News: GMC To Expand Sierra eAssist Hybrid Pickup Sales

News: GMC To Expand Sierra eAssist Hybrid Pickup Sales

California Got It First; Now it Goes Wide

Despite its reputation for palm trees and sunny beaches, California is home to many pickup trucks, second only to Texas. It’s probably because the middle of the state grows most of the country’s food. But with a new 12 cent gas tax being implemented this month, and a general upward trend in fuel costs, some farmers and others might be looking to save some money in the long run. Could expanded availability of hybrid technology be the answer?

2018 GMC Sierra eAssist

GMC adds a little electrification

GMC recently told The Car Connection that it will be offering its Sierra pickup truck with light electrification that it calls eAssist nationwide. The Sierra eAssist will be available in 2018, expanding a market that started in California two years ago. The hybrid option is available on a limited number of two-wheel drive Sierra SLT crew cab pickups.

Light electrification is the correct way to describe GMC’s hybrid system, as it is essentially a glorified stop-start system. Similar to hybrid systems found in other GM vehicles, eAssist combines a compact induction motor with an air-cooled, 0.45kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The primary function of the system is to allow for longer engine shut-off when the vehicle comes to a stop. At a red light or in traffic, for example, eAssist allows the engine to shut off and eliminate wasteful fuel consumption. The battery pack continues to power the lights, heating and cooling, electrical accessories and more.

While the system is not really designed to add power to the Sierra’s 5.3-liter V-8, it can still provide up to 13 horsepower and 44 pounds-feet of torque, usually when accelerating from a standstill. The added power of the electric motor also allows Sierra’s Active Fuel Management system to run the V-8 engine in four-cylinder mode for extended periods of time.

2018 GMC Sierra eAssist

California got the hybrid first–natch

While the new Sierra eAssist will by a hybrid, it is still a very heavy, V-8 powered truck. And as a result, fuel consumption is EPA-estimated at 18 mpg city/24 highway/20 combined, a two mpg increase from the standard Sierra V-8 across the board (although that will be an 11 percent boost). While not the largest increase in fuel economy, eAssist will still help truck owners save fuel, especially when towing heavy loads.

Pricing for the Sierra eAssist has been a mere $500 bump from the standard Sierra. In addition, as is typical with General Motors, the eAssist option will be available on the Chevrolet Silverado (sister truck to the Sierra).

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News: 2018 Buick LaCrosse Gets Mild Electrification

News: 2018 Buick LaCrosse Gets Mild Electrification

New Powerplant Boosts Fuel Economy & Torque

For 2018, the Buick LaCrosse will expand its engine options and add a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a side of light electrification. The new powerplant will combine a small electric motor with the new 2.5L engine in order to increase fuel efficiency as well as torque.

2018 Buick LaCrosse

It may be mild, but eAssist hybrid system delivers big mpg boost

According to Buick, the new eAssist hybrid system will have a 19 percent increase in city fuel economy compared to the LaCrosse’s V-6, its former base engine. It will use a compact lithium-ion battery pack to provide benefits such as torque-assisted launch, regenerative braking and smoother stop/start. That should be good for a four mpg boost to last year’s 21 mpg city. The old V-6 was rated at 21 city/31 mpg highway/25 combined. The LaCrosse also will add a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The mild hybrid eAssist system also increases torque by nine percent, while the battery pack is compact enough to maintain fold-down rear seats and ample trunk space.

This new version of Buicks eAssist system combines a compact electric motor and an advanced 24-cell air-cooled 0.45kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It’s based around GM’s Motor Generator Unit (MGU), which replaces a traditional alternator and acts as an electric motor to assist the engine when needed.

The MGU will also act as an electric generator, drawing from energy stored in the lithium-ion battery pack, as well as play a pivotal role in the system’s other features (assisted launch, regenerative braking and stop/start).

Despite the introduction of the new, more sophisticated power plant, the base price of the 2018 LaCrosse will be lowered to $30,490.