Hybrids may not offer the range anxiety that full electrics do, but as is proven by today’s Nice Price or No Dice Tahoe, they can cause battery failure anxiety. Let’s see if the fix this one needs will make its price worth the effort.
The world of the Transformers is comprised of toys, comics, a TV cartoon and a series of fireball explosions that director Michael Bay spliced together to form a collection of marginally watchable movies. At no time during any of that media frenzy did we ever see either an Autobot or a Decepticon like the 1998 Coachmen Clipper we judged yesterday. I’m guessing that the pop-top trailer’s transformation is being saved for some crucial battle yet to come.
Being able to morph from an easily towable compact package into a roomy and comfortable campground cabin is perhaps the greatest trick of all, and at just $3,700, that Clipper proved also to be a pretty good value too, earning a laudable 65 percent Nice Price win.
If you’re going to tow any sort of trailer, you’re going to need a vehicle with (a) a trailer hitch, and (b) enough oomph to make that hitch useful. Today’s 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid lacks that second criteria. At least for the moment.
Chevy introduced the Tahoe Hybrid, along with the Yukon Hybrid, its GMC clone, as part of the company’s 2008 model year lineup. A Cadillac Escalade version would arrive a year later. What made them hybrid was a constantly variable transmission co-developed by GM with BMW and Daimler. That transmission has two 80 horsepower electric helper motors integrated into the case, with the pair powered by a 288-volt 6.5 amp-hour battery. We talked at length about this hybrid transmission in the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid we considered a few months back
The purpose of the electric motors is to help out the 6 liter gas engine in heavy load situations. The LFA V8 operates on the Atkinson cycle for greatest efficiency and also features GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system for even greater fuel savings. Both of those aspects can cause power lags at low rpms and when passing is on the agenda. Using the electric motors in these situations allows the drivetrain to offer acceptable performance along with vastly improved fuel economy.
The proof is in the pudding, which in this case is the EPA fuel efficiency rating. That gave the Tahoe hybrid a 21 miles per gallon stop-and-go rating, which was significantly higher than the gas-only truck’s paltry 15 mpg.
This white over black leather Tahoe isn’t going anywhere, however. According to its ad, the truck needs that 288 watt high voltage battery to be replaced before it can hit the road, city or highway. The seller says that they have already invested a good deal in the truck, noting replacements of “lifter” and the “BCM” or body control module. That apparently was enough for them and now they want the truck to be gone.
Replacement of the battery, the seller claims, is a proposition of about $2,500 all-in. That seems about right. This company, Lifetime Hybrid Batteries, claims it can replace the battery for that amount and even offers free at-home installation. Hell, if I don’t even have to get out of my jammies to do something, I’m already half sold.
Other than the tits-up battery, the seller says the truck is in good shape. It sports 145,144 miles under its hybrid belt and doesn’t show those miles in either the paint or the interior. Yes, there is a bit of dustiness that will need some attention, but that’s just a result of the truck sitting in the hot and dry Arizona climate. Come to think about it, I wonder if that had a role in the battery’s demise?
The truck’s title is clean and it is a 4WD with the aforementioned tow hitch so once the battery issue is sorted out, it could be a fairly decent and perhaps even efficient trailer tower. That is, of course, only if the seller has set a suitable asking price. That asking is $7,500 and a quick perusal of the market shows that to be substantially below what other versions are asking, even with the added cost of that big-ass battery.
What’s your take on this tow-home Tahoe and that $7,500 price? Does that seem like a deal for a hybrid truck? Or, is a dead battery enough to demand an even lower cost of entry seeing as you can’t really tell what other gremlins might be. lurking in there?
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