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Buick adding new eAssist mild hybrid to 2018 Buick LaCrosse as standard powertrain

The Buick LaCrosse is adding eAssist light electrification for the 2018 model. This new eAssist system, when coupled with the four-cylinder engine, has a 19% increase in city fuel economy compared to the LaCrosse’s advanced V-6 and leverages a compact lithium-ion battery pack to provide select benefits found in fully electric vehicles, such as torque-assisted launch, energy-saving regenerative braking and exceptionally smooth stop/start.

Compared to previous Buick eAssist executions (earlier post), this newest iteration is more sophisticated, powerful and compact. It will be the standard powertrain for the 2018 LaCrosse, which goes on sale this fall.

With its 9% increase in overall torque, drivers get the responsiveness expected from a full-size sedan. In addition, the newest eAssist system is discreetly packaged to maintain the LaCrosse’s fold-down rear seat and ample trunk space.

The new standard 2.5L four-cylinder with eAssist complements the V-6 that launched on the 2017 LaCrosse last September. With the introduction of this new standard powertrain, the 2018 LaCrosse starting price will be lowered to $30,490. The 3.6L V-6 will be an available option on select trims.

Other notable updates to the 2018 Buick LaCrosse include expanded availability of AWD and an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission for V-6 models that will provide customers with a smooth and refined shifting experience. By this time next year, five Buick models will offer this advanced transmission. In response to customer demand, Buick’s intelligent AWD with active twin clutch is now available on the Essence trim level.

Buick’s eAssist propulsion system combines a compact electric motor and an advanced 24-cell air-cooled 0.45kWh lithium-ion battery pack with the 2.5L four-cylinder gas engine to enhance efficiency and maintain refined performance through:

  1. Motor Generator Unit (MGU): Replaces the traditional alternator and acts as an electric motor to assist the engine when needed. It also acts as an electric generator providing the energy stored in the lithium-ion battery pack.

  2. Electric Assist: The MGU’s electric motor function provides a power boost for an extremely smooth launch from the Auto-Stop mode. It funnels additional torque to the engine when needed to optimize overall driving performance and efficiency.

  3. Regenerative Braking: When braking or coasting, some of the energy normally lost is converted to electricity through the MGU and stored in the lithium-ion battery pack.

  4. Lithium-Ion Battery Pack: The 86V lithium-ion battery pack, which has been repackaged to be more compact, stores energy captured during regenerative braking. This energy powers the electrical system when the vehicle is in Auto-Stop mode. It also powers the MGU to provide a smooth launch from Auto-Stop mode or additional torque to the engine as needed.

  5. Seamless Stop/Start Technology: Contributes to added fuel savings by seamlessly turning off the engine when in Auto-Stop mode (e.g., at a stoplight or in heavy traffic) and restarting when the foot lifts off the brake pedal or presses the accelerator.

  6. Aero Improvement: Upper and lower active aero shutters in the front fascia close under certain driving conditions to help maximize aerodynamics and contribute to improved fuel economy.

Comments

Juan Valdez

20% increase in in city fuel consumption is great! This sounds like VOLT technology, repackaged without the plug-in.

This is what all car companies should be doing.

Seems like an easy and safe way to get electrification into consumers hands at no risk/mess/plug-in business.

Nice going Buick!!

Engineer-Poet

A real hybrid has city economy better than its highway economy.

Still, this is much better than nothing.  A 16% cut in the enormous amount of fuel consumed in city driving makes a huge difference.

mahonj

@Juan, they aren't really comparing apples with apples. The 4 2.5 cylinder with mild hybrid is 19% better than the 6 cylinder 3.5 in town. As long as people are happy to move to a 4 cylinder, we have a deal, otherwise, we have two separate things.
Nonetheless, 19% is not to be sneezed at and to be welcomed. I wonder how far they could push it at 48V. What would happen if they had a 1KwH battery rather than a 0.45kwH one. IMO, the more distance you can do electric in towns, the better.

You could even place a small solar panel on the roof to trickle charge it. (A 120 W panel could almost charge a 1KwH battery during daylight hours if placed in the sun.)

SJC

When 20 mpg in town becomes 24 mpg with the addition of a cost effective hybrid addition, good deal.

James McLaughlin

mahonj, I suspect they are using 48 V, do you think not?

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