Hybrids are hot. People have heard about them. They know a hybrid is some kind of miracle powertrain that gives 50 mpg in the Toyota Prius. And it's great for the environment.
But the Prius is a pretty small car. What would really be great is a hybrid pickup or SUV. Sure, it might not get as good gas mileage as that little Toyota, but, heck, even if it only got 30 miles to the gallon, that'd still be pretty good.
Actually, that would be great-sort of like the all-pie diet where you lose five pounds a week. Unfortunately, neither is reality.
What is reality, however, is that GM has introduced hybrid versions of its Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The trucks began trickling into commercial fleets a few months ago, but now they're ready for retail sale, in volumes limited only by demand-and by geography. For the '05 model year, the trucks are offered in six states: California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and Florida. Next year all 50 states will get them.
This is not, however, some 30-mpg miracle truck. That's because being a hybrid is not an all-or-nothing proposition-there are degrees of hybrid-ness. The Silverado/Sierra hybrid is what's called a "mild hybrid," and as such, it offers mild benefits.... Read full article