GMC to Unveil a Pair of Hybrid Pickups

GMC will introduce the 2009 Sierra Two-Mode Hybrid pickup truck at the Chicago Motor Show this week, and will unveil a hybrid pickup concept called the Denali XT. The sleek, four-door concept is based on GM’s Zeta rear-wheel drive architecture, which will also be utilized on the 2008 Pontiac G8 sedan and the 2009 Chevrolet Camaro.

The new 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid, which goes on sale in late 2008, is yet another production application of General Motors’ full hybrid system. It achieves 40 percent greater city fuel economy, and a 25 percent improvement in overall fuel economy, compared to its gas-powered counterpart. It also grants a hefty 6,100-pounds of towing capacity—decent but still a far cry from the standard GMC Sierra’s 10,500 pounds of hauling power.

The Sierra Hybrid will be offered in the Crew Cab body style on both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. GMC is claiming that the hybrid pickup can stay in all-electric mode up to 30 miles per hour, drawing energy from its 300-volt battery pack. Gas power comes from a 6.0-litre V8 outfitted with “Active Fuel Management Technology,” which allows the vehicle to shut down four of its available eight cylinders in lighter duty driving. Prices have not been announced.

The Denali XT is the first time GM has placed its two-mode hybrid system in a vehicle capable running on an 85 percent blend of ethanol. Power will come from a new, downsized, 4.9-liter version of GM’s small-block V8. The truck also features cylinder deactivation for further fuel reduction. The carmaker is promising a 50 percent improvement in fuel economy over production pick-up trucks of similar size.

The Denali XT is driven by all-electric propulsion at low speeds, but offers plenty of highway and towing performance from its fixed-gear configuration. It has an estimated payload capacity of 1,100 pounds and a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

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  • domboy

    Kudos to them. I kind of expected the first full hybrid 1/2 ton trucks to come from Detroit. I’m really interested in how they’ll stack up when GM releases their new 4.5L small block V8 clean diesel powertrain version of this same truck (Sierra).

    I expect the hybrid version will get more media attention and satisfy the greenies, and the diesel will probably sell more to the serious haulers, while getting around the same fuel efficiency as the hybrid, except with more towing power. I wonder what the price differences will be. Just my thoughts. However it stacks up, it’s nice to have choices!

  • Collin Burnell

    You know, I think GM is really getting serious about Hybrids. They actually advertised the Tahoe Hybrid (or was it the GMC?) during the Superbowl. I think the greatest value of today’s first and second generation hybrids is that it’s a new platform with much higher (potential) efficiency ‘growth’ compared to ICE and Diesel. I think we will continue to see small improvements in the efficiency of ICE and Diesel engines but the big gains will be in Hybrids.

    Keep in Mind, the value of a Hybrid is not just about using less fuel (although that is an important benefit). It’s also about producing less pollution and less Carbon Dioxide. has a nice function which allows you to compare how much CO2 the Hybrid and non-hybrid versions produce. In many cases it is a significant reduction.

    So for now I say GO GM!!!

  • Pedro

    If the picture of the Denali XT hybrid is what it’s going to look like in reality, I think they have a winner! I would buy one based solely on looks, the hybrid technology is frankly icing. It’s about time GM did something right.

  • Almost Sentient

    That’s a nice looking truck!

    As much as some people are stuck on hybrids that get >40mpg, we gain more from turning a 10 mpg vehicle into a 20 mpg vehicle than we do from turning a 35 mpg vehicle to a 45 mpg vehicle.

    Electric drive ought to be good for trucks. Electric motors are ideal for towing, meaning that the combustion powertrain can be optimized for efficient energy production.

  • Eric

    I am not really a truck person, but I must say that the styling is beautiful. I must say, that since the CAFE starndards were raised to 35mpg by 2020 (or whatever the year was), that gave GM the motivation to get serious. Now if the rest could follow…

    Kudos to GM, they have so far proven my skepticism wrong, I just hope they keep this up.

  • Old Man Crowder

    Okay, so I guess I’ll be the black sheep of this discussion.

    That Denali looks pretty but also utterly useless. It’s just another honkin’ SUV pretending to be a multi-use pick-up — à la Avalanche and Escalade EXT. It’s all about the looks.

    To be fair, I am happy with the news about the Sierra Hybrid, however.

  • Boom Boom

    I’m still waiting to see how GMs system works in real-life.

    I’ll never own a big SUV, but I know that hybrids save more gas in trucks since trucks use more gas. That said, the numbers for the hybrid are at 25-40% improvement in fuel economy (not 100% like Mr. Sentient is claiming). 25%-40% is about the save percent improvement as most other hybrids on the market.

  • Anonymous

    I want a Denali Concept Hybred, please.

  • mike mcgrouary

    Please make a truck like the Denali Concept Hybred. They and me will come and will buy.


  • KW

    How about coming out with a pickup that gets good fuel mileage and isn’t a sissy truck? Something that can haul 10,000 pounds and get the job done without spending all it’s time on a paved street?