Think of this as a Buick LaCrosse Hybrid. General Motors' new eAssist technology employs a 115-volt lithium-ion battery and 15-kilowatt electric motor to increase fuel economy by 25 percent compared to today's four-cylinder LaCrosse. This means the Buick sedan will achieve an estimated 25/37 miles per gallon (city/highway).
During initial acceleration, the electric motor delivers 15 horsepower and 79 pound-feet of torque to get the LaCrosse moving. A torque-smoothing function is activated as the gasoline engine is turned on, and the eAssist system kicks back on during deceleration, using a fuel shut-off feature and regenerative braking, combined with a start/stop system for the 2.4-liter gasoline engine. At full tilt, the gas engine produces 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of twist to keep things moving along at speed, and is mated to GM's Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission.
Other modifications to the LaCrosse eAssist include improved underbody panels and an active front air-flow shutter to keep the sedan's coefficient of drag as low as possible. Inside, a revised instrument panel not only shows when the LaCrosse is operating in electric mode, but has an eco-meter for the driver to monitor how efficient his or her driving style is.
GM will be offering eAssist as standard equipment on all 2012 Buick LaCrosses equipped with the 2.4-liter four, and pricing is expected to begin around $30,000. Considering the LaCrosses's size, level of content and efficiency, it sounds like quite a bargain. Read the full details in GM's press release, after the jump.