GM to Cancel Hybrid Trucks, SUVs

Despite heavily marketing the company’s Volt and eAssist technologies in the 2013 Chevy and Buick lineups, GM Inside News is reporting that the next-generation of GM’s hybrid full-size trucks and SUVs will not feature hybrid powertrains.

This news follows multiple rumors and spy shots that suggest the new full-size trucks and SUVs will not be as “Earth shattering” or innovative as many industry insiders had speculated.

It’s unclear whether the move to cut back the next-generation truck lineup’s R&D budget has its roots in the sort of fuel-saving ICE development that allows Chrysler’s new trucks to achieve 25 mpg or a general lack of interest (and, therefor, profits) in GM’s full-size offerings. At this time last year, GM’s trucks were positively dying on dealer lots while the company’s smaller, more fuel-efficient offerings were flying driving off the shelves in much less time.

You can check out the original “Inside” article, below.

In recent weeks, news and speculation surrounding GM’s next generation full-size trucks and SUVs has been piqued. The increased speculation has stemmed from multiple rumors and spy shots that suggest the new full-size trucks and SUVs will not be as Earth shattering as originally speculated. GMI has now been told that GM has canceled almost all of the hybrid variants of the new trucks and SUVs.

GMI has confirmed with several sources—both external and internal at GM—that the hybrid program surrounding the full-size trucks and SUVs has been shutdown. It is unusual for GM to cancel programs that are so close to launch, but many insiders GMI has spoken with are not terribly surprised by the move.

The current batch of hybrid trucks and SUVs has historically not sold well. It has also been reported to GMI that the program has seen cost overruns and management does not feel like the hybrid trucks and SUVs are worth continued investment at this time.

Sources have indicated that the Escalade Hybrid may remain in the cards for the next generation. If true, GM likely feels the public relations aspect of having celebrities purchase the “green” Escalade deems the investment a worthwhile one. The 2014 Escalade is slated to be the last new SUV to launch in January 2014, meaning GM has more time to develop a hybrid version of the Escalade.

As it stands today GM offers their Two-Mode hybrid system in the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado and Tahoe and GMC Sierra and Yukon. The Two-Mode system utilizes two electric motors housed in the transmission case and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack to assist in powering the vehicle under specified conditions. In most applications the system is rated at 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

The original plan called for the next generation trucks and SUVs to utilize an updated version of the current Two-Mode system. Updates to the powertrain were to include mating it to a smaller displacement V-8 engine, upgrading the battery storage to a more modern lithium ion pack and revised electric motors.

Collectively, it was also speculated that the new hybrids would technically have more than two modes, including possible plug-in functionality.

News of GM scrapping the hybrids comes on the heels of further reports from insiders that suggest a recent interior spy shot of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and reaction to it led to a shakeup of the entire new truck program. Details of what exactly has changed are unclear, but nonetheless, development of GM’s latest trucks and SUVs continue to evolve – despite launching in just nine to 10 months from now.

Source: GM Inside News.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.