Chevy Silverado enthusiasts will have a lot of new Silverado models and features – both light and heavy-duty – to get excited about seeing at your local Chevy dealer in the next couple of years. From the new all-electric Silverado teasers to news being dropped about ZR2 variants coming for the 1500, truck lovers can expect to do plenty of salivating over the future models being developed. Yet, in the midst of all the brand brouhaha, other news about microchip shortages still beleaguers car manufacturers worldwide. Will there be new developments, or won’t there? It’s a tricky situation at the moment, but truck lovers shouldn’t worry too much. Chevy is finding creative solutions to microchip problems, and their think tank is still brewing up lots of good ideas for future trucks.
In the Near Future: 2022
Silverado HD models are ready to be ordered for 2022, and new for the upcoming model year is the Multi-Flex Tailgate being made available for all trims. While Ford gives buyers a tailgate with measuring tools and smartphone holders, Chevy offers the tailgate that configures in six different shapes like some sort of origami trick. Seriously, it’s this kind of problem-solving that could be giving Chevy and GMC their competitive edge against Ford, never mind the torque and horsepower battles that continue to rage between the biggest three truck makers.
Not much else is new for the 2022 heavy-duty models, but the 2022 Silverado 1500 has some big changes. One of the most exciting new features is the addition of Super Cruise, the GM version of semi-autonomous driving. It’s been offered only on Cadillac vehicles until now, and GM recently released plans to include this feature in the Silverado 1500. Super Cruise allows the driver to set the speed like you would cruise control, but then the same cameras and sensors that feed data to driver-assisted safety features can keep the vehicle in its lane and autonomously steer so the driver can let go of the steering wheel on the highway. Currently, Super Cruise still requires the driver’s eyes and attention to be on the road, but the technology allows the driver to take a break while you still make great time on a trip.
Already with the Silverado, GM has tweaked the properties of Super Cruise so it can be engaged while you’re towing a trailer, and it can also initiate a lane change when necessary. GM then went to work on adding more Super Cruise highways – this feature only works on specified highways that have been programmed into the automated program -and an onboard navigation system. So, with the navigation equipped in your Silverado 1500, you can find the Super Cruise highways easily, so you can plan your trip to include them if you like. For now, Super Cruise will only be available on High Country models, but the technology is already built into six GM vehicles for 2022. As we see more technology being utilized in vehicles, features like Super Cruise will become more common.
While on the subject of 2022 trucks, the wait for the Silverado ZR2 is finally over. Ford and Ram have been duking it out for bragging rights in the off-road segment with trucks, and then Jeep brought in the Gladiator. Chevy offered the Trail Boss variant, but it frankly didn’t have the chops to compare with the offerings from Ford and Ram. Exciting new mechanical features like the Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers are going to change the game, with the lift achieved in the suspension and the springs being updated for a ride quality that can handle off-road punishment without losing comfort on pavement. Chevy gives the ZR2 a new steel front bumper with a higher approach angle of 31.8 degrees that will make steep incline climbing less likely to scrape the front end. Powering the ZR2 will be the 6.2-liter V8 with a ten-speed transmission that generates 420 hp with 460 lb-ft of torque to tackle off-road obstacles.
For the buyers who just want a Silverado 1500 for normal towing and hauling duty purposes, lots of updates are going into 2022 model engines. For example, you will see updates to the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that currently serves as the standard option for the lineup in entry-level trims. It will now have an extra 20 percent of torque compared to the previous version, which means the turbocharged four-cylinder can produce up to 420 lb-ft of torque over the 383 of the past. The Duramax diesel 3.0-liter engine gets attention, too, taking its towing capability to far greater heights. With the Max Trailering package, the Duramax inline-six will increase its towing capability to 13,300 pounds as compared with its previous 9,500 pounds. That’s a lot more power.
Plans for Extended Time Frames: 2023 and Beyond
While Ford introduces the new Lightning to the world, Chevy is busy at work building its own all-electric truck. This makes perfect sense with the Silverado 1500 being one of Chevy’s biggest sellers, and gas tanks aren’t getting any cheaper to fill. With a new Silverado EV powered by GM’s new Ultium battery platform, buyers can expect to have up to 400 miles of driving range available for taking their truck on the road. Home charging should make it easy to have a rapid charger installed on Chevy’s bill – if the manufacturer continues to offer free installation like they do now – and then plug in your vehicle the way you plug in your phone at night.
Bigger news for the Silverado EV arises from its potential capability; the electric motors, which are expected to be attached directly to the axles, will be able to produce up to 1,000 hp for an astounding amount of power. Lots of comparisons are being made to the currently available GMC Hummer EV, which boasts mammoth capability due to its electric motors powered by the Ultium battery packs. If the Hummer EV is any indicator of what the Silverado EV will be able to do, gas-powered models may see an end sooner rather than later. Then again, charging times are still problematic if you want to take a trip cross-country when you need to wait for your battery to charge, especially if you plan to tow or haul heavy loads, both of which will take a toll on battery life.
Nevertheless, exciting features like rear-wheel steering or four-wheel steer will make a debut on the Silverado EV to give it agility like no other truck on the market. Being able to turn the rear wheels for steering means having a decreased turning radius for tighter turns and easier maneuvering when you need to do parking duty. Massive 24-inch wheels are expected to be part of the Silverado EV models, too, which will be another game-changer with capability. Several trim levels are expected to be offered, particularly an entry-level work truck for use in fleets, as well as higher-level trims for buyers seeking those luxury trucks America has come to love. Chevy expects to reveal more details about the Silverado EV before the release planned for 2023 models and currently has an option to receive updates through a web page dedicated to Silverado EV teasers.
Chevy has announced it will manufacture Silverado EVs at the same plant as the Hummer EV, called Factory Zero, in Michigan. For the moment, the plan is to share the same platform as the Hummer, which will make production simpler. As it stands right now, between the Silverado and the Sierra offered by sibling brand GMC, GM trucks sell more than any other brand in the world. Ford may have records for the F-150, but overall sales for trucks go to GM brands. Such success is likely to continue with the foray into future models as Chevy strives to keep up with off-road variants in the market and continues to innovate EV models under the GM umbrella.