Most General Motors SUVs with V8 engines are equipped with start-stop technology, a function that switches the engine off when the vehicle is stopped and starts again when the driver takes the brake pedal. The system improves fuel consumption. Not for long, though. GM is currently in the process of removing the technology from most of its full-size trucks and SUVs.
The culprit? A global shortage of microchips.
Can’t find the chips? Remove the function
The decision affects Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. All affected models come with a 5.3-liter V8 or 6.2-liter V8 and a 10-speed Automatic transmission equipped.
This is the second feature that GM removed from some of its largest vehicles due to the shortage, and the second compromise that has made the fuel economy of some of the company’s least fuel efficient vehicles worse. The company removed fuel-efficient cylinder deactivation technology from its full-size trucks in March.
Decision keeps factories running
The decision, according to GM, will allow us “to continue producing our high-demand full-size SUVs and pickups while the industry continues to recover.” Since GM is having difficulty obtaining the microchips needed to operate the functions, it simply removes the functions.
GM didn’t say a word about when start / stop could be brought back. The company doesn’t plan to add it retrospectively to cars sold without it once chips become available.
$ 50 for your loss
GM is offering its customers a $ 50 discount to compensate for the lost feature. Many buyers are unlikely to be bothered. Turning the feature off is pretty common. Some of the affected trucks have a simple button that drivers can use to deactivate them. In other cases, disabling Start / Stop is a more complicated process, but it is common enough that there are dozens of video guides on YouTube explaining how to turn it off.
Decision is likely to harm the company more than it does the buyers
However, adding a start-stop feature to its trucks and SUVs improves the fuel consumption figure on the window sticker, which can help attract shoppers. It also improves the average fuel economy of an automaker’s fleet. Automakers have to pay heavy fines if their average fuel consumption falls below a certain threshold or buy loans from automakers with better average fuel consumption values.
With virtually every automaker selling one or more electric cars this year, the fleet’s average fuel economy has improved. However, with GM selling more trucks and SUVs than any other type of car, reducing the fuel efficiency of its largest consumer vehicles could reverse that trend.