Imagine an engine that maximizes fuel efficiency without sacrificing its robust power, a drivetrain that actually turns off to save fuel while at a stoplight and restarts seamlessly, a hybrid system that charges from the normally wasted energy produced when the brakes are applied, and a car that does all this without sacrificing its performance or luxury.
All of this is possible with eAssist, a fuel-efficient technology that makes none of the typical compromises of a traditional hybrid. Each eAssist vehicle has a compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that couples to a standard internal combustion engine. When you accelerate from a standstill or anytime the engine is under a heavier load, the electric motor assists the engine, reducing the amount of fuel you use; but that is only one characteristic of the technology.
The technology features "start-stop," which helps when stuck in traffic, a common occurrence that is not only frustrating but also a tremendous waste of fuel. According to the U.S. Treasury, 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline are squandered annually by motorists stuck in traffic. To address this problem, stop-start turns your engine off when you come to a complete stop and turns it back on when you press the accelerator again. As a component of eAssist, stop-start is even better because the transition from on to off and off to on is seamless and often goes unnoticed.
There is also clever efficiency taking place even before you come to a complete stop. The lithium-ion battery that powers the eAssist motor, as any battery, needs to be charged. Unlike many hybrids, however, the battery is not charged solely by the engine; it is also charged by the brakes. Regenerative braking charges the battery via a generator that is engaged when you apply the brakes. As you come to a stop, forward energy from the momentum of your car is not wasted but instead converts that energy and is used to recharge your battery.
Hybrids have long had the reputation of being either underpowered or unrefined in transition between electric motor and combustion engine. This is where eAssist really shines. A 2014 Buick Lacrosse with a 2.4-liter ECOTEC Direct Injection 4-cylinder engine with eAssist technology produces a healthy 180 horsepower and 172 ft-lb. of torque. Even with that power, this technology makes it possible for a midsize luxury sedan to provide an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway. As with the start-stop function, eAssist is seamless in its efficiency. That power and economy is delivered in a package that is smooth and uncompromising in both its luxury and performance.