Print 29 comment(s) - last by jharper12.. on Feb 9 at 5:35 AM

2012 Buick Regal eAssist
EAssist technology to filter down to the Buick Regal

GM is moving forward with its "tweener luxury" Buick brand and is looking to further expand its appeal with more fuel-efficient models. Late last year, Buick announced that it would bring its LaCrosse eAssist to market this year that will achieve 25/37 mpg (city/highway).

Today, Ward's Auto reports that the hybrid system will also be filtering down to the slightly smaller Buick Regal. The Regal eAssist will be powered by the same 180hp four-cylinder engine, 15hp electric motor (fed by a trunk-mounted lithium-ion battery pack), and 6-speed automatic transmission.

Ward’s reports that the Regal eAssist will also achieve the same fuel economy as the LaCrosse eAssist. However, the powertrain will not come as standard equipment as it will on its more expensive big brother. 

“It’s a very integrated powertrain system, with no compromises in driving performance, shift quality or ride and handling,” said Daryl Wilson, LaCrosse lead development engineer of the eAssist system in November 2010. “We believe this combination points to the future of vehicles powered primarily by an internal combustion engine.”

The standard 2011 Buick Regal starts at $26,245 and gets an unremarkable 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway from its 182hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The eAssist model will no doubt cost at least a few thousand dollars more pushing it closer to the $30,000 price point.

For comparison, other midsize hybrids on the market like the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,990) and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ($26,545) offer greater fuel economy ratings of 41/36 and 35/40 respectively.

Updated 2/8/2011

General Motors has officially unveiled the Buick Regal eAssist, and the vehicle is officially rated at 26/37 (city/highway). It will go on sale later in the fall.

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RE: Not for me, but...
By jharper12 on 2/8/2011 3:27:31 PM , Rating: 1
Actually 37 MPG qualifies as exceptionally green. What most people fail to realize is that MPG is a miserable way to compare fuel efficiency, what you need to use is gallons consumed per 100 miles. So, now let's actually compare these three vehicles.

Ford Fusion Hybrid: 39 MPG Highway. Which is 2.439 gallons per 100 miles.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 37 MPG Highway. Which is 2.5 gallons per 100 miles.
Buick Regal eAssist: 30 MPG Highway. Which is 2.703 gallons per 100 miles.

Let’s say the average new car driver will put 100k miles on their car. Today’s national current gas average price: $3.117. Total cost for fuel:

Ford Fusion Hybrid: $7,602.44
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: $7,792.50
Buick Regal eAssist: $8,424.32

Greatest difference is $821.89. Assuming one puts 15k miles on their new car a year, that works out to be: $10.27 more in fuel per month. Granted, this is for Highway mileage, but you are the one who chose to criticize the 37 MPG figure. I'm certain the eAssist system is far cheaper to implement than a full hybrid system with extra engineering for weight reduction, cheaper by at least $822.

This is exactly why I tell people considering the Prius they are wasting their money. 48 City, 51 Highway… big whoop. It starts at $23,050. The Chevrolet Cruze Eco gets 33 combined, and starts at $18,175. I would say it looks better, and it’s certainly a comparable or better interior with more space up front and similar space in back. Now, let’s run the numbers.

Prius: $6,361.22
Cruze: $9,445.45
Difference: $3,084.23
Premium for Prius: $4,875.

Not to mention the fact that you’ll never have to worry about replacing batteries with the Cruze, and the Cruze actually has a 100k mile warranty with roadside assistance and courtesy transportation.

Don’t be so transfixed with MPG numbers, do the math, hybrids won’t make much sense once small displacement turbos are mainstream and perfected. The extra cost of the drive train and batteries will eliminate the benefit.

When we have cheap, high capacity batteries... well, then we'll all be driving Volts, because hybrids won't make much sense then either. Hybrids served their purpose as a bridge technology, their time has passed. eAssist systems, hydraulic systems, and small displacement turbos are the way of the future. We really just need 35 MPG combined, and then to focus entirely on finding the perfect cheap high capacity battery. We'll hit that without using hybrid drive trains on cars... so yeah, maybe they are still useful on SUVs and trucks, although I'd rather see diesels in those anyways.

RE: Not for me, but...
By jharper12 on 2/9/2011 5:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure what happened here:

"Ford Fusion Hybrid: 39 MPG Highway. Which is 2.439 gallons per 100 miles.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 37 MPG Highway. Which is 2.5 gallons per 100 miles.
Buick Regal eAssist: 30 MPG Highway. Which is 2.703 gallons per 100 miles."

But the figures I actually used were slightly off. I used 41 MPG for Ford, which is City, 40 MPG for Hyundai which is highway, and 37 MPG for Buick which is also highway. When I write articles like this, I do them in Excel with CONCATENATE... so I probably just forgot to update something as I was initially comparing combined mileage. Sorry guys.

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