Chevrolet to offer small number of 2016 Silverados pickups with e-Assist mild-hybrid technology; 13% better city cycle fuel economy
Chevrolet will offer a small number—initially approximately 500 through California dealers—MY 2016 Silverado pickup trucks equipped with eAssist mild-hybrid technology. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet may adjust production for 2017 model year.
The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of electrified vehicles, including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13% better fuel economy in city driving.
Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy. For customers and small-business owners who use their trucks for more urban driving, the addition of eAssist can further reduce their fuel costs without sacrificing the utility they expect in a full-size truck.—Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevrolet Trucks
The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission. The compact, lightweight system increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds. Capabilities include:
Electric Power Boost: The on-board electric motor provides up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) and 44 lb-ft (60 N·m) of supplemental power during acceleration and passing. The electric motor also enables the Active Fuel Management system on the 5.3L V-8 engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods, resulting in additional fuel economy benefits.
Stop/Start: Added fuel savings are achieved by seamlessly turning the engine off when stopped at a traffic light or in congested traffic and turning the engine back on when the accelerator is pressed. Regenerative Braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system.
These features deliver a 13% improvement in city fuel economy, based on EPA estimates. The 2016 Silverado eAssist will have an EPA estimated 18 mpg (13 l/100 km) city, a 2 mpg improvement over the equivalent Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8 and 8-speed automatic. EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Silverado eAssist is 24 mpg (9.8 l/100 km), while the combined rating is 20 mpg (11.75 l/100 km).
Power for the eAssist system is supplied by a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the center console (or front bench seat) that uses the same battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. It weighs nearly 15% less than the previous generation eAssist system, yet provides up to 15 kW of power to the electric motor.
A reengineered power inverter module is now liquid-cooled and moved underhood for improved packaging and performance. The software used to control the battery system is based off a modified version of the software for the Chevrolet Volt.
The compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides peak regen capability of 15 kW resulting from advanced software controls based off those used in the Volt. The motor, which features a stator design leveraged from the Volt and Malibu Hybrid, acts like an electric torque booster.
This new generation of eAssist is also more modular than the previous system, meaning it could be more easily used in front-wheel or rear-wheel drive drivetrain configurations and it’s capable of using more or fewer cells, based on power needs for each vehicle application.
The eAssist propulsion system, including the 8-speed automatic transmission, will be a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim.