General Motors launched the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist on August 25. The new model features a 2.4-liter SIDI intelligent direct injection engine along with advanced eAssist intelligent technology (light electrification, earlier post), which work together to reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared with the standard model. Deliveries to customers will begin in September.
The LaCrosse is a popular member of the Buick family in China. Through the end of July 2011, about 215,000 had been sold nationwide. (By comparison, GM delivered 35,298 units of the LaCrosse in the US from January through the end of July 2011.)
At the heart of the LaCrosse eAssist is a 115V lithium-ion battery and 15kW motor-generator unit, which help increase fuel economy. This provides electricity to charge the battery and electric power assistance during heavy acceleration. The system offers engine start-stop functionality when the vehicle is stopped, the use of electricity instead of gasoline when stopped, aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration for added fuel savings, and intelligent charge/discharge of the high-voltage battery.
The LaCrosse eAssist also features improved underbody aerodynamics and tires optimized for performance and fuel economy, as well as active control of front-end airflow that improves aerodynamics and engine warm-up.
Active shutters in the lower grille close at higher speeds to push more air over the vehicle, which increases aerodynamic efficiency to enhance fuel economy. All of these technologies improve the vehicle’s efficiency.
The LaCrosse eAssist consumes 5.2 liters of fuel per 100 km (45 mpg US) at a constant 90 km/h (56 mph) and 7.2 liters of fuel per 100 km (33 mpg US) under combined road conditions. It offers a fuel economy improvement of 20% compared with the standard model. In city driving with heavy congestion, fuel economy can increase by more than 30% .