2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
FAST FACTS
  • New addition to Silverado lineup

  • Based on crew cab body style

  • V-8 engine with two electric motors

  • 40-percent increase in city fuel economy

  • 25-percent increase in overall fuel economy

  • Available rear- or 4-wheel drive

  • 6100-pound towing capacity

  • Sales to start in late 2008

Introduction

Chevrolet's Silverado 1500 is the second-best selling full-size truck in the United States. A hybrid model was first offered for the 2005 model year, but the hybrid system in that truck only conserved fuel by turning the vehicle off at stops; it did not aid propulsion in any way. For 2009, Chevrolet is offering its new 2-mode hybrid system in the Silverado. This system aids propulsion and can even power the truck without the aid of the engine.

The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will be available only with the crew cab body style. It will share its 2-mode hybrid powertrain with the new Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid models, as well as the new Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hybrids. It will be offered with rear- or 4-wheel drive. To reduce drag, it will have a slightly deeper front air dam and a three-segment hard tonneau cover. Chevrolet says the hybrid system will boost city fuel economy by 40 percent and overall fuel economy by 25 percent. The vehicle is scheduled to go on sale in late 2008 as a 2009 model.

Model LineupThe Silverado is offered in three cab styles (regular, extended and crew cab) and three bed lengths (5' 9", 6' 5", and 8' 1"), but the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will be offered as only a crew cab with the shortest bed. It will most likely be equipped like an LT-1 model, with air conditioning; cruise control; cloth upholstery; heated power mirrors; power windows and locks; leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel; auto-dimming rearview mirror; OnStar assistance with one-year subscription; 40/20/40-split front bench seat; driver's seat lumbar adjustment; split folding rear seat; remote keyless entry; AM/FM/CD player with XM satellite radio with one-year subscription; automatic headlights; front tow hooks; and the Z85 suspension, which is tuned for everyday driving. Also standard will be a navigation system; a trailering package that includes a locking rear differential, trailer hitch platform, 7-wire harness, and heavy-duty air cleaner and transmission oil cooling; and P265/65R18 tires on bright aluminum wheels. Base Silverados offer "pure pickup" and "luxury-inspired" interior designs. The Silverado Hybrid will have the pure pickup design with larger controls, a double glovebox, and a lockable storage bin with a power outlet. Bucket seats will be offered to give customers the choice of 5- or 6-passenger seating.

Hardware

The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid's 2-mode hybrid system features GM's Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 engine mated to a new Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) with tap up/down shift control. The EVT has two electric motors and four fixed gears. One of the motors aids power at low speeds and the other helps at highway speeds. The V-8 also has GM's Active Fuel Management system, which shuts down four cylinders under light load conditions to conserve fuel. Total output is 332 hp at 5100 rpm and 367 lb.-ft. of torque at 4100 rpm.

Under light throttle, the electric motors can propel the Silverado up to 30 mph. With heavier throttle, the gasoline engine starts. Like other systems, the gasoline engine turns off at stoplights and restarts when needed. GM says the electric motors can allow the engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode more often. Fuel economy estimates for the Silverado Hybrid have not been released, but, based on figures for the similar Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, EPA fuel economy should be about 20 mpg city/20 mpg highway.

The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will use regenerative braking to charge the batteries, which will also lend their power to the electric power steering system and electrically driven air conditioning compressor. Electric power allows the air conditioning to stay on when the engine is shut off.

Maximum towing capacity will be 6100 pounds versus 10,500 pounds for the standard Silverado with its 367-hp 6.0-liter V-8 engine.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will include dual-stage front air bags, anti-lock brakes, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, and electronic stability control. Head-protecting curtain side air bags with rollover deployment and rear obstacle detection will be optional. A rearview camera will also be available. The Chevrolet Silverado received a 5-star front-impact rating for the driver and front passenger and a 4-star rollover resistance rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Technology

Inside, the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will have its own gauge cluster with a special tachometer and an "economy gauge." The economy gauge will have a green bar that represents a zone drivers can aim for to maximize fuel economy. The tachometer will include an "Auto Stop" reading to indicate when the gasoline engine is shut off. An 8-inch touch screen will be standard. It will include a power flow screen to show if the power is coming from the electric motors, the gasoline engine, or both. It will also display real-time fuel economy, when regenerative braking is charging the batteries, and if the vehicle is in two- or 4-wheel drive mode.

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