Pricey Hybrid Pickups
GM hybrid pickups are finally finding their way into fleet-vehicle sales, at a substantial price increase over standard trucks. The differences between the standard and hybrid trucks are substantial, but not readily apparent. The hybrid GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups will all be powered by 5.3L V-8 engines that produce 250 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Payload capacity is the same for hybrid and standard trucks. The hybrid system consists of 42-volt Panasonic batteries mounted beneath the rear seat. An integrated starter/generator is mounted within the transmission bellhousing. An ECM to control the system resides in the engine compartment, in the space allotted for the second battery that normally comes with a tow package.
The system does several things to help improve fuel economy. An automatic start/stop system shuts the motor off when the brake pedal is depressed. The truck comes to a stop, then instantly restarts when the brake pedal is released and the gas pedal is pressed. Braking and steering are improved because the traditional engine-driven power-steering pump has been replaced with an electro-hydraulic unit and hydro-boost braking system.
According to EPA figures, the hybrid will consume 15 percent less fuel than standard trucks. With a base price of $42,860 for 2WD models and $47,045 for 4WDs, though, it'll take years for the system to pay for itself.
Perhaps a more attractive aspect of the hybrid trucks for off-roaders is the 120-volt A/C power system onboard. The uses for this system are limitless, and powering up tools and camping equipment from the truck are a positive reality.
Let the Horsepower War Begin
It's no secret that Dodge has enjoyed the successful Hemi V-8's sales increase. Word around the campfire, however, is that Ford is developing a new engine to compete with the new Hemi. Said to be called the Hurricane, the new engine will displace 6.2Ls. Dodge is supposedly responding with a larger Hemi, which will reportedly build 400 ponies. Chevy, Nissan, and Toyota may have some catching up to do, so stay tuned.