by Karl Furlong
Ford may have beaten GMC to the punch with the F-150 Lightning, but the electric truck revolution is a marathon, not a sprint. GMC has finally taken the covers off its own entrant in this space, the 2024 Sierra EV pickup. Interestingly, the '1500' seems to have been dropped from the name, perhaps to distinguish this from the gas-powered Sierra 1500. Like its corporate cousin, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, the Sierra EV is based on General Motors' Ultium platform. GMC has chosen to launch the new pickup in a fully-loaded Denali Edition 1 guise, although other trims will follow suit. It comes with an estimated 400-mile range and as much as 754 horsepower in Max Power mode. There's a lot more to unpack, so let's explore the newest electric pickup in America.
See trim levels and configurations:
|Denali Edition 1||
The release date for the GMC Sierra EV is early in 2024, but that applies to the Denali Edition 1. AT4 and Elevation trims are only coming out for the 2025 model year.
This decision to launch with the Denali Edition 1 isn't surprising since GMC has been pushing its Denali sub-brand hard in recent times. It also underlines GMC's positioning as a more premium alternative to Chevrolet.
The price of the 2024 GMC Sierra EV range will begin at an MSRP of around $50,000 in the USA, excluding a destination charge of $1,695. Following a series of recent price hikes from its Blue Oval competitor, that's right in line with the base Ford F-150 Lightning Pro, which will cost $51,974. However, the Pro is a workhorse trim, and it's unlikely that the cheapest Sierra EV will be quite as basic.
For the 2024 Sierra EV Denali Edition 1, expect to hand over a hefty $107,000. That's pricier than the F-150 Lightning Platinum, which currently starts at $96,874.
There will be some rivals that are a lot closer to home than the Ford, of course. GMC's own Hummer EV pickup will start at about $80,000 when the least expensive model goes on sale in 2024, but it'll exceed the Sierra at the top end. In fall 2023, the Chevrolet Silverado EV will arrive with an estimated starting price of $39,900, but that's also for a basic work truck to take on the F-150 Lightning Pro. The Silverado EV will exceed $80,000 for pricier trims.
Is this the best-looking electric pickup on the market yet? It may just be - the Hummer EV is too vulgar for some, but the exterior of the GMC Sierra EV is considerably more shapely. In Denali Edition 1 guise, the truck's ultra-premium aesthetic introduces a new design language for the brand.
The range-topping model greets you with special approach lighting, including around the newly formed GMC grille. The lighting signature begins below the tall hood and continues all the way down, interrupted by one or two trim elements, so should look quite dazzling at night. Unlike the gas-powered Sierra, there is a new eTrunk in front that serves as a weatherproof cargo area.
Along the sides, the pickup has muscular, sturdy lines and wheel arches with an almost square shape. Wheel sizes for the cheaper trims weren't mentioned, but we expect sizes of around 18 to 22 inches depending on the trim and different tire options based on how much time you spend on- or off-road. The Denali, however, rides on sizable 24-inch items.
The rear end is fairly conventional, but the Denali's glossy black detailing lower down is repeated here. The Denali Edition 1 comes in Crew Cab form only, and it benefits from the MultiPro Midgate. When open, this provides a useful nine feet of storage between the cab and the tailgate. The MultiPro Tailgate is also standard on this model. Both of these features are likely to be optional on lower trims.
For the Denali Edition 1, there is a new panoramic fixed glass roof that stretches across both rows. It is infrared reflective and has a UV coating to keep the interior at a comfortable temperature.
At this stage, the full spectrum of GMC Sierra EV colors is unknown, but we anticipate everything from the usual whites and blacks to more vivid reds and blues. We saw the Denali Edition 1 in an attractive grey.
At the time of writing, official GMC Sierra EV dimensions weren't published. We expect it to be a bit bigger than the normal Sierra 1500, which measures 231.9/81.2/75.6 inches in length/width/height, respectively. For the Denali Edition 1, the Crew Cab has a five-foot, 11-inch cargo bed. When the MultiPro Tailgate is down, the maximum load floor length is nearly 11 feet. For now, we don't know how much cargo space the GMC Sierra EV has.
What is pretty much guaranteed is that the new GMC Sierra EV pickup will be heavier than its gas-powered sibling. Consider that the Ford F-150 Lightning has a base curb weight of over 6,000 pounds - that's likely what to expect from the Sierra EV.
The specs of the GMC Sierra EV pickup truck are truly impressive. Dual electric motors deliver GM-estimated outputs of 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque, and that's directed to an e-four-wheel-drive (e4WD) system. That's when Max Power mode is selected; it's not known how much power the truck makes in other modes. Either way, it is extremely powerful and can go from 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds.
Arriving later are cheaper trims that will be less powerful, but we don't know what their outputs will be just yet. However, the 510 hp from the Silverado EV's base WT spec is a good minimum figure to assume. Besides the Max Power mode, the others are Standard, Tow/Haul, Off-Road, and a customizable My Mode.
For an electric pickup, the Denali Edition 1 has a tow rating of 9,500 lbs. That's just short of the 10,000 lbs that the F-150 Lightning can tow with its extended-range battery and the available Max Tow Package.
So it's quick and has a useful towing capacity, but GM has made many of the Hummer's toys available on the Sierra EV, too. These features are possible due to the flexibility of the Ultium Platform.
Four-wheel steer reduces the turning circle and aids maneuverability which matters in a large pickup like this one. The innovative CrabWalk also makes an appearance. At low speeds, the rear wheels are turned in unison with the front ones to enable diagonal movement of the truck. While this is a cool party trick, it could be beneficial in specific off-roading environments.
Back on the road, one-pedal driving can help to preserve the life of your brakes since it's possible to use only the accelerator to bring the vehicle to a stop. There is also variable regen on-demand braking. This system will convert the kinetic energy generated from the truck's forward momentum into electricity that is stored in the battery. The result is a longer range.
An Air Ride Adaptive Suspension not only makes for a smoother ride but can lower or raise the Sierra EV by around two inches.
GMC hasn't indicated the size of the Sierra EV's battery pack, but it's betting on a 400-mile range for the Denali Edition 1. If confirmed by the time EPA ratings are released, this would far exceed the maximum 320-mile range of the F-150 Lightning.
Another area where the GMC wins is in charging speeds. Its 800-volt architecture enables DC public fast charging at up to 350 kW, which can add up to 100 miles of range in about 10 minutes. By comparison, the F-150 Lightning can only charge at up to 150 kW; in 10 minutes, that will give you about 41-54 miles of range. The truck also supports a 19.2 kW onboard AC charging module for both home and public charging.
But the Sierra EV's charging capabilities don't begin and end there. Using the available Ultium Power Bar accessory, the truck provides 10.2 kW of off-board power via ten outlets. This makes it easy to plug in power tools or other accessories when camping, or the Power Station Pro can even be used to charge other EVs. This functionality can be extended further through products from GM Energy's Ultium Home Line, enabling 21 days of living powered by the truck alone.
With its horizontal lines, dual screens, and wood trim, the interior of the GMC Sierra EV has a similar aesthetic to another electric pickup, the Rivian R1T. In total, the Denali Edition 1 has over 40 diagonal inches of digital displays inside - yes, the horsepower wars have officially been replaced by which brand has the most screen inches.
The primary screen is a central 16.8-inch touchscreen, and ahead of the driver is an 11-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster. Added to those is a multi-color head-up display with a viewing area measuring 14 diagonal inches. If you lack eyes on the sides and back of your head like the rest of us, you'll appreciate the 14 available camera views that enhance visibility. Hands-free starting is available, and the Ultifi vehicle software platform can add new features effortlessly over the air.
What makes the Denali truly special is the attention to detail and quality, especially for a pickup. The front seats in the GMC Sierra EV come with an embroidered Denali logo, and they have a rich quilting pattern. Authentic open-pore wood on the instrument panel and in other strategic areas is complemented by aluminum accents and etched stainless steel on the speaker grilles of the Bose sound system.
In the second row is a 60/40 split-folding seat. There are four configurations for this seat depending on how many passengers and/or the amount of cargo you're carrying. On that note, the Denali Edition 1 has a maximum payload of 1,300 lbs.
Along with the usual driver-assist technologies, the trailering-capable Super Cruise hands-free system is available. It currently has coverage along over 400,000 miles of compatible roads in the US and Canada.
The most popular competitors of 2024 GMC Sierra EV: