There's no denying just how crucial the Chevy Silverado EV's success is to General Motors. As America's love for pickups grows even more and the segment begins its transition to battery power, it's a must-win, especially as Ford is currently gearing up for production of the F-150 Lightning. That means it's got to work and perform like a gas-powered truck—even better, if we're honest—and Chevy has a year to make it happen with initial deliveries slated for the spring of 2023.
Chevy doesn't appear to have taken this task lightly, either. The Silverado EV has tech and equipment that's simply not available on the internal-combustion truck; take four-wheel steering, front and rear independent suspension, dual-motor four-wheel-drive, a legit midgate, and 10.2 kilowatts of available energy supply for example. More on all that in due time.
To kick things off, I'm not sure anyone expected the Silverado EV to look like this. Then again, when you don't have to base your entire design around an engine up front, you can take a few more creative liberties. Indeed, the truck's front compartment is left open for storage—Chevy calls it the eTrunk—and its precious battery pack is fitted underneath the floor. It's pretty special tech, too, as it's part of GM's new Ultium EV platform.
No specifics about the battery pack's energy capacity have been released, but we know it's mighty. GM quotes a maximum range of 400 miles, and in the Silverado EV's fleet-focused WT trim, it helps deliver 510 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers jump to 664 hp and 780 pound-feet in the higher performance RST model with Wide Open Watts mode active. The GMC Hummer EV has Watts To Freedom, and this Bowtie has Wide Open Watts—acronyms, gotta love 'em.
While it's neat that GM quotes a zero-to-60 time of under 4.5 seconds for the Silverado EV RST, what more traditional truck fans are asking about is towing and payload. In short, the electric pickup's max capacities are 10,000 pounds for the former and 1,300 pounds for the latter; that tow rating is on-par with the F-150 Lightning's, although payload falls 700 pounds short. Interestingly, Chevy says it'll introduce a fleet model with "up to 20,000 pounds max trailering," so color me curious to see that. The Silverado EV WT appears to have eight-lug wheels, so who knows, maybe it'll really be able to pull it off.
Because of this nifty battery tech, every Silverado EV, no matter the trim, can accommodate DC fast-charging up to 350kW. That allows it to regain 100 miles of range in about 10 minutes, according to GM, and the automaker is still building its Ultium Charge 360 network for all of its electric vehicles to use. This includes 100,000 publicly available charging points across the United States and Canada, and WT customers can make use of Ultium Charge 360 Fleet Service, a branch of the network that caters specifically to businesses.
Of course, RST trucks equipped with GM's hands-free, towing-capable Super Cruise driving assist will be able to plan their routes with charging points along the way. This data is all accessible via the available 17-inch infotainment display, which acts as command central for the pickup. It'll be the first model to run Ultifi, GM's new Linux-based, in-house-developed software platform that enables "rapid and frequent software updates." Like other connected vehicles, the Silverado EV will improve continuously over time.
Who's to say what this will mean for software-enabled features, like the Silverado EV's four-wheel steering that's reminiscent of GM Quadrasteer from the '00s. The rear wheels turn opposite from the front at low speeds to improve maneuverability, and they move in the same direction as the fronts at road speeds to aid stability—this is especially helpful while towing. Then there's what GM is calling its PowerBase with up to 10.2kW of "offboard power," meant to provide juice for worksite and recreational activities as well as powering your house, should it be properly equipped. It's got 10 outlets in total, though no 220-volt plugs are visible, at least that I can see.
The majority of those outlets are mounted in the bed, which is actually one of the Silverado EV's most interesting features. It, of course, makes use of GM's MultiPro tailgate that can be set in six different positions, but the real party piece is that aforementioned midgate. It's an extremely handy piece of kit that opens up the five-foot, 11-inch bed and gives the truck a usable load floor measuring 10 feet, 10 inches when open. The midgate is even configurable so the Chevy can still seat a rear passenger in the 40/60 row of seats.
Now that we've gone over the Silverado EV's looks, performance, and modern truck features, it's time to talk about price. Deliveries for the F-150 Lightning Pro-fighting WT trim are set to begin in spring of 2023 with the starting MSRP at $39,900 before destination. It gets plenty pricier from there as the RST First Edition—scheduled for a fall 2023 launch—will command $105,000 plus whatever delivery fees are applied by the manufacturer. That's roughly $15,000 more than the F-150 Lightning Platinum.
Chevy says to expect a Silverado EV Trail Boss and more to join the lineup in due time. Eventually, it intends to offer trucks with MSRPs around $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 and more so customers can pick and choose what they need at a price that works best. Time will tell if this is enough to win the electric domestic truck fight, but on paper, the Silverado EV looks fit and capable in its own way.
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