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Posts Tagged ‘Buick eAssist’

Buick Makes eAssist Standard on Compact Regal

Also introduces automatic option on sporty GS.

by on Feb.07, 2012

The 2012 Buick Regal shown with Regals past.

Buick will drop the conventionally-powered I-4 version of its Regal model, making the “mild” hybrid eAssist the standard powertrain for the compact sedan starting in 2013.

That’s the same strategy that the maker has taken with the midsize Buick LaCrosse.  In the smaller Regal, the gas-electric driveline delivers as much as 36 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

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Meanwhile, the mid-luxury General Motors brand has announced it will introduce a new automatic gearbox for the sporty, turbocharged version of the compact sedan, the Regal GS.  Until now, it has only been available with a six-speed stick, a sales-limiting factor in today’s U.S. market.


First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

GM’s midsize gets a mild hybrid mileage boost.

by on Dec.19, 2011

Chevrolet will got to market first with the new 2013 Malibu Eco model.

There was a time, not all that many years ago, when General Motors owned the American midsize market.  But a procession of poorly designed and executed products all but ensured that the Japanese would take command – products like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry today dominating the critical market segment.

The General began to signal its intent to regain its once-lofty position with the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Malibu in 2008 – the domestic sedan going on to win kudos as North American Car of the Year.  Now, Chevy hopes to ramp things up a couple more notches with the launch of the next-generation Malibu.

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We headed to Austin, Texas to spend some time in the new midsize sedan – or, more precisely, in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.  That’s the “mild” hybrid version that will be coming to market in the coming months, with the mainstream version to follow some months later once its all-new 4-cylinder engine is ready for production.


First Drive: 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist

Getting a (battery) boost.

by on Jul.01, 2011

Buick makes the eAssist system standard on the 2012 LaCrosse sedan.

We’ve come to think of hybrids as an expensive option – requiring a buyer to pay an often stiff premium in exchange for higher mileage.  But Buick has something different in mind.

Starting in August, the General Motors division will offer its LaCrosse sedan in two new ways, with an improved 3.6-lirer V-6 engine that adds 26 more horsepower, or with a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine with its new eAssist mild hybrid system, which will be standard equipment, not an option.

Buick says the combination of the gasoline engine and the power booster will improve fuel mileage to an EPA 25 city, 36 highway, best in class, without the cost, weight and complexity of a full hybrid system.

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The eAssist system is a combination of a 32-cell lithium-ion battery pack, a motor/generator unit, the control electronics, and a clever belt-drive system that adds torque directly to the engine’s crankshaft.  It’s an on-demand system designed to be used for startup acceleration, long uphill grades, and freeway on-ramps, adding about 15 horsepower to the engine’s 182 horsepower and 172 foot-pounds of torque.


Opinion: 2011 Could Bring In A Dramatic Shift In Driver Behavior

Rising fuel prices, tough rules, alternative offerings all could bring big changes.

by on Dec.30, 2010

How small is too small? American buyers will downsize -- but how far?

The numbers at the pump down at Sunny’s Sunoco are spinning fast, these days.  And getting faster all the time.  He’s pumping regular at $3.19 a gallon, this morning, a big jump from just two weeks ago, but likely nothing compared to what we’ll see in the months to come.

Curiously, I hear a lot less complaining about fuel prices than I did in 2008, the last time we saw that rapid upward spiral.  Perhaps panic will set in again if we start nudging $4 a gallon, but it just seems like most Americans have come to expect that number as an eventual reality.  But it’s more than a matter of grin-and-bear-it.

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Buyers are fighting back in their own ways.  By driving fewer miles, according to government data, and by switching to more fuel efficient vehicles.  Some are even considering vehicles that don’t few fuel at all, at least not in the liquid sense.  And if fuel prices really do soar to new records in 2011, the pace of change could outstrip even the most optimistic forecasts –though don’t expect American roadways to start looking like those in Europe and Japan.


Automakers Nudging 40 mpg – Even With Full-Size, Non-Hybrid Models

Can the internal combustion engine still deliver some surprises?

by on Nov.15, 2010

All versions of the new Hyundai Elantra will deliver at least 40 mpg, the Korean maker claims.

Pulling the wraps off the latest version of an all-new Elantra, which will make its formal debut in Los Angeles, later this week, Hyundai officials have announced the new model will deliver a minimum 40 miles per gallon when it hits market in 2011.

And that’s not just a special “eco” model, like the version of the new Chevrolet Cruze that will top the challenging 40 mpg barrier.  In fact, Hyundai’s U.S. chief executive, John Krafcik, says the company believes it is “do-able” to nudge its corporate average fuel economy up to 50 mpg, over roughly the next 15 years.

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But will that be enough?  Federal regulators, having already ordered the CAFE standard increased by more than 20%, to 35 mpg by 2016, are pushing even further, some proposing a 62 mile-a-gallon mandate by 2025.