At GMC, we specialize in bringing innovative technologies to market that enhance capability and elevate the driving experience. There’s no better example of our commitment to leveraging advanced technology than the Sierra with eAssist, available this spring in California on a limited number of two-wheel drive Sierra SLT crew cab pickups.

We started by taking an already advanced drivetrain and made it even more cutting edge. As it stands, Sierra’s 5.3-liter V-8 engine boasts direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission – all technologies designed to deliver the perfect combination of fuel efficiency and power when needed most.

The Sierra with eAssist builds upon that package by with the new lightly electrified eAssist system, which includes both a compact induction motor and an air-cooled, 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. When a conventional vehicle comes to a stop – for example, at an intersection, or in bumper-to-bumper traffic – the engine typically does not stop running. Running the engine during these periods is inefficient, as it doesn’t result in any vehicle movement.

Sierra’s eAssist system solves that without making the driver take any additional action, nor sacrifice comfort or convenience. Once the engine is at operating temperature, the eAssist system can smoothly bring the engine to a halt once it senses the driver bringing the truck to a stop. The battery pack then provides ample power to keep vehicle systems – including lighting, heating and cooling, electrical accessories, and more – fully powered and operational, as if the engine were running.

As soon as the driver moves his or her foot off the brake pedal, the induction motor instantly re-starts the engine, allowing the Sierra eAssist to accelerate off the line like any other vehicle. The driver never needs to plug in or manually recharge the eAssist battery, as regenerative braking recovers energy during braking and converts it to electricity.

eAssist’s induction motor can also provide a small boost – up to 13 horsepower and 44 lb-ft — of power. This can be particularly useful when accelerating from a stop or while towing a trailer, and also benefits normal driving around town. The added power of the motor allows Sierra’s Active Fuel Management system to run the V-8 engine in four-cylinder mode for extended periods of time, and further reduce fuel consumption.

Sierra eAssist also builds upon the Sierra’s aerodynamically-efficient shape by incorporating a standard soft tonneau cover and automatic grille shutters, which close at speeds over 30 mph. These changes improve Sierra’s aerodynamics by 6 percent, and optimize fuel consumption.

All told, Sierra with eAssist offers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city rating, an estimated 24 mpg highway rating, and a combined rating of 20 mpg. Compared to a comparable Sierra with a similar engine and transmission pairing, eAssist delivers a 2 mpg improvement in the city, 2 mpg on the highway, and 2 mpg combined.

As the Sierra with eAssist is based on a two-wheel drive SLT crew cab with the Premium Plus package, advanced technologies extend beyond the drivetrain. High-Performance LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, and LED tail lamps are included, as are Intellibeam technology, which automatically dims headlamps when oncoming traffic is detected. Sierra SLT eAssist also includes front and rear park assist systems, a rear vision camera, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Keep Assist.

Inside, a Bose premium audio system is paired with GMC’s IntelliLink system1 with 8-inch diagonal color touch screen with navigation2. Additionally, Sierra’s center console features wireless phone charging3, which allows compatible devices or phone cases to recharge without using a dedicated charger or cable.

Other premium appointments on the Sierra with eAssist include heated and vented leather-appointed front bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, six-inch rectangular chrome assist steps, a spray-on bedliner, and eAssist badging.