General Motors CEO Mary Barra has been an outspoken voice in the move toward electrification, with specific vehicles from Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac in the works. But there have been plenty of skeptics about GM’s ambitious plan to have the entire product line be all-electric by 2035.
However, we now know that the 2022 Chevy Silverado EV will make its official debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January of 2022 in Las Vegas. CES has quickly become a place where automakers showcase some of their newest tech-forward vehicles, so it makes sense for this vehicle to launch there.
We recently reported on our first drive thoughts on the Rivian R1T, which is the first all-electric pickup truck to hit market. The Lightning has started pre-production with distribution expected in the early part of 2022. Meanwhile Tesla has had to delay production (again) of the Cybertruck, which ironically is the the vehicle that started the electric pickup truck movement.
GM has been tight-lipped about the Chevy Silverado EV. We know when it will make its public debut as well as some product details, but we don’t know much else.
According to information provided by GM, the Silverado EV will have a fixed-glass roof for retail models that will “offer expansive visibility, increased headroom, and an enhanced experience of spaciousness for both front and rear passengers. This is the first application of an available fixed-glass roof on a GM pickup in the full-size truck segment.”
If you’re interested in a 4-second video (literally) of this roof, it’s available below.
Additionally, Chevy has confirmed the availability of four-wheel steer, which is a a chassis feature that enables the vehicle to steer all four wheels. This will likely be due to four independent motor on each wheel, which the Rivian R1T has.
GM is estimating range for the Silverado EV to be more than 400 miles, which is more than the estimated 300-miles range for the Lightning and 350-mile range for the GMC Hummer EV.
The Chevy Silverado EV will have both a retail and commercial fleet variant, which follows along with what Ford has done with the Lightning. Also of note, the Silverado EV is based off the Ultium Platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles.
Speaking of the Ultium Platform, GM announced a huge investment in battery technology. GM is creating the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center on the campus of the Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.
GM says the new Warren Center will “significantly expand the company’s battery technology operations and accelerate development and commercialization of longer range, more affordable electric vehicle batteries.”
This investment is significant for GM’s vision and plan as it heads toward electrification. Ford just recently announced the single-largest investment in that company’s history with a similar battery technology center along with a fourth truck assembly plant.
Clearly, both automakers are primed for the electrified future that is coming. In the press release about the new Wallace Center, GM was pretty upfront with its vision saying: “The facility will play a pivotal role in advancing GM’s vision of an all-electric future and help pave the way to widespread adoption of EVs.”
Development at the Wallace Center will lead to advancement in battery technology including silicon-based and solid-state batteries which could lead to significantly longer range and much quicker recharge times.
GM states: “The Wallace Center is expected to build batteries ranging in energy density from 600 to 1200 watt-hours per liter, along with crucial battery cell ingredients like cell active materials.”
This is the technology that has to occur to get more Americans on board with electrified vehicles. So, this is a step in the right direction.
We know what one of the first complaints/concerns is when it comes to electric pickup trucks – how much can they tow and still hold onto range? That is a real and legitimate concern. It’s an issue with the Ford F-150 Lightning and its 300 miles of range, and it will still be a concern for the 2022 Silverado EV and its 400 miles of range.
To get full consumer buy-in, manufacturers will need to double or triple that range as well as help bolster the EV charging infrastructure. With investments like the one GM is doing in Warren, Michigan, and the multi-billion dollar investment Ford announced in Kentucky and Tennessee, they’re setting up for longer range and more useful trucks in the not-too-distant future.
For now, the Chevy Silverado EV and Ford F-150 Lightning may just be for the early adapters, but their success in the short-term will pave the way for the electrified future that is coming.