John Lennon once asked, “Say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the world.” Chevrolet seems to be staking a claim to an electric vehicle (EV) rEVolution with the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV. The Silverado EV is Chevy’s entry into the growing electric pickup truck market, challenging the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian RIT.
The question is whether automakers like Chevy can develop an electric motor and battery that’s strong enough to deliver the horsepower and torque needed for a heavy-hauling pickup truck. The first EVs were glorified golf carts, barely roadworthy and incapable of producing sufficient speeds to compete with conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles. That all changed 14 years ago with the introduction of the Tesla Roadster. However, building a two-door EV is a giant leap from developing one that can work as a pickup truck. That’s where Chevy is headed.
The 2024 Silverado EV is the next stage in the EV-olution of EVs. Chevy is bridging the gap between its first alternative energy vehicle (the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt) and a full-size pickup truck like the Silverado EV. Running solely on electric power, let’s see what the 2024 Silverado EV’s EV-olution has in store.
Don’t Judge a Truck by Its Cover
When General Motors CEO Mary Barra introduced the highly anticipated 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 EV, the truck that appeared drew a lot of quizzical reactions. Chevy marketed the Silverado EV as a revolutionary new truck. At first glance, however, it looked like Chevy had taken a trip back to the future.
With its triangular sides on the payload bed and its sloping profile, the all-new Silverado EV looks like the former Avalanche, which Chevy discontinued in 2013. Chevy even brought back one of the Avalanche’s more interesting features, the Multi-Flex Midgate, which allows the crew cab’s rear seat to fold down so that objects can be slid inside from the payload bed, freeing up more cargo space. These undeniable similarities earned Chevy’s EV a new name–the EV-alanche. Looks, however, can sometimes be deceiving.
The Silverado EV’s front fascia looks nothing like the Avalanche of years past. Instead of a grille, the EV’s closed front end features a black Chevy bowtie logo. The unique design is possible since the motor and battery are positioned underneath the crew cab, allowing for a smaller and more aerodynamic front end. In turn, the Silverado’s sculpted front fascia reduces drag and turbulence. It also gives the Silverado EV a lockable, waterproof eTrunk, which increases the truck’s cargo capacity and gives you plenty of room for a large suitcase or other equipment.
Leveraging the Ultium Platform for an All-New Truck
General Motors developed the Ultium EV Platform as a modular battery system that’s versatile and cost-effective. Compatible with GM’s entire fleet, the Ultium Platform delivers exceptional power while its modular design maximizes space, improving passenger and cargo volume. In addition, the Ultium Platform’s unique positioning means that it relies on the Silverado EV’s frame for protection, an ingenious design.
As Steve Hill, the vice president of Chevrolet, points out, “The Ultium Platform is a critical enabler of next-level pickup truck performance for both fleet and retail customers, whether they are currently driving a Silverado or are considering a pickup for the first time.” For Chevy, this is the first application of the Ultium Platform, following previous use on the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq.
Like GM’s other EVs, Chevy designed the Silverado EV as a fully electric truck from the ground up. This is significant because Chevy didn’t retrofit an existing truck platform with an EV powertrain. Instead, the Silverado EV is an entirely new vehicle. In this way, the styling nods to the late, somewhat lamented Avalanche may be merely coincidental.
The 2024 Silverado EV is not the Avalanche; it’s an entirely different truck with a powertrain and capabilities unlike anything Chevy has ever built. As Nichole Kraatz, the chief engineer on the Silverado EV, makes clear, “The Ultium Platform enabled our design and engineering teams to start from a clean slate and create a pickup with impressive performance and capability. The result is a truly impressive testament to the creativity and innovation our teams can bring to market with speed and scale.” That innovation is even more apparent when looking at the 2024 Silverado EV’s performance and capability.
Electrifying Performance in Two Models
Chevrolet offers the Silverado EV in two different trims, each with a unique powertrain configuration. The base model is the WT, which stands for Work Truck, and is ideal for fleet buyers looking to use the Silverado EV for mainly commercial purposes. This model features twin motors powering both axles, giving it genuine four-wheel-drive capability, with energy supplied by the 200 kWh Ultium Platform battery in its lower frame. This provides the WT with 510 horsepower and 615 lb-ft of torque.
The RST model is the upscale, luxury version of the 2024 Silverado EV, and it also features twin motors powered by a 200 kWh battery. The difference is that this model can produce up to 664 horsepower and 780 lb-ft of torque. As a result, Chevy estimates that the Silverado EV RST can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. That is the kind of performance you might expect from a Corvette or Camaro, not a full-size pickup truck.
General Motors estimates that both the WT and RST can provide up to 400 miles of range on a full charge. This efficiency is especially convenient for long-haul drives since it eliminates the need for frequent stops to recharge the battery. Nevertheless, Chevy provides standard DC fast charging on both models, so getting back on the road will be quick, easy, and convenient. What’s more, you can even use the Silverado EV as a mobile generator, providing 10.2kW of offboard power as part of its PowerBase charging system. This, along with the EV’s ten power outlets, will be especially helpful for fleet operators who plan to use the Silverado EV WT on job sites where powering tools is critical.
Chevrolet also ensures that the WT and RST deliver serious trucking capabilities. The WT can tow up to 8,000 pounds, while the RST boasts the impressive ability to tow up to 10,000 pounds. In addition, the 5′ 11″ payload bed on the 2024 Silverado EV is not just for show. Phil Zak, the executive director of Chevrolet Design, notes, “We had no constraints when it came to designing the Silverado EV with dramatic style and flexible utility because we didn’t need to work around a traditional propulsion system. The Ultium Platform allowed us to redefine what it means to offer expansive new storage and utility possibilities.” The Silverado EV is certainly flexible with the WT capable of carrying 1,200 pounds of cargo and the RST up to 1,300 pounds.
Charging Ahead Into the Future of Electric Trucking
The 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is the latest in a growing field of EV pickup trucks. With the Ultium Platform, Chevy has staked the future of its popular Silverado pickup truck on electric motors and batteries. These will work to reduce carbon emissions and provide exceptional fuel economy. As the Silverado EV shows, they will also offer solid performance equal to, if not better than, conventional gas and diesel trucks. The only question that remains is whether the truck driving public will embrace the future and adopt the Silverado EV in the same way it made the Silverado truck a best-seller over the last two decades.