Those with an interest in driving cars and keeping the environment as clean as possible will like to know that the eAssist hybrid system will be installed on the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and 2014 GMC Terrain. The mild-hybrid system is steadily getting installed on more and more vehicles since the 2012 Buick Lacrosse. The Equinox and GMC will be the first crossover utility vehicles to benefit from the system. The story was picked up by GM Insider and polished by Green Car Reports.
On a side note, you should know that the eAssist system first debuted on the Buick brand. You might have gathered that from the opening paragraph. In case you are wondering, his system can also be found on the Buick Verano, as well as the Regal mid-size sedan, besides the Lacrosse.
Keeping in line with how Chevy named its models, the 2014 model with the mild-hybrid system installed will be called the Chevrolet Equinox Eco. The Eco part refers to the company’s most efficient models, and on some of its models like the 2013 Malibu or 2014 Impala it means that the cars come equipped with the hybrid system as well as a 2.4 liter engine. The only exception to that rule is the Cruze Eco compact sedan. In this case, the larger engine makes room for a smaller 1.4 liter unit using turbocharger technology.
As already mentioned, the eAssist will also be featured on the GMC Terrain. This can only encourage those buyers interested in this segment, but, for now anyways, it is still open to debate how the company will label this option in the all-truck brand.
But what exactly is the eAssist system we have been blabbering about? Well, some people at the engineering department thought to mate a 0.6 kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack with an electric belt-alternator-starter motor. This in turn translates into the following.
The small motor acts like a conventional starter when the engine goes off when the red lights kick in. In addition to that feature, the motor is able to deliver additional torque into the engine, thus eliminating the need to for the 6 speed automatic transmission to downshift. That equals to the engine running efficiently at lower speeds.
Lastly, the motor acts like a generator for the small battery pack thank to the use of regenerative braking.
That being said, don’t have too high expectations from this system. Fuel efficiency will indeed be improved, but only by a few more miles and seeing that this is just a mild-hybrid system, the cars will not be able to run solely on electricity no matter how light the load they are carrying is. Tests have yet to be performed, but the number of miles will probably be around 1-3 miles for each test cycle.
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and 2014 GMC Terrain will enter competition with the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid model, a car based on the fresh 2013 RAV4 crossover. Competition will indeed be fierce, so we wish them good luck.