Editor’s Note: The following story article appears in the current online edition of RV Executive Today, a publication of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
The RV industry received some good news when General Motors (GM) revealed its next-generation of gas-electric hybrid full-size pickups could get as much as 50% more towing capacity than today’s hybrid trucks.
That means the GM hybrid half-ton pickups scheduled to debut in 2013 could tow as much as 9,000 pounds, compared with 6,100 pounds for GM’s 2009 two-wheel drive hybrids and 5,900 pounds for its four-wheel drive models. GM’s current hybrid half-ton pickups get 20 to 22 miles per gallon (mpg).
A conventional 2009 V-8 GM gas engine half-ton pickup can pull up to 10,600 pounds with an optional enhanced trailering package and gets 15 to 17 mpg.
GM believes it makes sense to invest in increasing hybrid towing capacity because pulling an RV trailer or boat is one of the main reasons people buy a truck.
Currently, GM hybrids use two 60kW electric motors to drive the truck up to 25 mph, when the V-8 gas engine kicks in. The electric motors also allow the engine to operate in four-cylinder mode longer to achieve better fuel economy. However, GM’s future hybrid pickups might feature a plug-in series hybrid powertrain similar to the Chevrolet Volt passenger car’s plug-in E-Flex system, according to the company.