New Chevrolet Silverado EV electric pickup truck unveiled

Ford F-150 Lightning rival is set to go on sale in 2023, offering up to 400 miles' range and over 4.5-tonne towing capacity, starting from $39,900

In 2021, Ford unveiled a zero-emissions version of the world’s best-selling pickup truck, called the F-150 Lightning. Now Chevrolet has responded in kind with the Silverado EV, boasting up to 655bhp, a 400-mile estimated range and 350kW rapid-charging capability.

Two versions of the Silverado EV will be available from launch. The cheapest is the $39,900 (c.£29,500) Work Truck or WT model, aimed at business or fleet users. This version produces 503bhp and 834Nm of torque, offering 3.6 tonnes (8,000lb) towing capacity and 544kg (1,200lb) payload capacity. After the initial launch, Chevrolet will introduce a second fleet model with a nine-tonne (20,000lb) maximum trailer weight.

The top-of-the-range Silverado EV RST model starts from $105,000 (£77,600) and is aimed more at private buyers. This version makes 655bhp and over 1,050Nm of torque when you select the ‘Wide Open Watts’, or WOW mode – enough to propel the truck from 0-60mph in under 4.5 seconds, according to Chevrolet. This version will also tow up to 4.5 tonnes and has a maximum payload of close to 600kg.

Both models have an estimated range of up to 400 miles, however, it’s unclear whether the entry-level WT will be capable of covering that distance on a single charge, or if you’ll need to pay more for a larger battery, like you can with the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T pickups. Several more versions of the Silverado EV will arrive in time; we expect the WT and RST models represent the bottom and top of the eventual full line-up.

Designed from the ground up as a fully electric pickup truck, the Silverado EV uses the same Ultium platform as the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV. That means it can accommodate electric motors at the front and rear for four-wheel-drive, independent front and rear suspension and a battery pack as large as 24 modules and 200kWh.

The Silverado EV’s front end has been sculpted to direct air down the side of the body, reducing drag and air turbulence. As a result, Chevrolet claims the Silverado EV WT has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any full-size pickup truck on the market, helping to improve its range. The truck is also available with four-wheel steering to improve low-speed manoeuvrability and stability at higher speeds, while adaptive air suspension allows you to raise or lower ride height by up to five centimetres.

According to Chevrolet, the Silverado EV can rapid charge at up to 350kW, which surpasses even the Porsche Taycan or Mercedes EQS’ capability. At that speed, you can add roughly 100 miles of range in 10 minutes if you find a fast enough ultra-rapid charging point. The truck can also recharge other vehicles and is available with a ‘PowerBase’ charging system, offering up to 10 outlets providing a total of 10.2kW for running power tools or other equipment.

Inside, the WT comes with an 11-inch central touchscreen and an eight-inch digital driver’s display behind the wheel. Upgrading to the RST trim gets you a 17-inch central infotainment touchscreen and 11-inch digital driver’s display boasting 3D animations, paired with a head-up display.

The top-of-the-range RST version also gets a panoramic glass roof, hands-free starting and GM's 'Super Cruise' driver-assistance technology. Much like the 'BlueCruise' system in the Ford F-150 Lightning, it allows for hands-free driving on 200,000 miles of pre-mapped US and Canadian highways. 

Chevrolet is initially offering the Silverado EV rival in four-door 'crew cab' configuration, but it gets storage space under the bonnet, a nearly six-foot-long bed and back seats that have been pushed rearwards “meaning passengers over six feet tall will be comfortable no matter where they sit,” according to the company. The rear seats can also be folded down in a 60:40 split, and when fitted with the 'Multi-Flex Midgate', the storage space on offer expands to just under 11 feet.

Much like the Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T it competes against, the Silverado EV is unlikely to go on sale in the UK anytime soon. However, US customers can reserve their zero-emissions Chevy pickup now, with first deliveries set for late 2023.

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