2005 Silverado Hybrid

The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will be the first full-size pickup to feature a full hybrid system. The vehicle, expected in 2008, is expected to achieve 40 percent greater fuel economy in the city, and 25 percent better fuel economy overall, compared to the standard gas-powered Silverado. That translates to EPA numbers of 19 city/21 highway.

Nov. 14, 2007 – Seven years after the first hybrids were introduced in the U.S. market, there are still no gas-electric minivans, wagons, subcompacts, or pickup trucks. General Motors plans to fill one of those gaps in the market—the fuel-efficient hybrid pickup—when the two-mode Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid goes on sale in late 2008.

This week, General Motors will unveil the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This is the first full-size pickup to feature a full hybrid system. In late 2004, General Motors launched an ultra-light hybrid system on the Silverado and Sierra models. The total production run on both was about 3,000, but it was never entirely clear if or where you could buy one. Then, in December 2006, GM “quietly dropped the hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups,” according to Automotive News.

The new two-mode Silverado hybrid, expected in 2008, is expected to achieve 40 percent greater fuel economy in the city, and 25 percent better fuel economy overall, compared to the standard gas-powered Silverado. That translates to EPA numbers of 19 city/21 highway. GM claims the truck will be the most fuel efficient full-size pickup on the road, and at the same time offer up to 6,100 pounds of towing capacity.

The two-mode hybrid system utilizes a 300-volt battery to store energy and can operate in all-electric mode at low speeds. At higher speeds, the electric motor can run in conjunction with the truck’s 6.0-liter V8. For additional fuel savings, the engine can shut down four of its eight cylinders and operate in a more economical V-4 mode when power is not in demand.

“It’s unclear how much demand there is for full-size hybrids,” said Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain forecasting for J.D. Power and Associates. "This is really new territory.” Every year, combined sales of the Silverado and Sierra add up to 700,000 or 800,000 units. If GM has the vision to produce 20 percent of these pickups as full hybrids beginning in late 2008, they could catch up with Toyota in hybrid sales in one year.