Ford must now play catch-up.
When Ford introduced the F-150 Lightning, it was a bit of a gamble, but one that had to be taken eventually. By getting a jump on the Detroit competition, the Blue Oval is poised to lead the way into a new age, but if its cross-town rivals can produce something as good or better, that advantage may be short-lived. One such rival is Chevrolet, with its Silverado EV, a truck that we've been anticipating for some time. Although not revealed live, the latest American electric pickup has now been unveiled as part of the Consumer Electronics Show 2022, and it looks fantastic.
Instead of being an electric version of the existing Silverado, the EV version was built from the ground up to be an EV. As such, it sits on GM's Ultium EV platform, which we already know is a brilliant piece of engineering. To begin with, Chevrolet will be offering just two trims for the 2024 Silverado EV. An RST First Edition will be joined by a fleet-oriented WT (Work Truck) model, with both offering plenty of features and technologies, not to mention space, power, and range, but more on those later.
The RST First Edition model will offer four-wheel steering, automatic adaptive air suspension that can raise or lower the vehicle by up to two inches, and a "Multi-Flex Midgate that expands the truck's cargo capability while maintaining seating for a rear row passenger." This is available with a power release. As standard, a 17-inch LCD freeform infotainment display is paired with an 11-inch digital driver display and a multicolor head-up display that has a field of view of over 14 inches. In addition, Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance tech is included and can be used while you're towing something behind you. Speaking of which, the Silverado EV will be able to pull a heavy load.
The WT trim will launch first for fleet customers who will be happy to learn that this trim boasts 510 horsepower and 615 lb-ft of torque, enough to tow up to 8,000 pounds. The payload is rated at 1,200 lbs here and 100 lbs more on the RST. If those towing figures aren't all that impressive to you, Chevy says that it will introduce a fleet model after the initial launch, and this will boast a 20,000-lb maximum towing capacity when equipped with the max tow package.
It should ride well despite this, thanks to the fact that the available 24-module Ultium battery pack is a part of the fundamental structure, bolstering rigidity. This will be complemented by independent front and rear suspension systems.
The most powerful Silverado EV will produce up to 664 hp and 780 lb-ft, and the RST model is estimated to be capable of running the 0-60-mph sprint in less than 4.5 seconds when in Wide Open Watts Mode. Helping it stay efficient is a front-end design that helps direct air down the body side, and Chevrolet estimates that the WT trim will have "one of the lowest drag coefficients of any available production full-size pickup truck," helping the truck achieve an estimated range of 400 miles per full charge on either trim. But what is the situation like when you start to run out of juice?
Both trims boast DC fast charging capabilities of up to 350 kilowatts, which translates to around 100 miles of recouped range after just ten minutes. If you're concerned about finding a charger, the Energy Assist feature in the myChevrolet app helps you pick an efficient route that can account for trailering too. But if you're all charged up, you can spread the joy just as you can in Ford's electric pickup. The Silverado EV features the ability to recharge another EV with an optional cord, while up to 10 outlets for powering tools, appliances, gadgets, and even your home are offered as part of the PowerBase charging system. However, this requires an optional accessory power bar.
One thing that is not optional is the cab configuration; the Silverado EV will only be offered as a Crew Cab. The second row has been pushed backward to maximize legroom, and even passengers "over six feet tall will be comfortable." Looking up, they'll be greeted by a fixed glass roof in the RST, a model that also boasts a modular console with a capacity of over seven gallons - enough for a lunch cooler.
In the first row of either model, additional customizable storage solutions ensure that your pockets can stay empty when in the car. Chevy has taken another leaf out of the Lightning's book with its eTrunk, a lockable, weatherproof frunk with enough space for a large hardside suitcase and enough attachments and innovations to make storing anything a pleasure.
The real space is outside, of course, where the RST's five-foot-11-inch bed can be enlarged with the Multi-Flex Midgate we mentioned earlier. This provides a touch over nine feet of storage between the cab and the tailgate when the Midgate is open, while a 40/60 second row in the cabin allows you to mix passengers and cargo.
With the optional Multiflex Tailgate, 10 feet and 10 inches of load floor are available while a lockable and weatherproof tonneau cover can still allow for a kayak to be concealed within the bed. Best of all, you don't need to keep keys on you to go on that adventure, as the truck will automatically start once the driver enters with an enabled device. GM's in-house-developed software is clever too, being completely removed from the hardware of the vehicle to enable rapid and regular over-the-air updates.
This all looks fantastic, so when does the fight with Ford start? Not for a while. The WT model will debut in spring 2023 with GM's largest battery and over 400 miles of range, while the fully-loaded RST First Edition arrives with the same range in the fall of 2023. The full catalog of electric Silverados will be revealed with RST, Trail Boss, and other trims in time. These will have varying price ranges, but the WT will launch with an MSRP of $39,900 while the RST First Edition will cost at least $105,000 excluding destination. Reservations open today (January 5) at 1 pm EST.