It’s about to get crowded in the battery-electric pickup market. With the Consumer Electronics Show as a backdrop, Chevrolet today pulled the wraps off a plug-powered version of the familiar Silverado.
But don’t rush to dealers just yet. While the automaker will now take reservations, deliveries are still at least a year away.
With parent General Motors following a “path to an all-electric future,” it’s probably no surprise that it’s getting ready to electrify its bestselling model, the Chevrolet Silverado.
Making its debut during a virtual presentation by GM CEO Mary Barra at CES 2022, Chevy designed the Silverado EV to offer the sort of features traditional pickup buyers would expect, while adding the ability to clock up to 400 miles per charge.
Hoping to mirror the initial success of the Ford F-150 Lightning — which has so far logged nearly 200,000 reservations — Chevrolet is planning a phased rollout for the Silverado EV.
It will initially offer two versions for the 2024 model year, one targeting fleet and commercial buyers, the other aimed at those who want all the bells and whistles Chevy has to offer. An array of midrange models will follow in 2025 and beyond.
A Competitive Electric Pickup Market
The Silverado EV will become the second battery-powered pickup from GM, following the late 2021 launch of the extreme GMC Hummer EV. That should be no surprise, said Steve Majoros, Chevy’s marketing chief.
“The fastest-growing segment we see for EV consideration is the full-size truck segment,” he explained during a media backgrounder ahead of CES. By mid-decade, there could be 10 or more electric pickups on the market, including the Hummer and Silverado, a version of the GMC Sierra, the Ford F-150 Lightning, an electric Ram 1500, entries from Toyota and Nissan, the repeatedly delayed Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian’s R1T, and others.
Both the Silverado and Hummer EV are based on a heavy-duty version of the Ultium platform that will be used across the GM electrified lineup. It’s a skateboard-like architecture that mounts motors, electronics, and an oversized battery pack below the load floor.
While significantly heavier than the already beefy, standard-issue Silverado, the layout has many advantages, starting with a lower center of gravity.
It also yields a massive “frunk” where the powertrain would traditionally go. And with wheels pushed to the corners and no driveshaft to deal with, the cabin grows even larger and gets a flat load floor.
“The Ultium platform is a critical enabler of next-level pickup performance for both fleet and retail customers, whether they are currently driving a Silverado or are considering a pickup for the first time,” said Chevrolet brand boss Steve Hill.
2024 Silverado EV Will Be a Unique Truck
The Chevy offering will be far less radical in appearance than GMC’s Hummer. A closer look reveals it does not share a single body panel with the conventional gas- and diesel-powered Silverado line.
As has become the norm with modern battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the conventional grille disappears, though there are smaller air inlets lower down to help cool the truck’s motors and battery pack.
A slim light bar and backlit Chevy bowtie just below the shortened hood serve to signal that this isn’t your normal Silverado. The side panels, meanwhile, offer a bit more sculpting and squared-off wheel arches.
“We had no constraints when it came to designing the Silverado EV with dramatic style and flexible utility because we didn’t need to work around a traditional propulsion system,” said Phil Zak, executive director of Chevrolet Design.
“The Ultium Platform allowed us to redefine what it means to offer expansive new storage and utility possibilities.”
Actually, there were some constraints. The Silverado EV spent plenty of time in the wind tunnel during development, a critical step in reaching its targeted range — which is nearly a third more than what Ford expects from the Lightning.
The Chevy team wanted to deliver more than just a Silverado with a battery pack. It came up with some features that should appeal to both commercial users and suburban cowboys.
The pickup bed measures a full 5’11”. But the truck adds a folding “Multi-Flex Midgate” — think Chevy Avalanche — that extends that to 9 feet. And by folding down the multifunction tailgate, you can add another 22 inches. The midgate, incidentally, has a 60-40 split, and the window can be removed to stow extra-large cargo.
Another feature unique to the EV is the availability of as many as 10 power outlets — including three in the frunk — delivering a mix of 120 and 240 V. All told, the truck can pump out a maximum of 10.2 kW. That can be used at a worksite or campsite, or, if needed, to provide backup power at home in the event of a blackout.
The 2024 Silverado EV will be offered only in Crew Cab configuration. The cabin itself is a cavernous affair, taking advantage of the Ultium platform to yield business-class room for backseat passengers.
The WT, or Work Truck, model debuting next year will offer a minimum of frills. The RST First Edition, on the other hand, will target those who see pickups as luxury vehicles. The cabin will be outfitted with highline trim, an audiophile sound system, and twin displays, an 11-inch gauge cluster, and a 17-inch infotainment touchscreen.
GM’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise is one of the handful of available options on the RST First Edition. The system can be used hands-free on about 200,000 miles of limited-access roads in the U.S. and Canada and, with the Silverado, gets a trailering mode.
At launch, the RST will be able to handle up to a 10,000-pound trailer and 1,300 pounds of payload. The WT will come in with 8,000 pounds of trailering capability and a 1,200-pound payload. Later versions, Chevy officials said, will get a boost to as much as 20,000 pounds of trailering.
Where the Hummer First Edition is powered by three electric motors, the Silverado EV has a twin-motor drive, one on each axle. That setup will still deliver an impressive 664 horsepower and 780 pound-feet of torque.
Using the truck’s Wide Open Watts mode, the RST will be able to launch to 60 in less than 4.5 seconds. Of course, heavy loads and aggressive driving will quickly cut into that impressive max-rated 400-mile range.
Quick Charging … Sorta
The Silverado EV can be plugged into public quick chargers of up to 350 kW. A motorist can add an extra 100 miles of range, according to Chevy, in as little as 10 minutes. Charging times for 240V chargers are not yet revealed, but considering the two-layer lithium-ion battery pack holds 200 kWh of energy, expect to spend the better part of a day plugged in.
The Ultium platform may be ready for rough use on or off the road, but it features independent front and rear suspension as well as, on the RST, rear-wheel steering. That helps it maneuver or park in urban settings like a much smaller vehicle. It also enhances high-speed handling.
And the RST also gets an adaptive air suspension that can be raised or lowered by up to 2 inches.
2024 Chevy Silverado EV Truck
The WT version of the Silverado EV will be the first to go into production, starting in spring 2023. The RST First Edition will follow that autumn. A number of other variants will follow in 2024.
A fully loaded Silverado EV RST First Edition will come in at $105,000, Chevy announced. The automaker priced the base WT model at $39,900. Experts predict the initial run will start at higher price officials wouldn’t disclose. Future models will come in anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000.