GMC Expands Fuel-saving Sierra 1500 Option to the Rest of the USA

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gmc expands fuel saving sierra 1500 option to the rest of the usa

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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  • Zip89123 Zip89123 on Oct 05, 2017

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

  • Frylock350 Frylock350 on Oct 09, 2017

    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).

  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.
  • Wjtinfwb I've seen worse on the highways around Atlanta, usually with a refrigerator or washer wedged into the trunk and secured with recycled twine...
  • Wjtinfwb Surprising EB Flex hasn't weighed in yet on it being the subject of a recall...