As I was sitting and watching a football game one afternoon I was hit with an extremely annoying commercial. The actors in the commercial were involved in activities where they should have been standing still, but instead they were jogging in place, and the commercial said “you don’t keep running when you’re stopped, why should your cars engine?” Just as the wheels on a car stop rolling when it comes to a stop, my legs stop turning when I do, but my heart never stops beating or my lungs never stop breathing, this was a very annoying comparison to me. But if advertising is meant to get your interest, this was effective advertising because I had to go out to the internet and see just what the Buick LaCrosse was up to and what the heck eAssist was.
What I found was that the Buick Lacrosse is kind of a weak hybrid. It uses hybrid style technology to run the vehicle, but the electric motor is just too weak to provide a lot of assistance to the vehicle in the driving mode. The electric starter/generator is primarily used to start the vehicle once it has turned off at a stop, eliminating the need to idle. The main reason it is not called an electric hybrid vehicle is that the small electric motor doesn’t offer enough assistance while driving to warrant it. According to a review from Hybridcars.com, the LaCrosse does offer an increased miles per gallon, 25 city and 37 hwy, but falls short of the vehicles that label themselves as hybrids. On the plus side, this vehicle can be purchased with a couple of options, a 6 cylinder engine without eAssist or a 4 cylinder engine with eAssist at the same starting price of about $30,000, less than other hybrids. I still find the commercials annoying, but the technology might have some merit, though I think my preference would lean towards a technology that provided more electric assistance.