By on February 25, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra with eAssist, Image: General Motors

General Motors will test the coastal waters with mild-hybrid versions of its 1500-series trucks beginning this spring, the automaker announced Thursday.

A total of 500 Chevrolet Silverado and 200 GMC Sierra eAssist trucks will be sold exclusively to granola-fed Californians. GM claims the trucks are good for a 13-percent boost in city fuel efficiency, the natural habitat of the vinyl trading, furniture refinishing, kale-eating millennials hopefully interested in a full-size domestic pickup.

The latest effort is unlike GM’s earlier foray into utilitarian electrification, which employed a two-mode hybrid system on GM’s full-size pickups and SUVs jointly developed with BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler. The new, modular eAssist system will rely on a small lithium-ion battery providing electrons to a 13 horsepower compact induction electric motor. The system adds electric power boost, stop/start capability, and regenerative braking to equipped pickups.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado eAssist, Image: General Motors

According to General Motors, the mild-hybrid system is mated exclusively to two-wheel drive trucks powered by the 5.3-liter EcoTec V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Battery cells are the same as those found in the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, and software controls are lifted from the Chevrolet Volt, the company stated in its release.

By employing the new tech, General Motors claims its V8 engine can run in four-cylinder mode for longer periods of time thanks to assist from its electric motor, improving efficiency in the process.

Total system output is estimated at 355 horsepower and 383 lbs-ft of torque, with 13 horsepower and 44 lbs-ft provided by the electric motor.

If this particular solution interests you, expect to shell out “just over $50,000” for the GMC Sierra eAssist, said product representative for Sierra light-duty pickups Kelly Wysocki. That’s before the inescapable taxes associated with living in California are tacked on top. TTAC estimates Chevrolet models will be in the mid-$40,000 range before taxes and fees. The Silverado eAssist will sell for a more modest $42,950 including destination.

The eAssist powertrain will only be available in Silverado 1LT and Sierra SLT Premium trims.

Ford is planning to give its F-150 pickup hybrid capability by 2020. Chrysler has developed an all-new hybrid powertrain for the Pacifica minivan, but the Auburn Hills automaker stated the minivan will be the largest vehicle in its fleet to use the system. GM killed off its earlier two-mode hybrid pickups with the introduction of its current-generation models.

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119 Comments on “General Motors Beats Ford to Hybrid Pickup Punch … Again...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    A $50k truck with 2WD and just enough hybrid capability to wear an E badge is very suitable for Californians.

    Isn’t the 5.3 the lame one nobody likes because of throttle mapping or something? Paging Dave!

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Yup. The 5.3 isn’t great to drive, despite its more than adequate numbers.

      At least the old two-mode hybrid was am excellent piece of engineering. This is luke warm at best.

      As bball would say, the answer is 6.2/8AT. More power, better drive-ability and no discernible FE penalty over the base motor.

      I wish they would bring back the MAX trim package, which got you the big motor in a non-Denali.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        That IS the right answer, Dave.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          My brother got rear ended on Tuesday so hard that his rear cab corners are crunched in. I think it might be a write off.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh no. This just isn’t the month for Dave’s family. I hope he is alright and recovers.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            This week blows.

            And based on what you are telling me, I’d bet that it’s a write off. It would be in Michigan at least. If the rear can is crunched in, the frame probably has issues, you’ll need a new bed, driveline could be jacked, and fixing the rear portion of the cab gets expensive.

            Is your brother okay?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            F this week indeed but gear up for a fun Year of the Monkey!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            He was a bit stiff at first but seems fine. He is a carpenter so I’m guessing that keeps him loose.

            Its a crap situation though. He was sitting in a right hand turn lane at a yield sign (not a merge situation), and the guy just plowed right into him. They pulled off to the side, but it was a sort of busy road. The guy was all like “I have a some parts for your truck, I can just give them to you.” My brother was on guard at that, and said no, he wants to go through insurance. So the guy said, lets pull into that parking lot to exchange info and clear traffic. So, my bro got into his truck, and the guy peeled out, jumped the boulevard and took off.

            My brother will need to pay his full deductible, but he reported to the police and isn’t getting dinged for fault or anything.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            My very first step in an accident is to whip out my phone and take pix of the other driver and license plate.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            An excellent and easy tip.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yeah, he definitely should have done that. I’m sure he won’t make that mistake again.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I hope he is okay?
            My brother hit a moose once. He had a new 1987 F150. The cab hit the box on that one too. I was surprised that insurance company did not write it off.

            Like “28” has said, not your month. I hope that the “3 bad things in a row” curse does not apply to you.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Hey everyone. Thanks for the well wishes for me, my family and also for bball, whom I have never met but I consider a friend.

            My brother seems fine. Since he is insured, he will be eligible for some physio if he needs it. He likes his truck so it will be a shame if its written off, but not the end of the world.

            As for me, though I was caught off guard, I’ve had provisions in place to transition into a consulting role for a while now. Now it is all just being activated, and I am full speed ahead. And honestly, I feel really good, taking on my own destiny. I’m not happy about how my previous career ended, (I am man enough to admit that myself and my previous boss, whom I respect, were having some issues with my communication as well as my being unhappy with my role) but its very energizing to be taking this new road.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yep, same thing that happened to me once, Dave. My insurance covered me but I had to pay a deductible. Guy drove a junk truck and – I kid you not – kinda looked like Redd Foxx in “Sanford and Son.”

            However, about a year later they sent me a check for the deductible back – turns out they tracked down ‘ol Fred and collected on him.

            Now that’s a win!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I echo Dave’s sentiment. Thanks to all. I appreciate the kind words yesterday. I consider Dave a friend as well. Plus, like me, he is a fan of 90s Oldsmobiles.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I’ve seen the 6.2 in mid level trim Chevy and GM pickups with the trailer tow package. They are almost as rare as Jack’s love for CUV’s.

        They are first to market again……….. WTF?

        This is so CARB can give GM a gold star for showing up to class and not drooling on the overachievers.

        Dave and bball are on the money.

        Oh and by the way, “GM has announced it will invest $148 million to repurpose machinery at its Spring Hill Manufacturing plant in Tennessee to create a third production site for the popular 6.2-liter small-block V-8. It says the move will retain 200 jobs at the plant.”

        At least someone out their listened to truck guys.

        • 0 avatar

          My brother hit a moose once. He had a new 1987 F150

          Now I’m picturing a moose driving a boxy Ford pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My dad once hit a cow in his early ’80s brown Toyota pickup, around 1984. Totaled.

            He maintains to this day, “It jumped out in front of me!”
            To which my mom replies, “When was the last time you saw a cow jump?!”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            madanthony – funny……..
            https://www.truthorfiction.com/moose-hunter/

            My brother saw the thing at the last second. He was driving too fast in a blizzard (after 2 weeks in a remote bush camp was horny- not that he will admit to that)

            He saw it hit and threw himself down. The moose ended up partially in the cab. He could feel its hide on his face.

            The truck spun and the moose flung off onto the road. He was so freaked out that he climbed out of the truck and ran over and started kicking the poor thing in the head with his steel toe work boots.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Moose bites can be very painful.

            Next up: Ralph the Wonder Llama.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – “Moose bites can be very painful.”

            So says Boris and Natasha?

            @Drzhivago138 –
            “Those responsible have been sacked.”

            Mark using that BanHammer once again?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            6.2 Chevy made you think of Monty Python?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Just providing context for Ralph the Wonder Llama and “those responsible have been sacked.”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 – time to fire up netflix.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The proper place for the 5.3L is under the hood of a $45K Cadillac ATS.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Yeah, not seeing the appeal.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Seems like a lot of engineering and marketing expense for just 700 trucks. Why bother?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You might have missed the very first sentence:
      >”General Motors will test the coastal waters”
      >”test the coastal waters”
      >”test”

      It’s OK. I was distracted by the pictures the first time too.

    • 0 avatar
      laserwizard

      Because the money they spent to develop them was tax and interest free donations from the American taxpayer.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        DrZ,
        Whether or not they are testing coastal waters, GM still had to engineer this hybrid. If it costs them $7M to engineer, they are spreading those costs over a small base, resulting in a cost of $10K/vehicle just on the engineering, let alone the additional parts costs.

        Laserwizard,
        As usual, you’ve made an accusation with no evidence. When are you going to raise your game?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        laserwizard – awww come on now………Play the game……….

        “tax and interest free donations from the American taxpayer.”

        TIF DAT

        needs work………….

        Extra periods for the Doctor ;)

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      A 13 HP electric motor and a small lithium ion battery are much too little, much too late, much too pricey, on very few actual vehicles. Again GM is barely trying.
      It’s 2016, not 1986. Add an electric motor with some actual zip to it and a larger battery (is there really no space for a proper battery?), and build something to be proud of. Or will GM wait for Toyota to leapfrog them and capture another segment of the market?

      New slogan: “GM: Lower your expectations!”

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Hey, I’m a Millennial who loves pickup trucks and I eat kale. The trick is to roast in the oven until it turns into crispy chips.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How long do you have to cook kale for it to turn into Doritos?

      I have used kale once, in an Italian style sausage and potato soup replicating the one they have at OG. Delicious.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Not quite sure. When I’m not cooking off a recipe, I just put things in the oven until they “look done.”

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Kale is goo in soup. Yesterday, I made an Italian wedding soup that had kale in it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          My problem was that I didn’t consider the volume of soup I was making. I swear it was like two gallons worth, filled up a big soup pot. I ate it for four days, ha.

          http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/zuppa-toscana-recipe/

          Now I’m thinking about it and I wanna make it again.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s the problem with most soup recipes. SO. MUCH. SOUP. You need a vacuum sealer thing so that you can freeze the leftover soup.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I didn’t even consider it ahead of time, so I didn’t have any big freezer bags. My solution was making space for the big pot in the fridge, and #everymealsoup for the rest of the week.

            Cause I will absolutely not waste food I prepared myself, and which required cutting vegetables and 2+ hours cooking.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          you gotta add that stuff last, right before you serve it. Sweet potato, italian sausage, rice, chicken broth, whatever seasoning you like, kale and you have a heck of a soup.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        I throw kale in a pan after cooking chicken breast, just long enough to wilt it. Soaks up all the flavors. Goes well with rice for a “poor but not sad” meal.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        CoreyDL – add corn, soybean, and/or sunflower oil,milk, cheese cultures, enzymes, maltodextrin, wheat flour, whey, monosodium glutamate, buttermilk solids,whey protein concentrate, onion powder, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn flour, disodium phosphate, lactose, natural and artificial flavor, dextrose, tomato powder, spices, lactic acid, artificial color (including Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40), citric acid, sugar, garlic powder, red and green bell pepper powder, sodium caseinate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, nonfat milk solids, whey protein isolate, corn syrup solids.

        Deep fry until they resemble a food of your choice.

        kale is optional.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Saute with bacon. Onions and garlic are welcome additions as well. Make sure to liberally season with salt and pepper.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      It’s also good sauteed in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and a little broth to deglaze.

      Cubed pancetta and white northern beans are also great additions.

    • 0 avatar

      A hipster former coworker of mine (who drove a Prius) once made kale salad for our potluck Christmas party. The salad wasn’t bad, but the best part is text conversation I had with a coworker:

      coworker: Have you seen hipster coworker?

      MadAnthony: He’s in the breakroom kneading his kale

      coworker: huh?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    what is the supposed MPG, yes I saw 13% improvement , but over what? and what is the price premium over the standard truck, the details are missing from this piece.

  • avatar
    chris724

    Only 13% improvement in the city? Doesn’t the Fusion hybrid get like double the city mileage? Why does GM have so much trouble with this?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      because eAssist is a “mild” hybrid system; it’s more of a glorified auto stop/start setup. it only has a 13 hp electric motor so it’ll only come into play when taking off from a stop.

      the Fusion is a full hybrid which can actually travel farther and at faster speeds on EV power.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      If this technology were applied to the millions of vehicles engaged in business in urban areas, the fuel savings and pollution reduction would be significant. It would also cost a lot less per vehicle if it were the norm, rather than the exception.

      I think it will be “the norm” someday – GM is just ahead of the curve.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I have to laugh when Total Recall Motors says it is rushing something to production and I get hysterical when they mention it is in the truck market.

    For most instances, when TRM says it is building a “hybrid” that is pure deception. Except for when they built their first attempt at hybrid trucks and SUV’s, every other “hybrid” was total fraud. This company simply has no idea how to build a real hybrid – and even with the Vapor Volt, that is really more a hybrid than an electric vehicle with fossil fuel assist.

    Rush it to market, TRM. You are a third rate truck builder and you’ll never be more than that. You are in the same league of pretenders as Toyoduh, Nissan, and that covered catbox hauler from Honduh.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Let’s say I’m in Cali, so I’m probably in city or clogged freeway traffic for 80% of my driving. I log 15,000 miles per year, and for 12,000 of these the hybrid system is taking me from 14 to 16 mpg or thereabouts. So, I will burn 107 less gallons per year. At the $2.699 I saw in the OC a couple weeks back, that’s putting nearly $300/year in my pocket. So…how much extra does this system cost me? And are there any tax or lane use benefits? Help me out here, dear author.

    • 0 avatar

      $500 premium for eAssist, but the trim and option configurations for eAssist models are severely limited. That’s why I quoted total price. It’s $500 more than a comparatively equipped truck, but the number of comparatively equipped trucks that can be optioned with eAssist is very few.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Only on the luxo-barge trims? Like the previous truck hybrids?

        Oh, GM, do you ever learn? If this option were to be, truly, $500, fleet operators with work-grade trucks would probably like it. Thrifty individual proprietors would check it out and, maybe, go for it.

        However, putting it only on the top trims suggests that $500 isn’t the real price for this option and they must bury it under a pile of upscale markup.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Thanks, Mark! Looks like it actually makes financial sense, at least for those few who seek a truck with this level trim and powertrain. Hope it leads to more and better such tech in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I think it would qualify for the Section 179 tax deduction (GVWR >6,000lbs), so a small business who purchased (not leased) the vehicle could benefit.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Hey, at least it doesn’t look like they’ll be marketing it as the Prius of Pickups like last time. The pickups and full-size SUVs featured an embarrassing number of huge HYBRID badges for what they were.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    You hear that?

    That’s the sound of some of our curmudgeons being banned and a rather civil conversation, even with disagreements, going on above.

    I like it. One of the most lucid B&B discussions on a GM gaffe in as long as I can remember.

  • avatar

    I could see this being useful to fleets that put a ton of mileage on their vehicles, but fleets are buying stripper plastic-bumpered white work trucks, not $50,000 ones. Except maybe government fleets that have requirements to buy hybrids if available.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Practically all fleet trucks are RCLB or extended cabs. All the previous hybrid trucks were CCSB IIRC. I almost had too many abbreviations there.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Drzhivago138 – I don’t know about the USA but in Canada if you work for a company and are allowed to take a fleet/company truck home and it has more than 1 set of seats i.e. extended or crew it is considered a “taxable personal use benefit”. That encourages the use of regular cab trucks.
        My brother always wants a crewcab truck for work and he has to pay taxes based upon the percentage of personal use. A regular cab is exempt. I can’t recall how much he has to pay. IIRC an extra 1,500 – 2,000 per year. He doesn’t care since he hasn’t had to buy a new vehicle since he bought his “moose truck” in 1987.
        That poor truck survived the moose but not his two daughters.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’ve long thought that pickups were the natural candidates for hybridization. Their heavy weight means they can better absorb the weight of batteries without seeing a huge increase in curb weight by percentage. Plus, with their naturally poor fuel economy, any increase makes a bigger difference with them than with already efficient cars. Over 15,000 miles, taking a hypothetical pickup from a 17 to a 22 mpg average (5 mpg increase) saves about 200 gallons of fuel (~880 vs ~680 gallons), whereas taking a hypothetical sedan from 30 to 35 mpg (same mpg increase) saves less than 75 gallons (500 vs 429).

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Regarding weight: yes, a pickup has the capacity to absorb heavy batteries. But when selling pickups becomes a numbers game of who has the best payload, towing, etc., advertising a pickup with a compromised payload rating because it’s carrying X lbs. of batteries is a hard sell to buyers who want the top numbers (regardless of whether the buyer would ever even use that capability).

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Drzhivago138 – Chevy was the only one to take a stab at the market but for some incredibly odd reason they went with the 6.0 and not the 5.3. The truck took a big hit in towing and cargo. I’ve only seen maybe 3 of them in the wild.

        tjh8402 – Via Motors does make an electric conversion out of Chevy pickups and vans. It is expensive. IIRC they use a V6 engine but only as a power generator.
        Protean Electric has an all electric Ford conversion with an electric motor at each wheel.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I’ve seen maybe 2 GMT900 hybrids. There was actually also a hybrid version of the GMT800 truck that used the 5.3. I’ve never seen one of those.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          ” Chevy was the only one to take a stab at the market but for some incredibly odd reason they went with the 6.0 and not the 5.3.”

          The answer to that is the 6.0 was able to run in the V4 mode longer than the 5.3. Even at 55 MPH our ’07 ‘Hoe can’t manage to hold the V4 mode all that long. Kind if disappointing how easy it kicks back into V8 mode.

          Well it never runs in V4 mode anymore. I have a device that plugs into the OBD terminal and keeps it in V8 mode all the time. No noticeable change in fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    James2

    What’s the point of the headline? If, the first time around the GM hybrid trucks had generated any sort of demand, then Ford might have decided to compete. Instead, what happened? GM itself killed off the trucks. Wow, they’re at it again. Big whoop!

  • avatar
    motormouth

    This article makes it sound like this is the first Silverado hybrid, where the previous-generation model had a hybrid option for the 2009 model year.

  • avatar
    AWJustus22

    I drove a Buick LaCrosse with the e-assist mild hybrid system in 2012. The 15hp motor-alternator added a nice bump in torque for a car that size, even if the fuel economy bump wasn’t very big. Can’t imagine a similar system would help much in a truck weighing so much more.

    Via Motors already makes Chevy vans, and soon trucks, into gas-electric plug-in hybrids that make a much more compelling economic and engineering case than the e-assist truck. They’re like a big Volt.


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