GM Unveils its Chevy Silverado EV, the Electric Pickup Wars Have Officially Begun
【Summary】General Motors CEO Mary Barra unveiled its highly anticipated electric Chevy Silverado during a virtual keynote at CES on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The battery-powered version of GM’s best-selling Silverado pickup marks the automaker’s second entry in the electric truck segment following the Hummer EV. The electric pickup segment is now poised to become highly competitive with the recent launch of the R1T from newcomer Rivian and Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra unveiled its highly anticipated electric Chevy Silverado during a virtual keynote at CES on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The battery-powered version of GM's best-selling Silverado pickup marks the automaker's second entry in the electric truck segment following the Hummer EV.
The electric pickup segment is poised to become highly competitive with the recent launch of the R1T from newcomer Rivian, Ford's electric F-150 Lightning, Tesla's Cybertruck and the upcoming electric Ram 1500 pickup from Stellantis.
At launch, the Silverado EV will be available in two configurations, the "RST First Edition" and the "WT model" for commercial customers. The WT version of the Silverado will launch first in the spring of 2023 with a starting MSRP of $39,900.
The Silverado EV will have an estimated 400-mile range on a full charge. It will also be offered in a Work Truck (WT) version. The WT will compete with Ford's new F-150 Lightning Pro, which is also aimed at commercial and fleet cusotmers.
The electric powertrain in the WT will deliver 510 hp and 615 lb-ft of torque. It will be able to tow 8,000 pounds and offer 1,200 pounds of payload capacity. After initial launch, GM said it will introduce a fleet model with up to 20,000 pounds of towing capability when equipped with the max tow package.
The WT version includes a PowerBase charging system that offers up to 10 outlets, to provide a total of 10.2kW of all-electric power for worksites or recreational needs.
"GM Fleet has long provided customers with great products and services, an exceptional customer experience and innovative solutions to meet their unique business needs," said Ed Peper, vice president of GM Fleet. "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."
In fall 2023, the Silverado EV RST First Edition consumer model will debut, also delivering 400 miles of range. It will have an MSRP of $105,000, which unfortunately will put it out of reach of most buyers.
The RST version of the Silverado EV will offer up to 664 horsepower with more than 780 lb-ft of torque max power using a power boost feature GM calls "Wide Open Watts Mode." It enables a 0-60 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds. Towing capacity is up to 10,000 pounds of maximum trailering with up to 1,300 pounds of payload.
The flagship RST First Edition will also come with GM's Super Cruise automated highway driving feature, which offers hands-free driver-assistance that works on more than 200,000 miles of compatible roads across the U.S. and Canada.
Offer features for the First Edition include four-wheel steering for enhanced maneuverability, available adaptive air suspension, as well as a Multi-Flex Midgate that expands the truck's cargo capability. The adaptive air suspension enables the vehicle to be raised or lowered up to 2 inches for easier entry and exit.
All versions of the electric Silverado will support Standard DC fast charging up to 350kW. The fast charging capabilities can add roughly 100 miles of range in 10 minutes, based on GM estimates. The truck will also be able to charge another EV using an available accessory charge cord that offers bidirectional charging.
Silverado RST owners also have access to GM's Ultium Charge 360 EV charging network with access to more than 100,000 publicly available charging points in the U.S. and Canada. WT customers will have access to Ultium Charge 360 Fleet Service, which offers comprehensive charging solutions for commercial customers to meet their charging needs.
The Silverado EV is Built on GM's New Utium EV Platform
The new Chevy Silverado is not just an electric version of the gas-powered model. It's an entirely new vehicle that's built from the ground up on GM's advanced Ultium EV Platform, which will also underpin GM's future electric models. The Utium EV platform essentially provided GM engineers with a blank slate to design the electric Silverado without the constraints of a conventional gas-powered pickup.
The electric Silverado's new architecture uses the available 24-module Ultium battery pack as a part of the fundamental structure of the chassis to improve ride quality, safety and handling.
"The Ultium Platform enabled our design and engineering teams to start from a clean slate and create a pickup with impressive performance and capability," said Nichole Kraatz, Silverado EV chief engineer. "The result is a truly impressive testament to the creativity and innovation our teams can bring to market with speed and at scale."
The front-end design of the Silverado EV has been designed to efficiently direct air down the body side, significantly reducing drag and turbulence, according to GM. As a result, the automaker says the electric truck will have one of the lowest drag coefficients of any available production full-size pickup truck, which helps to improve range.
The space where the engine would normally be is now a lockable and weatherproof storage compartment. GM calls it a "eTrunk." It provides enough space to fit a large suitcase along with other gear to meet a wide variety of storage needs.
On the RST model, the storage capacity of the 5-foot-11-inch bed is maximized by an available Multi-Flex Midgate, which provides just over 9 feet of storage between the cab and the tailgate when the Midgate is open. An available tonneau cover creates a fully lockable, weatherproof storage compartment to keep gear and cargo secure.
The Silverado EV's innovative Multi-Flex Mid-Gate.
The interior of the Silverado EV features a large, 17-inch-diagonal infotainment screen paired with a 11-inch-diagonal customizable instrument display for the driver. Also included is a multi-color driver head-up display with a field of view over 14 inches. The electric Silverado's infotainment system will also offer Google built in, so drivers can use Google Assistant, Maps, Play and other apps without having to sync a smartphone.
The Silverado EV will be powered by an advanced software platform that can be upgraded over time with OTA software updates. The electric Silverado will be the first vehicle to use GM's new "Ultifi" Linux-based software platform. It was developed entirely in-house at GM, it separates the vehicle's software from the hardware to enable fast and frequent software updates.
Other innovative features include hands-free start, which turns the Silverado on automatically after the driver enters with an enabled cell phone or key fob. The truck also comes with a panoramic fixed-glass roof to create a feeling of spaciousness in the cabin.
The electric Silverado will be built at GM's Factory ZERO, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, which has been entirely retooled to produce only electric vehicles. GM invested $2.2 billion in the facility to convert it into a dedicated EV factory.
However after production of the first two models ramps up, GM said will offer the full Silverado EV portfolio, including the WT, RST, Trail Boss and more, all of which will have different price points. MSRPs for each of these models will range from around $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 and up, which will give buyers a variety of choices based on their needs and budget.
Full vehicle features and color options for the Silverado EV will be announced closer to the start of model year production.
Reservations for the new electric Silverado opened today at Cheverolet.com.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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