Electric vehicles aren’t new, but as the sector expands and established automakers get in on the trend, the advancements are now coming at breakneck speed. All-electric pickups are the most recent development, with both established automakers and ambitious newcomers vying for the newly minted crown. While these brands might have primed the market and provided a decent proof-of-concept, the debut of an all-electric pickup from one of America’s most trusted truck brands holds the potential to bring the trend into the mainstream. The 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is more than an all-electric makeover of one of the country’s best-selling full-size pickups: it’s a ground-up redesign aimed at combining the best aspects of an EV with the tried-and-true architecture of the brand’s flagship vehicle.
The pickup sector presents some unique challenges for the electric trend, as many drivers are under the impression they’ll need to sacrifice power, performance, or capability in the name of efficiency. Given the rough-and-tumble way that many of today’s pickups are used, this comes as little surprise. When you’ve got a delivery to make or a trailer to haul, you can’t very well be waiting around for your vehicle to charge, and it can be difficult to objectively compare the power, performance, and towing/hauling capabilities of an EV truck against its ICE competitors. With the new 2024 Silverado EV, Chevy has tackled these issues head-on, creating a pickup that’s just as reliable, powerful, and fun as the gas-guzzling trucks that came before it.
While EVs have long been falsely considered to be an underpowered alternative to their internal-combustion engine (ICE) forerunners, the 2024 Silverado EV is here to nip that stereotype in the bud. While full specs are still a little ways off, Chevy has given consumers a taste of the upper and lower ends of the range with details on the Work Truck (WT) and high-end RST models.
The entry-level WT version starts things off well, with 510 horsepower and 615 lb-ft torque under the hood. The pickup’s dual-motor configuration allows the WT to hold its own, towing up to 8,000 pounds with a payload capacity of up to 1,300 pounds. A forthcoming fleet model of the WT will see the towing capacity boosted to 20,000 pounds. The WT also includes a tow/haul mode, an integrated trailer brake control, and hitch guidance, allowing it to pull its weight when drivers are on the clock or trying to get the weekend started ASAP. The RST includes all these towing features as well as Chevy’s Advanced Trailering System.
The RST is a real show-off, with all the bells and whistles one would expect at the upper end of the lineup in addition to some considerable power upgrades. With 664 horsepower and a rubber-burning launch option that wouldn’t be out of place at a drag strip, the RST is the perfect showcase for Chevy’s EV innovation. Owing to the larger, heavier battery, the RST has the same payload capacity as the WT but more than makes up for it with some unique features like the Wide Open Watts (WOW) mode.
Always a popular feature among EV owners, this launch mode takes advantage of the pickup’s considerable 780 pound-feet of torque. Since EVs don’t need to rev up to reach their full power potential, they can get off the starting line in a hurry, leaving many ICE vehicles in their wake thanks to electric motor’s near-instant power transfer. With WOW mode, the Silverado sees a boost to 664 horsepower and can do zero to 60 in a blazing 4.5 seconds, so get ready to get up close and personal with your headrest.
When it comes to EVs, it's all about the battery. The lithium-ion batteries used in EVs not only account for a large portion of their overall cost but also determine the vehicle’s range and how quickly it can be charged. Not content to rely on existing technology, GM has taken it upon itself to build a better battery, and the 2023 Chevy Silverado EV provides the perfect opportunity to showcase these advancements. Developed by GM in partnership with LG Chem, the Ultium battery represents the brand’s vision for the future of electric vehicles. Ranging from 50 kWh to an unprecedented 200 kWh, the Ultium battery shows up its closest competitor by 20 kWh and has more than double the capacity of Tesla’s largest offering. There will be several sizes available for the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, with the largest boasting an impressive range of 400 miles.
The Ultium batteries are also more affordable thanks to a new approach on the chemical level. Most of today’s EV batteries rely on the use of expensive elements to get the job done, but GM quickly recognized the need for a more stable alternative. This new method of battery construction will dramatically reduce the need for such materials, lowering overall cost without making any sacrifices in power or range. While EV batteries are commonly referred to as lithium-ion, they actually contain a mixture of different elements, with cobalt rating as one of the most expensive. Cobalt is uniquely susceptible to price fluctuations as so much of it comes from one region. The element has been identified by the U.S. Department of Energy as the highest material supply chain risk for EV production, with the average 100-kWh battery pack containing as much as 20 kg of cobalt.
The turn away from cobalt allows Chevy to maintain tighter control on pricing, resulting in savings that could make the 2023 Silverado EV and other Ultium-powered GM products among the most affordable or longest-range in their respective classes. GM estimates that the technology could allow its brands to lower battery costs below the all-important $100 per kWh mark. This achievement might have seemed impossible back in 2010 when lithium-ion batteries were selling for as much as $1100 per kWh, though advancements over the last decade see current prices hovering around $140 per kWh.
In addition to the new battery formula, GM has also upped its charging game to accommodate the large 200 kWh battery. Most EVs charge at around 200 kW, but the RST and WT models of the new Silverado will get a 350 kW DC connection, drastically improving charging times and allowing the pickup to add 100 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes at a DC Fast Charge station. This fast-charging brings the EV closer to the convenience of a traditional ICE vehicle while allowing drivers to break free from ever-rising fuel prices.
With all the serious power and range discussion out of the way, it’s time to dive into some of the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV’s more novel features. The Silverado EV is jam-packed with advanced tech features that range from the novel to the indispensable, leveraging some key attributes of the EV’s construction to keep drivers and passengers safe, secure, and entertained. For example, the Silverado also takes advantage of its missing engine, turning the space under the hood into a handy storage unit dubbed the eTrunk.
The Silverado EV will also see the debut of Chevy’s Ultifi Linux-based software platform, which can perform over-the-air updates to ensure your EV is always at its best. These wireless updates are essential to this new generation of electric vehicles and open the door to some fun possibilities. While Chevy has yet to announce any specific plans, these updates are generally used to refine map data for navigation, upgrade audio systems, and in-vehicle apps, including video games. The system holds a lot of potential and gives drivers an exciting look into what the future of in-car connectivity might look like.
The pickup’s electric platform allows it to pull off some fun tricks. Of course, it can charge your phone, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. The Silverado is a work-ready pickup, but in this case, it’s also a giant battery. Drivers opting for Chevy’s PowerBase charging system will get ten outlets that can provide a combined 10.2 kW of power, more than enough juice to run anything from tools and electronics to an entire house. Essentially operating as an emergency generator, the Silverado can supply enough electricity to get drivers through a power outage, pulling double duty and adding to the pickup’s already considerable value. In a pinch, the Silverado can even top off other EVs, using an available accessory charge cord to share the wealth when you see another driver stranded on the side of the road.
Rounding out the Silverado EV’s unique features is the new Multi-Flex Midgate. Chevy is building on the success of Chevy's Multi-Flex Tailgate, which can be configured to accommodate bulky items, provide a step up, or even double as a work surface. The Multi-Flex Midgate is just as versatile, allowing drivers to fold down the rear wall of the cab to drastically increase the pickup’s bed length. The 5-foot 11-inch bed can be modified to over 9 feet with the Multi-Flex Midgate folded down and as much as 10-feet 10-inches when the Multi-Flex Midgate and Tailgate are both deployed. Nearly doubling the bed length would probably be enough, but Chevy has gone one step further and included 60/40 split seats in the second row, meaning the midgate can be deployed while still leaving room for a passenger. Those hauling expensive tools and equipment will appreciate the lockable tonneau cover.