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GM Makes Silverado and Sierra Hybrid Pickups Available Nationwide

GM’s hybrid system applied in the Sierra. Click to enlarge.

General Motors has expanded the availability of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size start-stop hybrid pickup trucks nationwide beginning with the 2006 model year. The trucks had been available only to retail customers in Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The hybrid pickups replace the conventional starter motor and alternator with a compact 14-kW electric starter generator integrated between the engine and transmission. GM estimates that the start-stop system will provide fuel savings of 10%.

The hybrid models use GM’s Vortec 5300 5.3-liter V-8 engine with 295 horsepower (220 kW) and 454 Nm of torque, a four-speed automatic transmission, and the start-stop system with regenerative braking.

Generated electricity is stored in a 42-volt lead-acid battery pack. The truck can also provide 20 amps of 120-volt household-like power through outlets in the cab and pickup bed to operate power tools at a construction site or to run essential home appliances during power outages.

The hybrid option is available only the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab pickups. The option is net priced at $1,500 and comes with an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on all hybrid-related components.

It’s a fully capable V-8 powered hybrid pickup truck that can haul and tow just as much as its rugged gasoline counterpart, along with providing customers a 10-percent fuel economy savings.

—Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain

Which begs the question, why not apply the start-stop system more widely, and in diesel models?

According to the EPA, the conventional 2006 Silverado and Sierra pickups with the same displacement engine and transmission achieve combined fuel economy of 18 mpg in the 2WD configuration. A 10% improvement in fuel economy via the start-stop system would nudge that toward 20 mpg US.



Indeed, we need this in GM's work/utility vans. Our company spends well over $2000/month in fuel, a 10% savings would be a significant gain.

(Pickup trucks are great for hauling, but are horrible for doing service work out of).

Lance Funston

Many environmentalists, and especially the UCS folks, scoff at these new GMC "mild" hybrids (mostly for using the term "hybrid"), but for their intended use (these are mostly contractors... not soccer Moms swadling their tikes in steel juggernauts) they are a step forward. The combo start-stop and auxillary power for tools is of real environmental value (no one has calculated potential energy savings from using "found power" from the truck's own power system rather than an outlet) and utility. Combined with GM's DOD technology I'm sure we could see these trucks hit 20% fuel savings.

For folks who experience the hideous stop and go rush-hour traffic of many major cities, I would suspect real-world fuel savings might actually be much higher than 10% using start-stop technology. If we just added that one option across all cars, including retrofit on some older cars, the fuel savings could be considerable.

little shop

Retrofiting older cars that had power steering and brakes would be hard. While the GM system is not the greatest design it can save quite a large amount of fuel due to its application in a big truck. Secondly if contractors use it vs a stand alone external generator the pollution and noise savings would be huge. External portable generators are quite dirty and loud.

They should apply this to the vans and the v6 models as well. While this system is junk compared to a Prius, if GM made it STANDARD on all Silverados it would save more fuel then all of the Priuses out there. Maybe someday!

PS - I dont even think it should be allowed be called hybrid until it can add to the forward motion of the truck.

Richard Burton

Start-stop should be mandatory immediately on all vehicles, but especially diesel trucks-the pollution and noise from idling is obscene.


$1500 sounds like a lot of money for a beffier starter alternator + several lead acid batteries + a few electic outlets.


$1,500 isn't too bad, on some cars just a sunroof costs $1,000...and it doesn't save you any money.


Hi there I agree with Lance that this is really old hat but the marriage of hybrid and IVT (you will recognise that as CVT in the USA) will be the popular method of achieving 20% or more fuel economy improvements. You will even be able to buy a lawn mower or small tractor with this fitted from next year from MTD Infinitrak. Check out the website http://www.torotrak.com/
for better information ask for IVT at your local showroom. It will be available soon but only if you demand it! Why should you be able to get it in your mower when you cant get it in your truck?

Shaun Williams

This is only a very tiny little step in the right direction. Remebering that ICE's are only 15% effecient to start with, 10-20% of that is paltry (18% overall efficiency max). Especially in environmental terms. It's not much more than a feature useful for marketing.


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