Chevy Reloads Silverado 'Mild Hybrid'
I remember driving the first prototype Silverado hybrid pickup truck more than a decade ago. It was GM's first attempt at a hybrid drive system and to be honest, it wasn't all that good, but it was a start. It would be followed in 2009 with a production run that ran until 2013, though how many Chevrolet sold isn't widely known. It used GM's new Dual-Mode hybrid transmission, which offered only modest fuel economy improvements at a premium price. Eventually, the company shelved production, but never gave up on the 'mild hybrid' concept, which it would try in various vehicles over the years, eventually dubbing it 'e-Assist.'
Now that e-Assist has enjoyed some success in the Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse lines, GM is bringing it back in the Silverado pickup in a limited production run of 500 units all of which are destined for the California market. According to Equipment World:
This new eAssist system combines a 24-cell, 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (with the same batteries used by Chevy’s Malibu hybrid) and a modified version of the software used to control the Volt’s battery system. The battery pack is located beneath the center console.
The system adds 100 pounds to the curb weight of the Silverado but adds 13 hp and 44 lb.-ft. of torque to the truck during acceleration and passing. It also enables the 5.3-liter V8’s active fuel management system to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods for further fuel savings.
This $500 option adds a 2 mpg improvement in overall fuel efficiency over a similarly equipped engine with 8-speed transmission. e-Assist also features regenerative braking allowing for some recapture and reuse of the vehicle's kinetic energy.
Where the original Silverado hybrid also offered a pair of 120V power outlets, one in the cab and one in the truck bed, this doesn't appear to be an option in the new model, at least from available descriptions. It has been noted, however, that should demand warrant it, GM said it would consider expanding production beyond the initial 500 units.
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