The Electric Silverado: GM’s homerun in the EV market?
Updated: Mar 21
As a resident of upstate South Carolina, lifted trucks rolling coal out of mailbox-sized exhausts is nothing new. Looking back, the pickup truck industry had fallen into the habit of pumping out mild design updates with marginally improved powertrains in an effort to refresh their line-up year after year. In contrast with previous generations produced by Chevrolet and its competition, the Electric Silverado is a literal breath of fresh air. From a revolutionary design language to the all-new electric powertrain, this EV iteration of GM’s seemingly immortal truck line sets itself apart from the competition.
Chevrolet has had a presence in the electric market with their Bolt for quite a while, but it never really appealed to the mass consumer market and catered more towards those looking for an eco-friendly, compact option for commuting. The bolt wasn’t ever trying to become the daily driver that everyone could use for anything you could throw at it; so that’s where the EV Silverado RST picks up. With seating for 5, an expandable tailgate, more storage space than ever before, a lower center of gravity, and a plethora of electric convenience features, this may just be the electric solution to GM’s perfect everyday vehicle.
Starting on the outside, I’m not ashamed to admit that the truck is absolutely gorgeous. From a lightsaber-esque headlight up front to strong body lines and wheel arches, everything about the electric Silverado screams for you to look at it. The front fascia naturally guides the eyes towards the glowing Chevrolet logo in the center as a stunning reminder that the once boring brand has a new spark of light to it. The side profile carries an aggressive stance with angular body lines to show you that it means business. If you’re tall enough to see the top of this truck, you’ll be greeted with an all-glass roof giving a façade of endless headroom allowing the driver and their passengers to enjoy all the views of the wooden and concrete jungles they are surely driving through in complete silence. Moving towards the rear, the Silverado not-so-subtly transitions into the truck bed sporting a “Multi-Flex Tailgate” going from 5ft 11in all the way up to an expandable 10ft 10in. All this storage in the tailgate and there’s still a frunk that GM calls the “eTrunk” which can fit a large suitcase. The entire body is built on the Ultium EV platform so it’s no small beast as it shares the chassis with the Hummer EV. While the chassis brings with it a powerful presence, I believe GM may have missed the mark for its audience with the styling. Pickup truck buyers are definitely not among the youngest of those in the market for a vehicle so the contemporary design language may be more of a miss with older, more traditional buyers in the market for a vehicle in this segment. Comparing it to the Ford F-150 lightning (https://www.automotivefuture.org/post/ford-f-150-lightning-a-gamechanger-from-the-blue-oval-brand here is a great article about the new Ford!), Ford’s offering in the same category, the Silverado seems like a radicalized truck from the future while the F-150 Lightning follows more traditional design cues that feel like home. In my honest opinion, as much as I enjoy and appreciate the way GM has styled the truck, it may unfortunately be a bit too much too soon and I have to assume that the mature audience of people in the market for a pickup truck would have to agree. With all that said, we can’t say for sure what the truck will look like until the first deliveries are made and vehicles almost always look different in the “flesh” than they do in pictures so there’s reason to still keep our hopes up.
Looking inside, we see yet another big change from Chevy with a high-tech interior sporting a massive 17-inch LCD infotainment screen slanted towards the driver with another 11-inch driver display. Both displays house a surplus of information for the driver and facilitate in creating a driver-centric feel within the interior. If that isn’t enough screen real estate for you, there’s another multi-color driver heads up display with a field of view over 14 inches! As impressive as this may be, Gm hasn’t always been the most reliable with their high-tech vehicle systems so we’ll have to see how the screens and computers within the Silverado EV stand up to the greatest and harshest test ever: time. There haven’t been very many pictures of the interior released yet but from what we can see, the truck is capable of comfortably seating five passengers (more if you let them sit in the bed) with cupholders for all. Without images of humans sitting inside, it’s hard to tell how much room there truly is inside but given the large exterior presence, it’s fairly safe to assume that if you’re of a smaller stature, you should have absolutely no trouble fitting in the front and back seats.
Regardless of how a truck looks and feels to sit in, the ultimate deciding factor for most buyers is the driving experience. Again, without these trucks in the hands of consumers, it’s hard to tell exactly how they will behave once the rubber meets the road, but we can make some educated guesses given the spec sheet. The Ultium chassis sports a 24-module battery pack integrated as a structural element. This should keep the chassis nice and stiff regardless of what type of terrain you put it through. This should also result in a more composed ride versus pickup trucks on the market today. There is independent front and rear suspension with an adaptive air system that can raise or lower the ride height by 50 mm based on the terrain and speeds the truck sees. Four-wheel steering comes standard on all models so customers will no longer have to deal with the unreasonably large turning radii of past models. With the base model exhibiting a whopping 510hp, 610 lb-ft of torque, and an 8000lb towing capacity, the EV Silverado leaves little to desire compared to its fossil fuel powered ancestors while the RST model will be faster and more powerful in every metric. In the world of EVs, range anxiety is real. Luckily, all models feature fast charging up to 350 kW giving about 100 miles of range on a 10 minute charge. The only issue owners must face is actually finding a charger capable of those speeds. Without a proprietary charging network, the charging infrastructure itself is a huge setback compared to Tesla’s supercharger network. There are no exact range and battery capacity numbers but Chevy says we can expect around 400 miles of range which should be more than enough to drive you to a charger.
Everything considered, the Electric Silverado is a new-age wave coming to a pick-up truck market whose audience may not be ready for it yet. It’s a radical change from what the Silverado used to be but who knows? Maybe this is just the shove that the market needs.