Chevrolet Silverado Electric private preview leaves customers impressed [Update]

General Motors has showcased the Chevrolet Silverado Electric (Chevrolet BET Truck) to prospective customers earlier this year at a closed-door event and received positive responses. This info comes from Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, at the Q1 2021 Earnings Conference Call in May 2021.

Barra said that the initial interest in the Chevrolet Silverado Electric “has been overwhelming,” particularly from government and commercial customers. The select few who previewed the exterior and interior of the upcoming electric pickup truck said it “exceeded their high expectations, with zero emissions, long-range, pickup capability, innovative storage, and strong value along with a powerful design.”

Design

GM has designed the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup from the ground up to be an EV. The Detroit-based automaker has utilized its soon-to-be-ubiquitous Ultium platform for the full-size electric pickup truck. The company hadn’t revealed the exterior, but the design direction was evident in November 2020 when GM had placed what seemed like a full-size clay model of the electric pickup truck in the Barclays 2020 Global Automotive Conference studio set.

The Chevrolet electric pickup truck looked like a near-production design prototype. It sticks to the traditional proportions, but we spot several new-age design cues. At the front, it features a high-mounted hood with power domes and a rectangular concave enclosed upper grille. Like the Blazer and Trailblazer, the Silverado Electric would feature split headlamps for that little extra drama. We’ve tried capturing this aspect of the prototype’s design to render and transition it to production.

On the sides, the electric pickup truck has squarish wheel arches, an angular trough on the front door skin right behind the wheel arches, a sharply designed boxy greenhouse, and a sport bar behind the C-pillar. GM has confirmed that it will offer massive, 24-inch wheels on the electric pickup.

The interior could similarly carry a mix of a traditional layout and modern elements. Expect the cabin to be highly digital, though, with an intuitive virtual instrument cluster and a large touchscreen infotainment system with 5G connectivity.

Range

Technical details are unavailable, but GM expects customers to feel no range anxiety. “Chevrolet BET Truck, which will be the brand’s first electric full-size pickup, offering 400+ miles of range on a single charge,” GM had said in its 2019 Sustainability Report. In the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck announcement on April 6, 2021, the company stuck to this internal estimate. It could be planning the product with the biggest of Ultium battery packs with an energy storage capacity of 200 kWh in the top-spec configuration.

Rear-axle steering

Video Source: YouTube/Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Silverado EV will be available with rear-axle steering, or ‘Four-Wheel Steer’ as the official branding, as an option. Rear-axle steering will provide the electric pickup greater agility and stability at high speeds, like when changing lanes on a highway, for instance. More importantly, at low speeds, as in urban conditions, it will reduce the turning radius, making U-turns easy. Greater trailering dynamics would be another advantage for customers checking this option in their orders.

Competitors & Release Date

GM should conduct a media unveil of the Chevrolet Silverado electric in the coming months. A good time to bring the product to the market would be mid-2022 when arch-rival Ford F-150 Lightning is due in American showrooms. Tough competition will also come from the Rivian R1T, which will enter production this June, as well as the Tesla Cybertruck. Production of the Chevrolet Silverado electric will take place at GM’s Factory ZERO assembly plant in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan (USA).

Super Cruise trailering

The Chevrolet Silverado electric is almost confirmed to feature Super Cruise that allows semi-autonomous driving. The infotainment system of the Silverado EV could automatically display Super Cruise compatible roads in the navigation and show them during route selection. Super Cruise capabilities available on the full-size electric pickup may include hands-free lane change on highways and hands-free trailering. GM currently does not allow hands-free lane change while trailering, but that could change in the future.

GM claims that Super Cruise is the first true hands-free driver-assistance technology. Currently, drivers can use Super Cruise over 200,000 miles of compatible roads across the U.S. and Canada. The company plans to offer it on 22 models across brands by 2023. To date, customers have driven approximately 10 million miles using hands-free driver-assistance technology.

Fleet & Commercial versions in the Chevrolet Silverado Electric variant family

GM expects a chunk of Chevrolet Silverado Electric sales from the fleet and commercial customers. Mark Reuss, President, GM, said during his speech at the Factory Zero Allocation event in Detroit in April 2021 that they are “a crucial part of the EV market, especially initially.” The company has planned a few configurations that particularly appeal to retail and fleet customers, for these might be the buyers who bring the required high volumes. Reuss also said that the Silverado Electric will pack not only features customers would expect from it but also “some innovations they can’t even imagine yet.”

This all-new full-size pickup is designed from the ground up as an electric truck, harnessing the best of the Ultium technology and the proven capability of our current production Silverado. Silverado will go all-electric with a GM-estimated range of more than 400 miles on a full charge. Retail and fleet versions of the Silverado electric pickup will offer customers a variety of innovative options and configurations. I’m particularly excited about its potential in the fleet and commercial space, a crucial part of the EV market, especially initially. We have models designed especially for fleet and commercial truck customers that I know they’re going to love.

Mark Reuss, President, GM (Factory Zero Allocation – Detroit)

The Silverado electric pickup truck may go far east to Australia and New Zealand as well at some point, through the General Motors Speciality Vehicles (GMSV) division. The ICE Silverado is available in the Oceanic markets through GMSV.

GM has committed $35 billion to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles between 2020 and 2025. By that year, it plans to launch 30 EVs and make two-thirds (20) of them available in North America.

Chevrolet Silverado Electric pickup truck FAQs

What is the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup release date?

The Silverado electric truck will debut this year and is estimated to go on sale in the U.S. in mid-2022.

Which pickup truck models will compete with the Silverado electric?

The Silverado electric (Chevrolet BET Truck) should challenge the Ford F-150 electric, RAM 1500 Electric & Rivian R1T.

What is the expected price of the Chevrolet Silverado Electric?

Expect the price of the Chevrolet electric pickup truck in the USD 50,000 – 60,000 range.

Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the Chevrolet Silverado Electric