General Motors unveiled the electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup, displaying a truck that will get up to 400 miles per charge and packed with automated driving technology.
The pickup is part of a broader strategy to quickly offer electric vehicles in the top-selling segments of the U.S. auto market. GM also is developing its BrightDrop line of electric delivery vans and logistics robots.
Speaking at the annual CES technology conference in Las Vegas Tuesday, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said the automaker also plans to offer Chevrolet Equinox EV SUV with an estimated starting price of around $30,000 in the U.S. as well as a larger Chevrolet Blazer EV SUV. Both Equinox EV and Blazer EV will be available in 2023. GM also plans an electric version of the Silverado work truck.
Along with the Silverado, the three models will give Chevrolet EVs in the industry’s two largest segments and one of the fastest-growing segments in the U.S.
GM is trailing Ford, which is about to launch an electric version of the F-150 and Rivian, a startup, in bringing the electric Silverado to market.
Chevrolet Silverado Pickup Specs
The electric Silverado will have up to 664 horsepower with more than 780 pound-feet of torque. GM says some versions will have an estimated 0-60 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds.
The automaker will make its Super Cruise automated driving system available on the new truck. The feature is a half-step to autonomous driving. The GM hands-free, foot-free driving system works on most major highways and roads in the U.S. Drivers must still pay attention to the road and traffic to take control instantly if there is a hazard.
Chevrolet will equip the new truck with standard DC.fast charging of up to 350kW. It will provide as much as 10.2kW of offboard power with optional equipment.
The electric Silverado will have up to 10,000 pounds of maximum trailering with up to 1,300 pounds of payload.
It will be built on a new platform designed for electric vehicles and separate from the gasoline version of the Silverado.
“There’s a lot of cool stuff on this truck, and I think going back to the unibody, Chevy Avalanche style layout makes a lot of sense and offers some great packaging flexibility. They also picked up the same sort of vehicle to load capability that Ford launched on F-150,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
“But given how long GM has been working on the EV stuff, and how they are talking about how quickly they can develop vehicles now, it seems a bit odd that this very important product will be a full year behind the F-150. It also looks like it’s going to be really heavy,” he said.
Work Truck First
GM plans to sell the work truck model first.
It will provide up to 510 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque. The electric work truck will have up to 8,000 pounds of towing and 1,200 pounds of payload capacity. After the initial launch, Chevrolet plans to sell a fleet model with up to 20,000 pounds max trailering with a special towing package.
“We’re excited to launch the Silverado EV, providing customers with a true work-capable truck to help them begin the transition to an electric fleet and assist them in achieving their own sustainability goals,” said Ed Peper, vice president of GM Fleet.
Sales for both the work truck version and the regular truck will start next year as a 2024 model.
The WT, or work truck model, will hit dealers in the spring. It will have a $39,900 starting price plus a $1,695 delivery fee. During the third quarter of 2023, GM will start selling a fully loaded RST First Edition model. It will debut at $105,000 plus the destination fee.
Later, Chevrolet will make more trims available across various price ranges, starting from $50,000 to $80,000.
The Silverado EV will be assembled with domestically and globally sourced parts at GM’s Factory ZERO, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center.
Growing EV Market
Electric trucks look to be a fast-growing market.
“I think there is huge potential for electric trucks, especially for commercial customers,” Abuelsamid said.
He said that most commercial customers don’t need a 400-mile range, and 230-250 miles should be more than adequate.
“Those customers are far more concerned about the total cost of operation than average consumers, and benefits of going electric, including lower energy cost and service, will be a big factor,” he said.
Automakers will need to have an extensive service network will also be essential to ensure minimal downtime and robust telematics capabilities are also very important for fleets, he said.
“Retail customers will also appreciate the lower operating costs while maintaining capability like towing. The only real downside is charging while towing. But some companies have started configuring charging stations for drive-through like gas stations,” Abuelsamid said.