GM Teases Chevy Silverado Electric Pickup Again: What We Know So Far

From where we are sitting now in mid-2021, it looks like the EV truck race is down to two companies: Tesla and Ford. Tesla announced the Cybertruck in 2019, while Ford announced the F-150 Lightning this year. So far, we’ve heard almost nothing from Stellantis and GM about plans for an EV pickup truck. With polls showing dead heat stats between the hypothetical Cybertruck, Lightning, and Chevy electric pickups and the unseen, it’s all the more surprising that we don’t see an electric Silverado beyond one small press release in April with no details other than range figures. they aim for.

Now, Chevy is finally taking a small step towards a public announcement.

I see “small steps” because the company hasn’t really announced anything yet. There’s just an outline of the pickup and a few simulation videos that demonstrate one of the capabilities Chevrolet is looking to include in the upcoming electric Silverado. In other words, the company is still far from what we usually see in large-scale official announcements as there are no prototypes or concept vehicles, very limited details, etc.

That said, there are still a few things we’ve learned from this limited announcement.

What We Know So Far

First, it will be all-electric. The website title says “All-Electric Silverado,” as does a small teaser video, and a few other details on the page. While we don’t know the specific details of how Chevy intends to install the battery and drive system, we do know that the company intends to go electric and not make it a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen truck.

Second, we know that Chevy will use the Ultium battery system for pickups. This means it will use the same modules as the Hummer EV and other upcoming EVs, and will not be based directly on the Chevy Bolt EV or EUV vehicles. Instead, it will follow the standard “skateboard” architecture now that we’ve seen more and more companies adopt.

It also tells us that the electric Silverado will be very similar to the F-150 Lightning in its drivetrain layout. Front and rear transverse motors will power the vehicle, leaving the front engine elongated, a common rear-drive layout in today’s pickups. All-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are likely to continue to dominate this segment, as most pickup buyers don’t want front-drive vehicles.

Another thing that Chevy revealed is that the vehicle will be built in Factory Zero. Formerly known as Detroit-Hamtramck, GM’s famous plant (located on the site of the original Dodge factory) will be converted to produce only EVs. GM has also announced that it intends to build electric Hummer, Silverado, and Cruise Origin variants. As well as retooling to produce EVs, GM also plans to power the facility with renewable energy by 2023.

So far, only one electric Silverado feature has been officially announced: 4-wheel steering. GM trucks (Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, which are nearly identical, as well as Suburbans) had 4-wheel steering available from 2002 to 2005 using a system known as Quadrasteer. The system was originally a $7000 option, but the price got $1000 for the option before being discontinued.

Bringing this option back, especially now that it’s technically easier than building a sturdy rear axle rudder, makes a lot of sense, as it greatly improves the trailer’s maneuverability and maneuverability. With electric vehicles, this should be easier and cheaper to implement. Since the Ultium architecture uses transverse motors via transaxles, CV joints, etc., the difference between the front and rear suspension and drive system is much less than that of most current pickups, which use a sturdy rear axle. Computer technology has also become more advanced and cheaper, allowing rear wheel steering to be less expensive at the front as well.

Another thing we learned from a press release earlier this year was that the Chevy is targeting a 400-mile range, which would likely require a sizeable battery for reasons we’ll explain further.

Finally, we know from the teaser silhouette that the truck will have the shape of a traditional truck, without the radical changes we saw Tesla take. The Silverado nameplate won’t be used for trucks smaller than 1/2 tonne, so we shouldn’t expect an electric Colorado or anything in the Ford Maverick size range just yet.

Some Educated Guesses Based On This

Based on what we know for sure, we can make some educated guesses.

First, it looks like Chevy will stick with the body-on-frame architecture that their trucks (and most others) have used for more than a century. The modular approach allows GM to use the same cab and berth as petrol and diesel trucks, saving a lot of money and avoiding redesigning the entire truck around it. Yes, the frame with the battery pack and drive unit will be very different from other trucks, but the ability to store parts the truck shares with its gas sibling allows it to benefit from economies of scale that the unique design won’t have. can’t.

Another thing we can see is the Silverado’s styling is pretty normal, and to be similar to what’s on sale today in gas-powered form. The Silverado platform (and, by extension, the GMC Sierra) just got a new generation in 2019, so a new generation of pickup trucks for 2022–2023 would be a bit premature.

Chevrolet was able to do what it did with the Avalanche, and give it a very different nose, which then served as the first truck with that new aesthetic. This means that the truck is significantly similar in other parts of the body to the current-generation Silverado, but looks very different up front and perhaps with a dirt effect or plastic coating on the sides giving it a different look. Then, when the next generation of Silverados comes out, they can all have the same look, regardless of the drivetrain.

Finally, we should also expect a version of the GMC truck with a different badge and a slightly different nose and hood.

Either way, don’t expect anything completely wild from this Chevrolet and GMC. They have a customer base that they are trying to turn to electricity, and they are also looking for ways to keep costs low. The end result won’t be the most aerodynamically efficient vehicle out there, but it will be something that Chevrolet’s customer base really wants to buy, and that’s not a bad thing. Every EV that replaces production ICE cars is one we can count in the “win” column.

If that’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine. There’s always Rivian and Tesla if you want something a little different in your driveway!

 


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