GM is likely to pull forward its plans to pour more fuel-efficient technology into the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. Earlier predictions had GM giving its 2014 pickups a mid-cycle refresh as far away as 2017, but that's changed. With all the attention the 2015 Ford F-150 has been getting and the recent announcement that the Ram 1500 will get a minor update next year and major update in 2017, clearly GM thinks it must move up its timetable. However, whether the Chevy or some of the GMC's higher trim packages get the technology first is undetermined.
According to The Detroit News, Jeff Luke, GM's executive chief engineer for pickup trucks, has said the pickups are likely to come to market next year with a more advanced transmission with several more gears than the existing six-speed. Stop-start engine technology is a possibility as well; 2015 models will go on sale later this year.
Other technologies mentioned during a recent debut and test drive of the new Chevy Suburban and Tahoe included a smarter and more efficient gas and/or diesel hybrid setup, as well as more aggressive weight-saving strategies that could include more use of aluminum and alternative fuel combinations.
According to GM, when the new trucks debuted they weighed between 200 and 300 pounds less than the vehicles they replaced (which effectively zeroed out the extra insulation, electronics and added structural supports). We'll know more by fall.