GM is spreading the full-size 2-Mode hybrid wealth from its big SUVs to its trucks. While the last Silverado Hybrid's claim to fame was its ability to act as a worksite generator, the all-new 2009 version is designed to deliver markedly improved fuel economy. Powered by the same 332 hp/367 lb-ft 6.0L V8 hybrid drivetrain as the Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade hybrids, GM claims that the truck will see a 40% increase in city fuel economy and a 25% overall bump compared to its non-hybrid sibling, making it the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup on the market ( EPA numbers are still TBD). It can run in all-electric mode up to 30 mph, even when towing (up to 6,100 lbs). Depending on the state of battery charge, all-electric operation can continue for up to one full mile. GM engineers also implemented a number of improvements to make driving quieter under all conditions, which is a.) nice for the occupants and b.) makes for a more seamless transition between electric-only and engine-on modes. In addition to the quiet tuning, the Silverado Hybrid receives aero tweaks in the form of a new front air dam and a standard tonneau cover for the bed. The most obvious tradeoff owners have to make is the loss of some potential in-cabin cargo space, as the battery pack resides under the back seat. That floorspace is normally unoccupied in non-hybrid Silverados and can be used to haul items when the seat bottom is flipped up and out of the way. Some of that utility is obviously lost in this application. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but expect to pay a premium for the green tech when the truck arrives in showrooms during the latter half of 2008.
2009 CHEVROLET SILVERADO HYBRID IS THE INDUSTRY'S
MOST FUEL-EFFICIENT FULL-SIZE TRUCK
LOS ANGELES – Affirming its commitment to fuel solutions and truck leadership, Chevrolet announced the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, a full-size pickup that achieves 40-percent greater city fuel economy and a 25-percent improvement in overall fuel economy. It is expected to be the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup on the market, besting the current V-8 leader – the non-hybrid Silverado.
Partnering General Motors' patented 2-Mode Hybrid system and a powerful 6.0L gas V-8, the Silverado Hybrid delivers highly efficient performance while maintaining full-size pickup capability. The hybrid system provides all-electric driving at low speeds, allowing fuel savings to be realized even when the truck is fully loaded or towing a trailer. Silverado Hybrid can tow up to 6,100 pounds (2,767 kg).
"The Silverado Hybrid is the newest example of Chevy's heritage of truck innovation, which stretches back 90 years, and exemplifies Chevrolet's commitment to fuel solutions," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "Silverado Hybrid will deliver fuel economy comparable to many small and midsize trucks that are equipped with four- or six-cylinder engines – all while delivering the capability customers expect of Chevy full-size trucks."
The Silverado Hybrid goes on sale in late 2008 and is based on the award-winning Silverado platform that was introduced for the 2007 model year. It will be offered in the Crew Cab body style; 2WD and 4WD models. Each model features Silverado's "Pure Pickup" trim and comes standard with several popular features, including StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, a locking rear axle and a trailering package.
"Silverado has one of the broadest and deepest lineups of models, configurations and capabilities," said Peper. "The Silverado Hybrid adds to the breadth and depth of offerings, while carrying the core elements that make Silverado one of the most well-equipped and safest trucks in the market."
Silverado offers dual-stage frontal air bags and head curtain side air bags; and is the only full-size truck with five-star side impact ratings in federal crash tests.
The Silverado Hybrid's fuel-saving performance is derived from GM's advanced Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) and 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System (ESS), which work in concert with the standard 6.0L V-8 Gen IV gasoline engine with Active Fuel Management (AFM) and late intake valve closing (LIVC) technology. GM's hybrid technology system not only enables the Silverado to launch and drive up to 30 mph on electricity alone, it also allows the 6.0L V-8 engine to operate in its more economical V-4 mode for longer periods.
With GM's 2-Mode Hybrid system, the electric power used to propel the vehicle is generated by the hybrid system itself. When the brakes are applied or the vehicle is coasting, the electric motors within the hybrid system create electricity that is stored in the 300-volt battery. This stored energy is used to move the vehicle and the regenerative braking cycle is renewed.
The 2-Mode Hybrid system provides seamless, dependable power on demand in an efficient package. In fact, its electric motor is less than half the size of those in single-mode hybrid systems. This technology was developed and is still used in fleets of hybrid transit buses in more than 70 North American and European cities. Scaled-down for use in passenger vehicles, the 2-Mode system delivers fuel savings where it is needed most – in large vehicles with high levels of capability. It is a core part of GM's energy diversity efforts, which are centered on reducing dependence on petroleum, improving fuel economy, reducing emissions and minimizing the automobile's impact on the environment.
With the fuel mileage savings of the hybrid system and Silverado's 26-gallon (98-liter) fuel tank, the Silverado Hybrid has a cruising range of more than 500 miles – enough to drive from San Francisco to San Diego.
Quiet and smooth
Integration of the hybrid system on the Silverado is seamless – the battery pack is located in the chassis, beneath the rear seat – and perceptible only in what it lacks: noise.
"The Silverado Hybrid is exceptionally quiet," said Mark Cieslak, vehicle chief engineer. "From a passenger's perspective, the refinement of the hybrid system is quite evident throughout the driving experience, and showcases itself when the vehicle is moving under electric power."
Contributors to the quiet driving experience include:
* New exhaust system and resonator tuned for the 6.0L engine's Active Fuel Management operation
* Additional engine intake induction tuning for reduced interior noise and pleasing sound quality
* Low-rolling resistance, "quiet-tuned" P265/65R18 tires for reduced road noise
* Electrically driven 300-volt air conditioning compressor reduces vibration and allows the HVAC system to cool the passenger compartment even when the gasoline engine is shut off. Includes the standard tri-zone HVAC system
* Electrically driven 42-volt variable-assist power steering reduces vibration and provides up to a 0.5-mpg fuel economy improvement by reducing parasitic losses common in belt-driven hydraulic systems
* Energy Storage System (ESS) cooling system internal fan is tuned to be quiet at low vehicle speeds when the fan could more easily be heard by the occupants
Along with quietness, the Silverado Hybrid also delivers exceptional driving smoothness, thanks to specifically tuned shocks for its Z85 suspension and a new, hydraulic body mount. Located on the passenger-side of the chassis, the hydraulic mount provides a dramatic improvement in highway driving smoothness, particularly on rough or choppy road surfaces.
"The hydraulic mount makes a dramatic improvement in ride quality," said Cieslak.
Additional details specific to the Silverado Hybrid include aerodynamic aids. A slightly deeper front air dam and a hard tonneau cover for the bed reduce air drag, fostering maximum efficiency. The tonneau cover has a three-segment design that enables easy folding or removal.
In addition to increased fuel economy, the Silverado Hybrid's electrically variable transmission also provides tremendous trailering capability, enhancing the smoothness and driving quality when towing. Electric drive is enabled up to approximately 30 mph (48 km/h), even when towing, allowing fuel savings when the truck is towing a trailer.
"Along with being very smooth, the EVT always provides abundant torque at all RPM levels for easy towing," said Cieslak. "It is particularly helpful on grades, as the EVT's greater ratio spread allows the engine to hold optimal rpm for smooth, steady performance, with no hunting between higher and lower gears."
The EVT incorporates grade braking and tap up/tap down shift control. It also benefits towing on curves or lower-speed back roads, as exceptionally smooth gear transitions eliminate the "shift shock" torque disruption that can occur during abrupt shifts, such as when slowing or braking.
"All-around driving performance, whether towing or not, is excellent," said Cieslak. "The smoothness and quietness of the EVT is the icing on the cake that comes with fuel savings."
The 2009 Silverado Hybrid is the second full-size hybrid pickup from Chevrolet. The previous-generation Silverado was offered as a mild hybrid that professionals found useful as a power generator at worksites.
The new Silverado Hybrid, which features GM's sophisticated hybrid system answers the needs of a broader range of customers and takes advantage of significant technological advances that have been realized since the previous hybrid was offered. The Silverado Hybrid joins the recently introduced Tahoe Hybrid, which also uses the 2-Mode system.
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