By on October 5, 2017

2016 GMC Sierra with eAssist

As Fiat Chrysler’s Ram division enjoys wearing the full-size pickup fuel economy crown with its now-legal-again 1500 EcoDiesel, and as Ford throws turbo V6s and 10-speed automatics at everything, what’s General Motors supposed to do to greenwash its truck fleet?

Easy. Simply offer customers in all 50 states a rare option previously available only in California.

For the 2018 model year, GMC will sell its Sierra 1500 eAssist mild hybrid pickup to customers in all 50 states, not just in the sunny home of emissions-obsessed celebs, The Car Connection reports.

The General launched the current eAssist truck back in early 2016. Essentially a compound induction motor bolted to the accessory drive of a 5.3-liter V8, eAssist promises slight fuel economy savings when combined with features like cylinder deactivation and active grille shutters. While powertrain output remains the same as a stock variant (355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque), the 15 kW electric motor, fed by an air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, adds another 13 hp and 44 lb-ft during high-load driving scenarios.

Besides delivering extra grunt during acceleration and passing, the electric motor allows the Sierra’s V8 to lope along with half of its cylinders firing for longer periods of time. It also oversees the vehicle’s start/stop system.

What’s the payoff? According to the EPA, the eAssist powertrain sees a rear-drive crew cab 1500 sip gas at the same rate as a base 4.3-liter V6 crew cab equipped with a six-speed automatic (the eAssist variant uses an eight-speed). More specifically, it means 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. That’s a 2 mpg improvement over a stock 5.3-liter model’s city fuel economy and an extra mpg on the highway, for a 1 mpg overall improvement.

According to GMC spokeswoman Kelly Wysocki, the Sierra 1500 eAssist saw enough California customers for execs to feel the model was viable throughout the United States.

If the thought of meager mileage improvements turns you on, just know that the $1,125 eAssist package is only available on midlevel SLT crew cab models, in both rear- or four-wheel-drive layouts. Adding 4WD doesn’t do wonders for fuel economy, however. Sending some of that electric power to the front wheels means an 18 mpg combined rating, or less than a 4WD V6 model.

[Image: General Motors]

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24 Comments on “GMC Expands Fuel-saving Sierra 1500 Option to the Rest of the USA...”

  • avatar

    12K miles a year. $2.50 gas. A 1 MPG improvement will save about $70 a year. So the break even for the $1,125 option is about 15-16 years.


    Even if gas were to double in price, you’re still talking a 7-8 year payoff.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on your definition of “normal use”. I would imagine more for fleet than individual ownership. Let’s say you do 20k miles/year, almost all city. Going from 16 to 18 mpg, that’s ~139 gallons/year. At $3/gallon (CA here), that’s around $415/year savings. Or a 3-year payoff. Assuming even a 5-year lifecycle, you’re still ahead around $800.

      Of course, that does make some pretty specific assumptions. But, the 2 mpg city, going from 16 to 18 mpg is the big differentiator here, IMHO, not the 1 mpg highway.

    • 0 avatar

      I think few people buy it to “save money”.

      I anticipate it being more like this:

      “Hunny, I’m going to buy a truck”
      “A Truck? your murdering babies and seals and destroying our environment”
      “No dear, it is actually a hybrid! Its better for the environment!”
      “Aww! Great! Let me tell all our friends at the country club””

      There was an interesting research piece from some university talking about how people that buy electric cars often “compensate” in other areas buy buying LESS efficient cars as their second vehicle (IE electric car + big SUV or truck).

      I see the e-assist as being a “compensation” purchase, NOT a practical purchase. In other words, someone who wants a truck but feels guilty about killing babies and seals will instead opt for the e-assist, allowing them to feel better about it and have a clean conscious when they talk to their friends about it. “We opted for the hybrid”

      That is how I anticipate it!

    • 0 avatar

      At least in California it is around $3.20 gas, urbaner don’t buy a V8 pickup usually.

  • avatar

    They’ll sell about 50 of these, but it’s a beta test for what will likely need to be the volume Silverado powertrain after 2022.

    I’m good with anything that keeps the V8 alive.

  • avatar

    GM co-developed a 10 speed transmission with Ford correct?

    When are they going to start using it? I imagine the fuel savings would be about the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Sort of. Ford developed the 10-speed. GM developed the 9-speed for FWD vehicles. GM builds the 10-speed in their factories and programs it to their liking. It is already on the Camaro ZL1 and will be in 8 other vehicles by next year.

    • 0 avatar

      For now, GM is treating the 10A like the 6.2L and putting it as the “premium” offering for stuff like the Escalade, Denali, ZL1, and Tahoe RST.

      I agree it looks bad when Ford will give you basically the same thing on a F-150 XL fleet truck.

      • 0 avatar

        As always – GMs product planning makes no sense to me.

        Full size trucks (non premium) – 6-speed auto unless you pay for the 8 speed.

        Canyon/Colorado – 8 speed mandatory with the V6, no charge.

        Ford: “Y’all want the 10-speed? Get the 10-speed.”

        Ram: 8-speed ALL THE THINGS!

        • 0 avatar

          I’ve seen the 6.2 offered in mid level spec trucks in BC but that is rare. It may be a case where we sometimes see slight variations between Canada and the USA on the spec sheet.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            That’s a Canadian thing. 6.2L is LTZ and up on the Silverado and SLT and up on the Sierra. Also, it only comes in crew cab short box and extended cab short box configurations.

          • 0 avatar

            Lame. Why can’t I have the 6.2L in an LT trim? I’m not made of money Rencen.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Mark Stevenson and I are both proponents of a Silverado W/T regular cab/short bed with the 6.2L.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Mild” hybrid is an understatement.

  • avatar

    Make it standard and offer a credit for a “regular” 5.3.

    • 0 avatar

      1979 called and they want their ideas back (re: standard 350 diesel for MPG reasons.) :-P

      • 0 avatar

        That could have worked had 1979 GM not been the one implementing it. Imagine if Japan Inc had spearheaded the effort.

        • 0 avatar

          @28-Cars: I’m trying to imagine a Cressida with a 350 cubic inch Toyota designed V8 regardless of what the fuel source was…

          @highdesertcat – it was Hiroshi Miyamura High School (2 high schools in Gallup now, named for our local Medal of Honor winner.)

          Knew a few family members and apparently my wife and her family knew them better (wife was born and raised here and as where her parents who are now in their 60s).

      • 0 avatar

        PrincipalDan, did you know the lady from the Gallup HS who was killed in Las Vegas?

  • avatar

    GM techs in 49 states rolling eyes now. A half-ton full-size diesel would be something more would like than this.

  • avatar

    This has been available nationwide on the Silverado since 2017. Also there’s a big chunk of cash on the hood if you check the eAssist option box. It can be effectively cheaper to get the BAS3 system than not.

    I personally am intrigued. It seems to offer no downsides and can offer improved fuel economy and passing performance (especially if paired with the performance exhaust and a CAI).

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