Hybrid Pickups On Mild-Hybrid Technology
General Motors’ entry into the hybrid pickups scene rides on pickups utilizing the mild-hybrid technology. While full sized pickup trucks like Silverado and Sierra went hybrid as full-sized pickup trucks packed with all the power that trucks need, GM is set to follow these up with milder pickup versions in the hybrid Tahoe and Yukon SUVs. These hybrid pickups will come in 2007 and will live up to the standards of economy and efficiency of their bigger brothers the Silverado and Sienna.
How well did the Silverado and Sierra fare as far as their mild-hybrid technologies are concerned? EPA estimates pegged Silverado’s performance at 17mpg on city driving and rose to 19mpg on the highway. This is while EPA ratings for conventional models were at 15 and 19 for city and highway driving, respectively. With the mild-hybrid adoption by GM, fuel savings for these models are expected to move higher for these hybrid pickups.
Going Mildly Hybrid
GM’s mild-hybrid pickups go like this: Firstly, these guys had their starters replaced by a starter-generator, electric-run, that courses the power from the engine to the transmission through compact coils. This starter generator is the point man in the mild-hybrid system. It starts the engine quietly but quickly. During cruising or coasting, electricity is further generated and the battery duly charged through regenerative braking.
This means that fuel is saved significantly as the hybrid pickups start easily with the least engine revolution. The engine fuel valve is shut off when the unit is coasting as the electric drive kicks in. Each time the driver applies the brake pedals, kinetic energy is captured through the regenerative braking system which in turn recharges the battery pack.
Light-duty hybrid pickups like the Silverado and Sierra lines form the bulk of the hybrid pickups most admired in the market. These light duty pickups will have you fooled by the light-duty labels, though, because they deliver heavy duty performance. These pickups can carry almost 2,000 pounds in their pickup beds, which can come in three options – the short, the standard, and the long box. With these hybrid pickups’ production from 1999 to the present, their fuel efficiency and full-power have come to reassure Chevy and GMC fans.
Comparing Hybrid Pickups
Let us see how the Silverado compares with its contemporary in the hybrid pickup line, the Sierra, side by side.
The Silverado uses regular gasoline, as does the Sierra. Silverados come in 2-wheel and 4-wheel drives; the same goes true for the Sierras. Both deliver city driving mileage of 18 mpg and 17 mpg for the 2wheel drive and 4wheel drive models, respectively.
Cruising on the highways at 21mpg and 19mpg for 2wheel drive and 4wheel drive, respectively, again the Silverado is neck to neck with the Sierra. When these two hybrid pickups combine their gasoline and electric motors, both generate mileages of 19 miles and 18 miles to the gallon.
How economical are these hybrid pickups to generate the kind of attention they are getting right now? According to GM, fuel consumption of the Silverado is exactly comparable to the Sierra so much so that both use up only about 5 dollars worth of fuel to drive 25 miles. As to emissions, both are at midlevels in so far as their annual emission rates of greenhouse gases are concerned.
These two are high performance hybrid pickups. Featuring standard wheel drive setups, these models come in performance suspensions and heavy-duty wheels that deliver the rugged performance of pickups.
And finally, safety wise, they fare better than their conventional counterparts as to national highway safety standards after considering air bag provisions, climate control, on-board navigation, lighting, locks, and steering.
All in all, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra are hybrid pickups that deliver the punch of full-sized pickup trucks without the high fuel and maintenance costs. Classed as standard pickups, these guys nonetheless live up to expectations for full-sized trucks.