Gas prices are at their lowest point in ages, but we all know that these low prices will not last. With this in mind, General Motors is getting back into the hybrid pickup game—sort of—with the optional and super-limited eAssist option on its 1500 trucks from Chevy and GMC.
While these are very mild hybrid systems, the eAssist systems do help out a bit, increasing fuel economy by 2 mpg across the board. This brings the final EPA numbers to 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined from the 5.3-liter V-8. What’s more, the addition of the eAssist system temporarily boosts output by 13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet during acceleration, bringing the final number to 368 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque—more than enough to compensate for the 100 pounds the eAssist system adds.
This eAssist system borrows various components from existing cars in GM’s lineup. Specifically, the 24-cell 0.45 kWh battery hails from the Malibu Hybrid while the software used to control the battery is a modified version of the Volt’s system. To help maximize fuel economy, this system also comes with regenerative braking, stop/start capability, and an aerodynamically enhanced front end with grille shutters.
Chevrolet will offer just 500 examples of the 2016 Silverado eAssist and it will only be available in California. The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 eAssist will be a little more limited as only 200 units will be available in Cali, and buyers can only get this system with the SLT Premium Plus package. This required package includes loads of upscale features, like LED headlights and taillights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Bose audio system, wireless phone charging, heated and vented seats, and much more. GM plans to expand the availability of the eAssist system in 2017.
The eAssist system will be a $500 option on the Silverado 1500, but GMC did not reveal pricing details—I assume it will be a $500 increase as well.