative Braking: 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.
- These features deliver a 13 percent improvement in city fuel economy, based on EPA estimates. The 2016 Silverado eAssist will have an EPA estimated 18 mpg city, a 2 mpg improvement over the equivalent Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8 and 8-speed automatic. EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Silverado eAssist is 24 mpg, while the combined rating is 20 mpg.
Power for the eAssist system is supplied by a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the center console (or front bench seat) that uses the same battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. It weighs nearly 15 percent less than the previous generation eAssist system, yet provides up to 15 kW of power to the electric motor.
A reengineered power inverter module is now liquid cooled and moved underhood for improved packaging and performance. The software used to control the battery system is based off a modified version of the software for the Chevrolet Volt.
The compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides peak regen capability of 15kW resulting from advanced software controls based off those used in the Volt. The motor, which features a stator design leveraged from the Volt and Malibu Hybrid, acts like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb.-ft. (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high-load situations.
This new generation of eAssist is also more modular than the previous system, meaning it could be more easily used in front-wheel or rear-wheel drive drivetrain configurations and it’s capable of using more or fewer cells, based on power needs for each vehicle application.
GMC Introduces 2016 Sierra with eAssist
- Technologically advanced premium truck offers greater efficiency, capability
DETROIT – Building on GMC Sierra’s advanced powertrain technologies, new eAssist technology enhances its position as one of the industry’s most innovative and capable trucks, helping it achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy – and solidifying its segment-best ranking for V8 efficiency.
Starting this spring, the new eAssist system is exclusively available on the already well-equipped 2016 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD model with the SLT Premium Plus package. For 2016, we will monitor the market closely, producing 200 Sierra eAssist models for California, and adjust as appropriate moving forward.
“Innovative technology that enhances capability is at the core of everything we do at GMC and the new Sierra with eAssist takes it to a higher level,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “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.”
Compared to a comparable Sierra 1500 with a 5.3L/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 5.3L eAssist V8 has a GM estimated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.
The new eAssist powertrain is available in the Sierra SLT crew cab with the up-level Premium Plus package, a package that is also available with the standard 5.3L non- eAssist engine and the 6.2L V8 engine. The SLT Premium Plus package includes an extensive list of premium technologies and features:
- High-performance LED headlamps, LED taillamps and thin-profile LED foglamps
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone)
- IntelliLink with navigation and 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen
- Bose premium audio system
- Wireless phone charging
- Heated and vented leather-appointed seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert
- IntelliBeam headlamps
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Rear Vision camera.
- The max trailering rating is 9,400 lbs. and the Eaton locking rear differential is standard, for sure-footed traction on slippery surfaces.
The Sierra’s eAssist powertrain is a light electrification system leveraging General Motors’ 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 through:
- Stop/Start capability: 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
- Electric power boost: 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
- Regenerative braking: 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
- Aero enhancements: 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 Chevrolet Volt. It performs like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high load situations. There’s also a liquid-cooled power inverter module located under the hood.