Truck for an electric cowboy

Posted on 28 Feb 2008 at 4:22pm
By Casey Williams – Auto Reviewer

2009 GMC Sierra 2-Mode Hybrid

GMC’s Sierra Hybrid delivers fuel economy in a full-size pickup

Imagine a full-size pickup truck that can achieve 40 percent greater city fuel economy and 25 percent overall better economy all while still maintaining the capability to do real truck work. Whether you’re a pretty boy taking the high-tech wonder to a party, or actually use a truck as a truck, that’s impressive.

Using the same technology recently introduced in General Motors’ full size SUVs (Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade), the GMC Sierra rides on electrons.

At the core of the Sierra Hybrid’s technology is an Electrically Variable Transmission and 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack. All charging is done on-board by a 332 horsepower 6.0-litre V8 engine, regenerative braking (brakes generate energy for the batteries instead of waste heat), and through drag while coasting.

To further efficiency, the gasoline V8 engine runs on four cylinders to conserve fuel during low power situations an ability that is extended by the robust electrical system. GMC claims the Sierra Hybrid can travel up to 30 mph on electricity alone, which explains the outstanding city fuel economy ratings.

While you won’t see fuel economy ratings like those from the compact Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid, the Sierra offers a ton more capability for truck buyers. The big truck uses the latest generation of GM’s two-mode hybrid system to provide the ultimate efficiency at lower speeds while providing a second mode to pump out serious power at higher speeds or while pulling a trailer of up to 6,100 lbs.

The column shifter features a "tap up/down" feature to allow drivers to easily select lower gears during downhill maneuvers. Electronic stability control, a locking rear axle (improves traction), and a trailering package are standard. Going easy on the juice nets a 500-mile range with the truck’s 26-gallon tank.

That’s fine because you’ll want to spend as much time as possible inside the Sierra’s sumptuous interior. Like premium Sierras, the Hybrid comes with heated leather seats, dual zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, deep center storage console, and an enormous amount of passenger space (especially with the four-door Crew Cab design).

Unlike other Sierras, the Hybrid provides an in-dash energy monitor as part of the navigation system so geeks and nerds can watch the truck swallow and generate energy. One glance tells you if your right foot is using gasoline, electricity, or both to get down the road.

An additional read-out reports whether the engine is running on four or eight cylinders. It is a gadgeteer’s dream. Safety is enhanced by side curtain airbags, earning Sierra the government’s only five-star side impact rating for a full-size pickup.

The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid goes on sale during the fourth quarter of 2008 alongside the similar Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid. All models will come in four-door Crew Cab configuration, available with rear- or all-wheel-drive.

Prices are expected to start around $40,000, including an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the energy storage system.


DRIVER’S SEAT

Jenna Skyy – Daniel A. Kusner/Dallas Voice

Who: Jenna Skyy

Occupation: Recruiter for the performing and visual arts at a private university.

Why are you famous in the gay community? Jenna Skyy super bitch and narcissist.

Current car: 2001 Dodge Stratus, black with tan leather interior.

Purchased from which dealer? CarMax

Were you a tough negotiator? They don’t negotiate. So don’t even attempt to go there.

How much did you settle on? Too much considering it’s been a piece of … Well, it’s needed frequent maintenance .

Insurance agent: Geico: I really did save 15 percent.

Monthly insurance rate? $110.

Why this car? It growled when I hit the gas, which was so much better than the go-cart I used to drive.

Favorite feature: V6 and four-disc CD changer.

Anything interesting in your glove box? My Geico insurance registration, of course.

Car nickname: Piece of sheeet!

Previous vehicles: 1994 Honda Civic, 1984 Nissan Truck, 1976 Chevy Malibu "style, or substance?"

Average weekly fuel expenses: Too much. I’m considering getting a hybrid!

Do you merge well with other drivers? Merge? You mean aggressively swerve in and out among other drivers while shooting the bird out the window? Then, yes.

Ever been naked in your car? Um… Yes, but I was changing clothes… I swear.

How often do you wash your car? Not enough. My car is actually supposed to be black. But it’s closer to "ash white."

Are you a more of a grandma or a lead-footer on Dallas’ highways? I’m more of a stomp and scream type.

Worst speeding story: Coming home from Denton passing under the lone bridge of some almost town at 2 a.m. I told him how fast I was intentionally going and that I’d be stupid not to take advantage of I-35 being totally devoid of traffic.

Worst flat tire: I hit a curb in full drag. Changed my tire in heels while holding a jack.

Worst intersection in Dallas: Anyone with the green light in someone else’s favor.

Most ridiculous car repair: Gold-plated brake shoes … Are you kidding me?

Sound that races through my head when I’m going through a yellow light? The horn of the General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Best car memory: Coming back from Miss Gay USof A just outside of San Antonio and running out of gas in my dad’s truck that wouldn’t start without a jump. Had to coast three miles and stopped three-feet short of the gas pump.

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING Dallas intersections that use red-light cameras to catch red-light runners:

Abrams Rd. SB at Forest Lane
Garland SB at Northwest Hwy
Forest Ln. EB at Abrams Rd.
Second Ave. SB at Bruton Rd.
Commerce St. EB at S. Central Expy.
Lake June EB at Buckner Blvd.
Fitzhugh Ave. SB (EB) at Gaston Ave.
N. Central Expressway NB at Lemmon Ave.
Griffin St. W. WB at St. Paul St.
Ledbetter EB at S. Lancaster Rd.
W. Camp Wisdom Rd. WB at S. Westmoreland Ave.
Lemmon Ave. SB at W Mockingbird Ln.
S Tyler St. NB at W. Jefferson Blvd.
Lovers Ln. WB at N. Central Expy.
W. Jefferson Blvd. EB at S Tyler St.
Harry Hines NB at Walnut Hill Rd.
Miller Rd. WB at Plano Rd.
N. Buckner Blvd. NB at John West Rd.
Marsh Ln. SB at Frankford. Rd.
Lemmon Ave. NB at W. Northwest Hwy
N.Beckley Ave. SB at W. Colorado Blvd.
Harry Hines SB at Northwest Hwy
Ferguson Rd. SB at Gus Thomasson
W. Davis St. EB at Cockrell Hill Rd.
Woodall Rodgers Fwy. WB at Olive St.
Abrams Rd. NB at E. Mockingbird. Ln.
E Mockingbird Ln. WB at Greenville Ave.
N. Central Expy NB at E. Lovers Ln.
Greenville Ave. NB at Royal Rd.
S. Hampton SB at Wheatland Rd.
Gaston Ave. EB at Peak Rd.
RL Thornton Fwy. WB (S) WB at Harwood St.
Coit Rd. NB at Banner Dr.
Northwest Hwy. WB at Dallas N Tollway
W. Northwest Hwy. WB at Lemmon Ave. (Marsh)
Lemmon Ave. NB at Oak Lawn Ave.
Oak Lawn Ave. EB at Lemmon Ave.
Preston Rd. SB at Royal Ln.
Graham Blvd. EB at Lindsley Ave.
Walton Walker SB at Northwest Hwy
S. Westmoreland Dr SB at Illinois Rd.
Alpha Rd. WB at Dallas North Parkway
LBJ (IH 635) Service Rd. WB at Coit Rd.
RL Thornton Fwy. EB at Harwood St.
Montfort SB at LBJ (IH 635) WBSR
Greenville NB at Mockingbird
Northwest Hwy.EB at Dallas N .Tollway
Preston Rd. SB at I-635 (LBJ) Fwy.
I-635 (LBJ) Fwy. EB at Montfort Dr.
Preston SB at Beltline
I-635 (LBJ) Fwy. WB at Preston Rd.
Forest Ln. WB at Inwood Ln.
S. Marsalis Rd. SB at S. RL Thornton Fwy.
S. Munger NB at Lindsley
S. RL Thornton Fwy. WB at S. Marsalis Rd.
Cedar Crest NB at Kiest
S. Buckner Blvd. NB at Bruton Rd.
Northwest Hwy. WB at Abrams
Frankford EB at Preston
W. Mockingbird Ln. WB at N. Stemmons Fwy.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

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