Oh, this is just too sad for words. The other day I noticed an ad for the new “GMC Sierra Hybrid Pickup”:http://www.gmc.com/sierra/hybrid_popup.jsp. I was surprised by the idea that US automakers were finally getting on the hybrid bandwagon. Turns out I shouldn’t have been.
Read on for the rant…
Toyota has had a working, useful hybrid vehicle for what, “7 years now”:http://john1701a.com/prius/prius-history.htm, right? The demand for it is insatiable, and Toyota is taking home more awards and more money every year.
Honda has a whole line of hybrids, too, including a hybrid version of the popular Accord V-6 which gets 40% better fuel efficiency than the non-hybrid model (about 30mpg).
And what is GMC’s exciting response to this, years later? A V-8 “hybrid” pickup which is (as the site puts it) “up to 10% more fuel efficient” than the dismal 18mpg of the standard model. Wait, 10%? That’s… let’s see… 2mpg better. Two. And the tailpipe emissions aren’t improved at all. Why? Because the “electric motor isn’t used to move the vehicle at all”:http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new_2005/Pickup_Trucks/0409_gmc_sierra_hybrid/. Not even a little. It’s only used to keep things running when the vehicle is stopped or braking.
For this marvel of engineering, GMC adds $2500 to the cost. With the tiny mileage improvement, that only pays for itself at the pump after about 200,000 miles of city driving. For comparison, buying a brand new Prius and using it instead would pay for itself just as quickly. And that’s just sad.