GM Has Hybrid Technology

GM Sierra is 'light' hybrid offering only modest fuel economy improvements for an additional $2,500, but 120-volts of AC power from twin outlets and automatic engine stop-start function.

Published: 08-Jan-2005

The latest "big" thing in vehicles is hybrid technology. That's the mating of gasoline engines with electric motors for the purpose of reducing fossil-fuel consumption. Vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid have generated a loud buzz as well as robust sales activity. It's a small wonder that other manufacturers are rushing to find ways to stick the hybrid label on one or two of their products.

Hybrid translates into progressive and that's how every manufacturer would like us to think of it. GMC, the truck-only division of General Motors, is no exception. It has jumped on the hybrid bandwagon with the Sierra Extended Cab SLE Hybrid pickup. Indeed it is a hybrid, but don't begin cutting up your gasoline company credit cards just yet. There are no promises of 30 or 40 miles per gallon. Fuel economy is improved, but not overwhelmingly.

The Sierra Hybrid isn't a hybrid in the same vein as the Prius, Escape Hybrid or Honda Insight. It is more of a light hybrid. The electric motor doesn't actually share in the real work of propelling the Sierra. This motor is best described as a starter generator. It enables the gas engine to be automatically shut off when the truck is stopped and then almost seamlessly restarted when pressure is applied to the accelerator.

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