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Hybrids on Hold

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Hybrids on Hold
GM axes hybrid pickups until two-mode system debuts in 2008
By RICHARD TRUETT | Link to original article @ AutoWeek | Updated: 04/26/07, 10:06 am et
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DETROIT -- Despite rising gasoline prices, General Motors quietly has dropped the hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

GM's next hybrid pickups are due in about 18 months.

The Silverado Hybrid sold for $30,040 including shipping, about $3,000 more than a V-8 powered Silverado with the same size engine and same trim. The Silverado Hybrid and the more upscale Sierra Hybrid were launched in late 2004. They were GM's first gasoline-electric hybrids. But neither truck received much promotion, and sales were slow.

The total production run of both trucks was about 3,000, according to GM. There are a few unsold models of both trucks in dealer inventory, said Chevrolet spokesman Brian Gobel. Production ended in December.

Neither truck generated much buzz, mostly because the hybrid system didn't drive the vehicle on electric power alone. The fuel economy increase of 2 mpg compared with a standard Silverado or Sierra was not dramatic enough to captivate buyers the way the Toyota Prius did.

But the trucks did offer several unique features, including an onboard 2,400-watt generator and four 120-volt outlets. They also gave GM bragging rights about having the most fuel-efficient V-8-powered full-sized pickup.

In idle mode, the trucks could generate enough electricity to power a house. GM officials had hoped the hybrid Silverado and Sierra would find a market with construction workers, campers and others who needed electricity in remote places.

GM Powertrain spokesman Brian Corbett says the trucks helped GM hybrid engineers learn how to calibrate software, package batteries and integrate new technologies. The skills have come in handy on hybrid versions of the Saturn Vue and Aura, along with the Chevrolet Malibu.

"It was the first hybrid pickup from an OEM. It had hydraulic-electric power steering and we downsized the torque converter," Corbett said of the vehicles' use of new technology.

The trucks were phased out when production of the classic version of the Silverado and Sierra stopped in December. GM officials decided not to launch a new version of the hybrid trucks using the previous model's GMT 800 powertrain on the current GMT 900 platform.

Instead, new hybrid versions of the Sierra and Silverado are scheduled to be launched in late 2008. The trucks will be equipped with a two-mode hybrid system that GM is developing with DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

The two-mode hybrid provides electric drive and a huge increase in fuel economy, GM says. Early testing has shown a fuel economy gain of about 25 percent, according to GM engineers working on the project. Corbett said there are no plans to equip the new versions with the power-generating feature of the original models.
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The trucks were phased out when production of the classic version of the Silverado and Sierra stopped in December. GM officials decided not to launch a new version of the hybrid trucks using the previous model's GMT 800 powertrain on the current GMT 900 platform.

Ahhhh, you just have to love the GM Speak here, "classic version of the Silverado and Sierra" = Old Model. :smilewide:

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this is news? We knew about this when they decided to pull ahead the 900s

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25% increase = increase of 4 MPG?

Diesels make more sense in trucks.

Edited by empowah
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I think its a shame they can't somehow still integrate the oversized generator capacity of these -800 hybrids into the new ones somehow. Even if they do take up extra space, make it optional. I've seen demonstrations of its capabilities and its very impressive to see that a truck can literally run a (jokes aside) well-furnished double-wide trailer home.

I would love to get one of the -800 hybrids for that reason. With hurricane season around here? Fuggedaboutit.

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But neither truck received much promotion, and sales were slow.

That is the real reason for failure. Are the consumers omniscient to know whether GM makes hybrids? They should have had ads for them flogging on every corner of the street.

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I don't think they ever intended to sell many of the first gen hybrid trucks. When I looked into them, they were very limited availability anyway. Not only did people not know about them - those that did probably couldn't find one to buy. I thought it was an awesome package. The fuel savings is more the icing on the cake - the meat of the benefits was from the generator ability. Excellent feature for contractors, or even many homeowners & people with special hobbies, etc. Hope the future hybrid trucks also have the generator capability.

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