2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Is Almost a Hybrid

As automakers struggle to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the low end, while providing the same power, dynamics and ease of use, hybrids seem to be the new way to ride. General Motors saw this opportunity and seized it.

This could as well be called a Buick LaCrosse Hybrid, because it employs similar applications through GM's new eAssist technology. A 115-volt lithium ion battery and a 15 kilowatt electric motor help boost fuel economy by 25 percent, when compared to today's four cylinder LaCrosse. That may be interpreted as an estimated 25/37 miles per gallon (9.4/6.35 liters per 100 km, city/highway).

When driving off, initial acceleration is provided by the electric motor which delivers 15 horsepower and 79 lb-ft (107 Nm) of torque. Transition to the gasoline unit uses a torque smoothing function as the engine is turned on, and the eAssist becomes operative again during deceleration, using a fuel shut-off function and regenerative braking, joined with an idle stop system for the 2.4-liter four cylinder gasoline engine.

The gas engine produces a peak power of 182 hp and maximum torque of 172 lb-ft (233 Nm). The wheels are then driven through a GM Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicle's drag was significantly improved upon, with help from modified underbody panels and an active front air flow shutter. Real time monitoring is shown on a revised instrument panel that indicates when the LaCrosse is operating in electric mode and an eco-meter for the driver to observe how efficient his or her driving style is.

The eAssist function is offered as standard on all 2012 Buick LaCrosses equipped with the 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine, with prices estimated at US $30,000.
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