General Motors has announced that they are going to expand their advanced powertrain initiative into their full-size pickup truck programs – introducing their new eAssist mild-hybrid engine technology to 5.3L EcoTech V8 powered GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado truck powertrains.
GM says that their mild-hybrid powertrain with the 5.3L EcoTech gasoline engine – working in concert with the eAssist propulsion system and including the 8-speed automatic transmission – increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds, while delivering an additional 13 horsepower and 44 more lb-ft of torque from the electric motor.
Equipped with the mild-hybrid powertrain, GM estimates city fuel economy improvement of about 13 percent over the current V8 powertrains.
Starting this spring, the new eAssist system will be exclusively available on the GMC 2016 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD model with the SLT Premium Plus package and on a select group of 2016 Chevrolet Silverado (said to be the 1LT model) pickups for delivery late in 2016.
Only 200 will be produced and sold under the GMC brand with just 500 under the Chevrolet brand. GM says they will only be available in California. The company says they will monitor the market closely and adjust production levels for 2017 as appropriate.
Pricing was not revealed fully, but Chevrolet sources indicated that the compact, lightweight eAssist powertrain system will have a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim.
According to GM, the 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 of torque 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.
And since you asked, these new mild-hybrid powertrain equipped GM trucks will have a tow rating of 9,400 pounds.