It certainly seemed like a forward-thinking business proposition at the time -- take advantage of rising fuel prices and the impending green revolution by marrying gas-saving hybrid technology with a perennially popular full-size pickup truck. But although the first-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid was GM's first-ever hybrid passenger vehicle when it debuted in 2005, this truck's "mild hybrid" technology and limited availability put a damper on its appeal. With a revamped truck platform waiting in the wings, the original Silverado Hybrid was phased out after a few years and replaced by a more advanced "dual-mode" version based on the new platform.
The current Silverado Hybrid's dual-mode technology enables its gasoline-powered V8 and twin electric motors to work either separately or in tandem -- the gas engine shuts off at low speeds when it isn't needed, and it seamlessly re-engages when acceleration is called for, remaining permanently active above 29 mph. Cylinder deactivation (from eight to four) also takes over during relaxed cruising. However, this powertrain delivers lackluster and nonlinear acceleration, and while it can yield up to 40 percent better city mileage than a standard V8 Silverado, highway mileage is only slightly improved. Overall, the latest Silverado Hybrid's high initial cost, powertrain quirks and limited fuel economy gains make us question its value for many potential buyers.
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid Models
The current second-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid debuted for the 2009 model year.
GM launched its first-generation "parallel hybrid" version of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra in 2005. In this mild-hybrid design, the electric motor was housed within the transmission flywheel assembly and provided only engine cranking, battery charging and power for accessories. The 5.3-liter V8 automatically shut down when the truck came to a stop, and electric power restarted the engine when the brake pedal was released. Three auxiliary batteries were mounted under the rear seat to store and provide power. Several AC outlets were mounted in the bed, making this truck an attractive choice for contractors who often need to plug in electrical devices on the job. Availability of the first-generation Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid was limited, but it remained on sale through 2007.
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