Trucks & SUVs

Will GM’s New System Really Make Towing Safer?

Safety features are one of the most important features consumers consider when looking for a new car. Consumers want a vehicle that will hold up in a crash, get them from point A to Z safely, brake well in an emergency, and provide the convenience and comfort of knowing that the car is equipped with safety features should they be needed.

Car brands are continually looking to up their game when it comes to safety, bringing in new standard safety technology and garnering more top safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA. But do safety features always help buyers choose one brand over another? General Motors seems to think so, and they’ve invented something that goes beyond just the vehicles they sell.

GM towing gets an upgrade

While it’s not a brand-new invention, GM is creating an advanced trailer braking system that is meant to help pickup truck drivers react to more situations when they are towing and regardless of what they’re hauling. While they already have some of the best towing capacity trucks on the market, they are looking to provide more than just towing capacity.

GM is using the eBoost braking system found in the 2020 GMC Sierra and 2020 Chevy Silverado and modifying it to work with trailers equipped with electric hydraulic disc brakes. GM claims the system will benefit trailers with multiple axles and varying degrees of weight. This technology has the potential to reduce trailer stopping distances by up to 20 percent when compared to the trailer braking systems currently available. That means that this prototype trailer would make any truck it was hitched to safer also, not just GM trucks. 

Here’s how GM’s eBoost system works

When GM decided to try out their eBoost braking system on a trailer, they built a concept model that delivered. Typically, braking for a deer that darts in front of a truck can prove more hazardous than hitting the deer, at least for the truck and trailer it’s towing. That’s because the trailer can’t stop as fast, and the result is that it can buckle, crash into the truck, or cause both to flip.

By adding the electronic wheel speed sensors of eBoost, GM claims it can shorten the braking distance of a truck with a 9,000-pound loaded trailer hitched by 40 feet. This could be a life-saving development for trailer haulers everywhere. The technology reduces trailer sway, improves stopping distance, and works like an anti-lock braking system. 

Additionally, adding the eBoost braking system allowed GM to add larger tires, brake rotors, and calipers, and the added new software enabled the truck to work with the trailer’s eBoost system. Essentially, the two are in better communication so that if an emergency stop is initiated, the truck can command the trailer’s ability to brake even better than before. 

Will this new system attract buyers?

2016 GMC Sierra at Miami Beach International Auto Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center
GM’s GMC Sierra 1500 | Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

With the potential to make not just the trailer itself safer but the truck it’s hitched to, the new GM towing system makes sense. It’s not clear yet whether GM intends to produce its own trailers with this technology or sell the plans to existing trailer manufacturers. However, it seems more likely that they just want to show trailer makers the potential that exists to make the roads safer for truck and trailer owners.

One thing is for sure, with their already winning-at-towing-capacity trucks, GM may be better off adding the technology to trucks other than the Sierra and Silverado – that would certainly attract more buyers. 

GM is ready to surprise buyers

The eBoost upgrade to GM towing is not the only surprise GM has up its sleeve. They’ve also been working on growing their diesel family, and they also seem to be keen on electric vehicle development. Stay tuned to MotorBiscuit to see what else GM has in store for 2020.