eAssist has most impact on big cars
DETROIT -- One reason General Motors is pressing ahead with development of its eAssist mild-hybrid system, despite consumer resistance to it on the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, is that shoppers prefer eAssist on larger vehicles more than on smaller ones.
Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, acknowledged that larger vehicles such as the Chevrolet Impala are "where you can really see" the benefits of eAssist, rather than on the mid-sized Chevy Malibu.
Or consider the mpg equation on the Buick LaCrosse.
Buyers pay the same price for a 2.4-liter eAssist LaCrosse that delivers 25 city and 36 highway mpg as for a 3.6-liter V-6 that gets 17/27. Last year, 25 percent of buyers chose the eAssist version, triple the take rate for the eAssist-equipped Malibu Eco.
On future iterations of eAssist, Reuss says that engineers are wrestling with how to boost the system's electric assist without adding too much weight.
"You add bigger battery packs, and then you just add mass to the car," Reuss says. "So you've got to figure out the equation."