2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid
By: Mike Levine Posted:
08-18-08 15:00 PT
© 2008 PickupTrucks.com
widely accepted as the greenest auto manufacturer thanks to the breadth,
depth and sophistication of its hybrid vehicle lineup. However, Toyota
has been stumped by its most thirsty vehicles: its full-size trucks,
which the Wall Street Journal reported last year won't
receive hybrid options until 2013 at the earliest. GM, meanwhile,
has found a solution for green truck-buyers: The 2009
Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, which, believe or not, is more fuel-efficient
than Toyota Motor Sales’ flagship hybrid car.
Chevrolet Pickup More Advanced Than Lexus' Top Sedan?
the smug-emitting Prius, but Toyota's top-of-the-line
Lexus LS 600h L luxury sedan. According to the EPA, the full-size LS
600h is rated at 20/22 mpg city/highway, while the half-ton Silverado
Hybrid 2WD crew cab scores a morally superior 21/22 mpg city/highway.
Toyota's hybrid hyperbole is to be believed, comparing the
Silverado Hybrid to the LS 600h must be the automotive equivalent of
"The Beverly Hillbillies," with GM playing the role of Jed Clampett
and Toyota as Milburn Drysdale (and Bob Lutz as Granny — kidding,
Bob, kidding!). Lexus markets the upper-crust 600h as a way to "minimize
our impact on earth without sacrificing comfort and luxury." So
how’d a simple Chevy pickup wind up better off than a mansion-dwelling
think we've inhaled too much CO2, comparing
a Silverado Hybrid to the LS 600h, but it’s really not that silly.
GM developed the Silverado’s two-mode hybrid system in cooperation
with Lexus' archrivals,
BMW and Mercedes, and will offer it in upcoming versions of its cars
and trucks. Chrysler worked on it too, for the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 and
its midsize SUVs.
not far-fetched to say the Silverado Hybrid's
powertrain is more advanced than Lexus'. The Silverado’s
two-mode electrically variable transmission houses two 60kW electric
motors that can power the truck on their own up to about 25 mph, depending
on driving conditions. As the multi-displacement 6.0-liter pushrod V-8
gas engine kicks in, the electric motors seamlessly support it, individually
or in tandem, at low and high speeds, helping the engine enter fuel-saving
four-cylinder mode sooner and stay in it longer to achieve maximum miles
per gallon. The Silverado's EVT provides an almost infinite range
of gears, but it also has four fixed gears, like a conventional automatic
transmission, that can be manually selected with the column shifter.
LS 600h also has two electric motors supplementing its gas engine, but
only one is used to drive the car’s wheels; the other starts
the V-8 and recharges the batteries. Its continuously variable automatic
transmission blends the power of two motors instead of three. Lexus'
5.0-liter DOHC V-8 only runs with all eight cylinders firing. There is
no fuel-saving four-cylinder mode.
Hybrid’s mpg story gets even stronger
when you compare several other key specs with the LS 600h.
Silverado outweighs the LS 600h by about 600 pounds. The Silverado
might pick up an extra half or full mpg of mileage if it shed another
300 pounds, like GM’s full-size hybrid SUVs did.
single-mode hybrid powertrain has a higher net power output of 438 horsepower
(389 hp with the V-8 sans motors ) and 385 pounds-feet of torque, versus
the Chevrolet's two-mode net output of 412 hp (332
hp from V-8 only) and 367 pounds-feet of torque.
The LS 600h
has a super-slippery drag coefficient of .27, versus the Silverado's