Community Question: Is It Time To Revisit A Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid?18
To the victor goes the spoils, as they say. Ford now has the marketing ammunition it needs to parade the fact it has a 25 MPG full-size pickup truck. Meanwhile, the Silverado slips behind in the MPG race, even though we think that will change with the adoption of the 10-speed automatic transmission in the near future.
However, with CAFE regulations creeping up on the industry, is it time for Chevrolet and General Motors to revisit a dedicated Silverado hybrid? That’s the thought in today’s Community Question.
The Silverado Hybrid first came about in 2004, believe it or not. Not only was it the first hybrid truck, it was the first hybrid passenger vehicle GM ever produced. It used a relatively simple hybrid system, which housed a 42 V battery system to restart the engine as the brake pedal was released, while three additional 12 V batteries provided extra power in the rear.
We think it’s a matter of “when” not “if” Chevrolet will introduce a Silverado Hybrid in the near future, knowing the brand’s Voltec powertrain has plenty of room to be shared among other products in the portfolio. In fact, it already has somewhat with the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado E-Assist. But, the Silverado E-Assist is being limited to 500 units, and is only available in California.
Still, the E-Assist option doesn’t match the magic 25 MPG of the F-150, clocking in at 24 MPG highway and 20 MPG combined.
What do you think? Is there a market for a dedicated hybrid pickup truck? Even more importantly, is it a good idea? Let us know in our poll and talk to us below.
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If done properly, I think a hybrid could be a great option. By “done properly,” I mean as in a decent sized battery to avoid the “mild hybrid” aspect from the 2013 Chevy Malibu (so-so fuel economy improvements). Although, weight and cost would be an issue.
Cost is a major factor here.
Trucks are getting very expensive and a Hybrid would drive up the cost. Also going all electric is tough as the large frontal profile and aero disadvantage they hold over a small EV car.
I still think GM and the others will play their other cards not yet played and work around the regulations with the weight class of trucks and then make smaller trucks to gain MPG.
GM already is near Ford in weight and they have not even used the new aluminum and steel welding they own the paten on. They have yet to go to more advanced smaller engines yet in the full size trucks.
I also expect Ford and Chevy to position the Ranger and Colorado/Canyon as the new Half ton rated truck but keep the full size and make it a 3/4 ton to avoid the higher CAFE required in the future on half ton models.
More advances and lower cost is needed for the trucks as lets face it the truck buyers now are not really worried about MPG and few will pay more for these systems.
The biggest issue is how much higher priced can they make a truck before people stop buying them? With income levels being stagnate and people just not all making more money increase cost can be a problem in the truck segment.
Also if these systems only add a MPG or two they will not care. Any improvement needs to be worth the cost.
Stick with the ICE for the foreseeable future. A beneficial cost to benefit ratio is not there for hybrids in a truck application.
The process is very costly and benefits are limited for vehicles the size of a Silverado.
A good fuel efficient diesel would be a much better use of resources. GM could roll it out to the full sized SUV’s (Tahoe, Suburban, Escalade, etc.) as well.
GM can use the same Voltec-designed RWD EDU from the Cadillac CT6 Hybrid in the Silverado, and put the 18 kWh battery under the truck bed as it did for the Chevy S-10 electric truck in the past. The weight will increase, but the V6 engine and the electric motor will give it much better acceleration and over 35 MPG.
Isn’t Toyota partnered with Ford for Hybrid truck technology?
I think more gears and a dual fuel injection system would help.
From what I understand, the 3.5L turbo Ford will have 10 speed already with dual injection.
GM small block is nice and compact and may fit well with electric motor help
Pickup is ideal to hide battery space.
I think GM is waiting to see how well their aluminum and composite body panels help the next gen truck.
ford found out taking out weight does not help much on a vehicle that is aerodynamic as a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood. my silverado gets the same MPG empty as it does with my 600 # ATV in the bed.
On an absolutely level road with no acceleration or braking you could be right.
but any kind of city driving, hills, acceleration or braking, absolutely 600# will burn more fuel, it’s a basic engineering calculation that holds true for any truck and any driveline.
my camp is 200 miles away and I get 18 MPG on the DIC empty or with the ATV on the trailer or in the bed. it is a 5.3 with a trailer package and 3.42 gears. depreciation cost owners more that fuel on any vehicle.
A truck is a work machine, and anybody wanting to save mileage should move to another option. That being said we all love increases in efficiency. If Gm were to introduce a hybrid truck, the Colorado would pose a great option. Contractors once talked up the idea of using a smaller cheaper truck in a hybrid mode give that its battery serves an onsite asset, like tool recharge and the larger electric motor generator could be hooked up to a 240V plug, incredibly handy. The hybrid suburban of a decade ago was never a popular pulling vehicle, and we use our suburban a lot for RVing. The EAssist is as far as I would go in this decade with anything over a quarter ton chassis
The Ford F 150 has passed the Chevy Silverado 1500 on gas mileage . Well Ford is getting ready to do it again ,with the option of a 3.0 Diesel for 2018 ! Come on GM , where is the Diesel option for the Silverado 1500 ?
I really think that they could adopt some technology from the Voltec program. Just look at what they have accomplished with the new Volt and the CT6 PHEV. The CT6 shows us that this tech can be applied to larger engines. In the CT6, the system puts out 335 hp and 432 lb-ft torque and 30 miles of range. Range would surely suffer in a truck on the highway thanks to aerodynamics, but would be decent in low speed, around-town driving, and driving around job sites. This system could move forward with the 2.0 turbo, or maybe even grow to the the new 3.0 turbo with a slightly larger battery. Electrification will need to be adopted, and GM needs to make splash in the market after falling behind in the engine and tech department to Ford.
You are 100% correct.
I always figured though, that the truck layout is very well positioned for large battery packs.
Mark Fields of Ford said truck Hybrid by 2020, Imagine their 3L diesel, aluminum body and/or V6 turbo motors, 10 speed, all working with electric assist.
More important to get into the crossover / SUV hybrid area first. That’s the segment that’s growing and probably more receptive to hybrids. There is no current GM equivalent to the Toyota Highlander or RAV4 hybrids.
I’m a weekend warrior who currently owns a 2016 full size pickup. I usually upgrade every 4-5 years.
I drive to the office each workday and ferry kids to sports in the evenings. On weekends, it’s time to hitch up the bass boat and go fishing.
Here’s my 2020 dream truck powertrain:
– 2.8l diesel mated with Voltec Drive unit, mounted longitudinally powering the rear wheels
– small electric motor(s) drive the front wheels
– enough battery capacity to do 50 miles without starting the diesel, so that I can do the daily grind on cheap “fuel”
Ways this saves fuel costs:
– Electricity is about 40% of the cost of gas per mile
– Where I live, diesel is cheaper than gas by about 10%, and should get about 30% more motivation per gallon
– In cold weather, fuel efficiency is about 50% worse than warm weather, so don’t start the motor when you don’t have to! 50 miles per charge would save 20-40 “cold starts” of the engine per week.
– no transfer case / front mechanical driveline, saving parasitic loss
Ways to save on vehicle build costs:
– don’t include fast DC charging – 240V in the garage is all that is needed for a EREV
– front electric motors can be cheaper “low speed” variants (sub 30mph) – used just for low speed traction
– no transfer case / front mechanical driveline
– “EV Hold” to force the diesel engine to not start when I know I can make it to destination charging location
– Tow/Haul mode forces the diesel motor to start earlier, to keep the battery prepared for extra demand like towing up hill
– automatic AWD behaviour (as opposed to 4WD) for quick response in snow/mud – with AWD lock to force all electric motors to operate
– high torque motors to eliminate need for “4WD low” mode
– Heavy duty payload option that enables 3000lbs payload (for truck camper) and 5000 lbs towing (for boat)
Add aluminum doors, hood and front fenders and some type of composite floor in box to eliminate need to spray line.
Good point about drive line weight savings.
This would be expensive though, as up in Michigan some trucks have snow plow option, not sure how that would work without mechanical connection for front end.
I suspect just adding charger/Motor on transmission may be cheaper and just as effective.
Ford is doing something in 2020 but no details are available.
There is no reason you couldn’t do moderate plowing with this config as electric motors have great low end torque. Also, having this drive-train does not force a different architecture for the truck, so it can be built alongside a traditional drivetrain, thus not alienating any market segment.
Yes, we’ll have to wait to see what Ford is up to with their 2020 Hybrid announcement.
The Ford certified partners that are “hybridizing” F-150s (like XL Hybrids) do not meet the goals mentioned above. They are more of a traditional hybrid, even if they allow plugging in to pre-charge the battery. I’d be looking for daily commute without starting the ICE (same as can be done with Volt).