GM’s New Pickups Boast Advanced Fuel-Save Tech

By Juston Pritchard


The all-new 2014 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado are on dealer lots now and the new GM pickups arrive with the latest in engineering, features and design ideologies that work towards reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

With an all-out assault on fuel consumption carried out during the development process of the new models, GM pickup shoppers can expect the market’s best combination of performance, capability and economy enabled by the latest in automotive high-tech, as well as some good old fashioned best practices learned from decades of truck building.

“Here in Canada, the 2014 Sierra is second to none in the full-size truck market,” said Glenn Lemmerick, GM Canada’s regional director for Western Canada.

“Truck owners expect durability, capability and fuel efficiency, and this latest generation of our proven V8 is designed to deliver on those expectations.”

Here’s a look at some of the standard fuel-saving features you’ll find on your new Sierra or Silverado, regardless of the engine or trim-level selected.

Direct Injection

Every one of the new ‘EcoTec3’ engines runs direct injection, which sprays fuel right into the combustion chamber with extreme pressure and precision.

This maximizes fuel and air mixing and allows the computer-designed combustion chamber to fully extract the most possible energy from every droplet of atomized gasoline when it’s burned.

This technology has its roots in the world of diesel engines and, thanks to a cylinder cooling effect enabled by the high-pressure injection of fuel, it allows engineers to safely specify a higher and more efficient compression ratio.

Advanced Combustion

Using millions of supercomputer processor hours, engineers experimented with numerous layouts for valve openings, piston shapes, spark plug and injector placements and more, all with the goal of extracting maximum efficiency by the very shape of the cylinder and the arrangements of components within it.

The EcoTec3 development team dissected and tested more than 100 iterations of the combustion systems which were initially evaluated initially through computer modeling before a final design was selected.

The result? Truly cutting-edge computer technology has enabled ultra-efficient engine design in the new Sierra and Silverado.

Lightweight Aluminum

All Silverado and Sierra models utilize lightweight aluminum in key areas to help reduce weight and improve overall vehicle power-to-weight ratios, saving fuel in the process.

Most importantly, the engine is constructed of aluminum, which translates into a significant weight savings.

Variable Valve Timing

Valve timing regulates an engine’s breathing with a direct effect on power and fuel mileage.

Typically, an engine with breathing set up for maximum efficiency isn’t particularly powerful.

Conversely, an engine with breathing set up for power isn’t typically fuel efficient.

The VVT system standard in the new EcoTec3 engine lineup allows both characteristics to co-exist, since it can actively change the way the engine breathes in real time via manipulation of the camshaft timing.

A computer-controlled, oil-pressure driven camshaft ‘phaser’ alters cam timing at the direction of the engine computer to ensure that plenty of on-demand power is created when needed, and that fuel mileage is maximized when it’s not.

The switching between ‘fuel efficient’ and ‘high-performance’ engine breathing is seamless and instant, and the end result to the driver is a potent performance punch alongside reduced time at the pumps.

Active Fuel Management

A V8 engine is a big and powerful way to propel a truck, but the full brunt of its power output isn’t always required.

In times like these, the AFM system within the EcoTec3 powerplants literally turns off half of their cylinders, enabling a low-consumption four-cylinder mode when drivers coast or cruise gently.

When power is required, the system re-activates the ‘sleeping’ cylinders in fractions of a second.

The process is absolutely seamless and invisible to the driver, though an ‘ECO’ display can be selected to keep drivers up on the switching process.

When cylinders are deactivated, fuel injection is paused and valves remain closed, enabling an ‘air spring’ effect within the shut-down cylinders to help the engine pump away smoothly.

Engineers even calibrated the exhaust system so there’s no change in engine sound.





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