• 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 eAssist Hybrid: Is There Future in Hybrid Pickup Trucks? [Video]

    2017 GMC Sierra 1500
    2017 GMC Sierra 1500

    Is there future for gas/electric Hybrid pickup trucks? GM is currently the only one out of the “big 5” pickup truck manufactures (Ford, GM, Nissan, Ram, and Toyota) who is experimenting with the electric hybrid technology for pickups.

    The latest eAssist Hybrid system is a “mild” hybrid. The truck cannot run on electricity alone. The 0.45 kWh 24-cell battery and the electric motor are there to assist the 5.3L V8 during acceleration and in passing maneuvers. It also improves city fuel efficiency by about 13%. This translates to efficiency estimates of 18 MPG city and 24 MPG on the highway. The eAssist system adds just 100 pound of weight to the truck and does not negatively impact the payload or towing ratings. The electric motor provides 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of additional power.

    2017 GMC Sierra All Terrain SLT

    The eAssist Hybrid is only available on a loaded GMC Sierra 1500 SLT model and starts around $51,000. However, you can also get this system in a Chevy Silverado LT. The low battery capacity does not qualify these trucks for government tax credits.

    The other catch is that these trucks are only available in California and as 2WD models. Will GM extend the eAssist system for sale in other states or with 4×4 models? Can this system be upgraded with a bigger batter or other powertrain combinations?

    Op/Ed Note: I think there is merit to making gas/electric or diesel/electric Hybrid pickup truck more prevalent. The technology has advanced to a level where this system can offer significant efficiency benefits.

    Get all the details on the current 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 eAssist Hybrid here.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    26 thoughts on “2017 GMC Sierra 1500 eAssist Hybrid: Is There Future in Hybrid Pickup Trucks? [Video]

    1. It would be interesting to do some mileage loops with and without the e-assist to see some real world differences in similar/same trucks.

      1. Alan – – –

        Bingo! Good comment. My first thought was how much of that “13%” improvement came from all the other “improvements” (e.g., aero), vs. the e-assist alone.

        Significant hybridization of pickups runs into some others issues, beyond immediate fuel-mileage gains:
        1) “13%” to get 24 mpg is not a great improvement, and VERY close to what can already be obtained by other ICE technologies;
        2) Larger levels of hybridization will have the weight of the battery pack chewing away at load capacity.
        3) Added cost will threaten competitiveness in the market place.
        4) Longevity, complexity, and replacement cost of the battery pack is a concern, since most pickup owners keep their trucks for an average of 15 years or more.
        5) Gas is cheap. And there seems to be no projected increase on the horizon for a decade or more.
        6) Buick tried “e-assist” a while ago, and found that it was not selling well.
        7) The effect on comparative towing capacity was not specified in this review.
        8) What about trade-in value of this truck at 15 years of ago, vs. an ICE-only GMC truck?
        9) Is there a hidden reason why this marketing experiment was not done with a 4WD truck as well, since that is the major configuration currently? Or would the milage gain then be insignificant?
        10) Is ground clearance affected by the weight of the battery pack, for off-highway use?


        1. CORRECTIONS:

          a) 3rd line: “..runs into some others issues..”, should be changed to read, “..runs into some other issues..”
          b) 15th line, Point 8): “… truck at 15 years of ago…”should be changed to read, “… truck at 15 years of age…”


    2. They will probably look at this vs diesel in market sales. If they find this can sell well they will likely go full out and make these trucks better than a diesel on mpg and at that point beat the cafe requirements until batteries become the norm

      What I would like to know Andre if you can ask next time is how much does the hydro cost. You must have to plug this in so how much KW does it take to charge it? This has to be added to the overall cost to run it at 24mpg to get the whole picture. It will vary but there must be an average that that guy would know

      Also the tonneau cover is either $535.00 or $625.00. Via the website or type of vinyl cover. So the battery itself is like a $300.00-$400.00 option if the two pieces come together for about $900.00 Battery and tonneau cover combined. At $350.00 over 3 years that another $9.72 I have to add to my monthly fuel mileage plus hydro.

      Another thing is the guy said it assisted the motor. Does this mean it adds to the performance or just helps it to save fuel? Depends how they mapped this.

    3. I am curious to see since the EAssist system keeps cylinders deactivated longer if in conjunction with the AFM system if the engines will see greater oil loss than the previous generations. They issued a shield in a TSB back in 2013 but seems to slow the issue instead of fixing it. (Honda is dealing with the same issue in their Variable Cylinder Management as well)

          1. I’ll let you know when mine does, 46k on a 2014 4.3 so far. Coworker got a 2012 5.3 tahoe with 110k with no consumption in the 10k he put on it (father-in-law died and was gifted the vechile. Must be nice to get $12k for free!).
            Think it’s like the ecoboost timing chain issues, a little exaggerated. Or even the cam phaser issue of yesteryear.

          2. I haven’t seen a truck after 2012 that had an oil consumption issue due to AFM. I have seen a couple with a bad set of runs but not due to AFM. Dealers are constantly informing people that every combustion engine will use some oil as the combustion occurs within an engine (oil burned off cylinder walls). When we used to change oil every 4000 km we would never really see that we actually used 1/2 litre because it never really dropped on the dipstick. But now vehicles are going 7-8000 km on an oil change and even though the engine is still using the same amount per km driven it looks a lot worse because now it as used a litre and that really shows on the dipstick. So customers are complaining about their vehicle using a litre between oil changes not realizing they are going twice the distance on an oil change these days.

            1. Mine gets changed between 6000-8000 miles (about 10,000-12,000 km). I change at 20% of the dic oil life so could possibly hit 10,000 miles.

            2. Most recent case, a bud has ’14 with 77k miles, started doing it. Not as bad as my ’08 did, but he is at about 1 quart ever 1,500 miles. (mine was quart every 1,000 miles) It is most likely a bad set of rings, but dealer told him it’s a normal and acceptable amount of oil loss and will not do anything. I told him to keep logging it and try to get it handled before he hits 100k miles and try another dealer’s service department. I am not trying to make an argument on it. I am really interested to see this technology help and long term MPG effects, I am just curious to see if it accelerates the issue or not.

            3. It is really crazy a quart every 1000 miles is considered normal. Can’the really say for sure what is the cause with your buddies. My favorite is still the Chrysler 3.8 for oil consumption.

            4. Dodge and Chrysler suffer from it too. However, I don’t know anyone personally who purchases that brand for a real world story. You can definitely find some on the web though.

    4. I have heard about this before. The eassist without the tonneau cover costs about $500. If they offered that as an option nation wide I would take the that option without hesitation. A little more fuel economy and power for $500? Absolutely! Would love to see this system as an option on the Colorado, Canyon, Silverado, Sierra, Suburban, Tahoe, and Yukon nationwide. What kind of improvements could it supply to a midsize? Or even a Duramax? This probably helps more with city driving than anything. Diesels don’t normally shine in city driving, so adding this system to a diesel would be an interesting combination and $500 is not the $4-5 grand a traditional hybrid would cost. Great innovation!

    5. The battery is so small that it can only provide “assist” for very short periods. If it adds 100 lbs of weight, it will definitely negatively affect payload by said 100lbs. It adds cost and complexity. That said, fuel economy often suffers the most when taking off from a stop. If the electric can ease that burden…maybe it has a slight use.

    6. The problem with these mild hybrids is that they just don’t have a motor that can generate enough torque to be useful. More torque = more captured brake energy as well as enhanced acceleration / less usage of engine. The second problem is that insufficient energy storage of the batteries they use. With gas prices where they’re at and with a trump presidency that is likely going to either not continue with fuel economy demands or reduce the demands, I don’t think this is a winner.

    7. Jay is correct Honda vcm motors are burning oil too from rings not sealing vacuum while in vcm mode but weird thing is not all of them do it and Honda is now taking oil samples from vehicles that don’t burn oil too find the difference.

    8. Other honda/acura 4 clys are burning oil also do to oil control rings getting carboned up from poor fuel and too long between oil changes and not letting vehicle warm up.

    9. This is definitely in the right direction ,this mild hybrid will progress as years go by,especially over previous models..This kind of American technology is good to help us wing off foreign oil.. Just add some Made in the USA ethanol and things are looking even better.

      1. No thanks to a Super Duty ,the 2017 Superduty do look 10 times nicer than previous f-series models though.I will stick to Gm they have been very good to me..

    10. As a two time owner of a Prius,and also a every two year g.m. truck guy, I have always noticed the new g.m. engines do very well steady state mode I will call it it just needs that acceleration push on the front end. I’ve been waiting for this “boost” type of technology. It’s a great idear and should work great.

    11. It’s more than $500 to get eAssist on a Crew Cab 1500 SLT 2WD which was the only model it was available on in 2016 for CA buyers. The price is actually around $1200 which comes with the battery (placed under the center console with brake recharging abilities). Someone mentioned plug in with KW costs, it is not a plug-in. It comes a soft-Tonneau top and a partial grill closing feature or so I read. You cannot see it on the GM build a price webpage, because of it limitations (CA only), but this is the description the chat reps will give you.
      “The SLT eAssist Package includes a 5.3L V8 BAS 3 engine, 8 speed automatic BAS+ transmission, 7,200 lbs. GVWR, LED Lighting, cargo box and soft-folding tonneau cover.” You need to the BAS3 engine and trans and GM Chat Reps said that they do not see restrictions if you want to have it with the Max Trailering Package.

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