Sunday, February 13, 2011

2012 Buick Regal gains eAssist Light Hybrid System, Returns 37MPG Highway

Buick today announced that the second model in its lineup to feature the eAssist “light electrification” system is the 2012 Regal, and it will be officially unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this week. According to the automaker, estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg city/37 mpg highway, while the overall improvement over the standard 2011 Regal fitted with a four-cylinder gasoline engine and six-speed transmission is 25%.

This is enough to beat competing models such as the Acura TSX, which returns 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

“Buick’s eAssist technology means customers don’t have to trade a premium driving experience for efficiency”, said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick marketing. “We believe Regal and LaCrosse with eAssist provide more logical and affordable choices, compared to other hybrid midsize and full-size luxury sedans”.

The eAssist system comprises a 115V lithium-ion battery and 15-kilowatt induction motor-generator, which is mounted to 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder powerplant in place of the alternator. Providing both motor assist and electric-generating functions, eAssist also reduces fuel consumption through regenerative braking, automatic engine shut-off when the vehicle is stationary and fuel cut-off during deceleration.

The powertrain includes a next-generation Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission as well, with reduced spin losses and higher gearing that further improves fuel economy. The system’s combined output is rated at 182HP (136 kW).

Finally, engineers optimized the car’s underbody aerodynamics and opted for 17-inch lightweight alloys and low rolling resistance tires.

The 2012 Buick Regal eAssist will go on sale in the USA this fall.

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