GM’s eAssist Headed To Equinox, Terrain
The already popular crossovers will only get more popular.
October 6, 2011
By: Nick Saporito
General Motors recently set a new fuel economy bar in a couple sedan segments by mating their new light electrification system, eAssist, to an already fuel efficient four-cylinder engine. The relatively simple, yet high tech system has led to sizable fuel economy gains with little added costs. According to multiple GMI sources, two of GM’s most popular crossovers will be next to be electrified.
GMI sources state that GM has now decided to bring eAssist to the very popular Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers. According to the information both crossovers will get electrified for the 2014 model year and sport the same system used by the current eAssist sedans.
GM originally had planned to hold off on electrifying the small utes until their next redesign, which is slated for later this decade. Instead, GMI is told GM recently changed their minds and has decided to implant the current eAssist in them sooner.
The logic behind the move is less about fuel economy and more about manufacturing. Because the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is launching exclusively with the eAssist system, GM knows that the eAssist variant (dubbed Malibu Eco) will see a sizable decline in demand once the car’s all-new 2.5-liter engine is made available later in 2012 as a cheaper alternative.
In an attempt to ward off sharp spikes and declines in eAssist production, GM has decided to just go ahead and expand the technology to the Equinox and Terrain. Of course the fuel economy gains will also be welcomed perks of this logistical decision.
The eAssist system utilizes a small electric motor and lithium ion battery pack to generate fuel economy increases of 20-percent city and 32-percent highway on the Buick LaCrosse and Regal. During stops the system allows the gas engine to shut off entirely, while the electric motor can also assist the gas engine under light loads.
Assuming the Equinox and Terrain see similar percentage increases from today’s ratings, they could wear highway ratings of up to 38 MPG.
The move could also explain why rumors have surfaced that GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee plant will be producing the Equinox and Terrain. Currently produced in Ingersoll, Ontario; the plant has seen five increases in production to keep up with demand. Adding eAssist and even higher fuel economy ratings is likely to only exacerbate GM’s supply problem with the two crossovers.
Expect the electrified Equinox and Terrain to launch sometime in 2013 as 2014 models. The Equinox is expected to carry the name “Equinox Eco.”