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GM announces fully electric heavy-duty trucks are coming

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Though General Motors pulled out of the in-person 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) due to concerns over the pandemic, CEO Mary Barra still did a virtual keynote, revealed the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and gave us a look at the future as it relates to GM’s truck line (and beyond).

Yes obviously we know there will be a Silverado EV and a GMC Sierra EV that will correspond in size to the current 1500 gasoline variants, but what about those heavy-duty workhorse trucks? Diesels and V-8s lead the way on the heavy truck side of things for GM, and the question is: Can we expect that to continue?

Barra addressed just that during her speech, and the news is interesting to say the least. GMAuthority did a great story covering Barra’s entire speech, but here are our primary takeaways regarding the HD segment.

Will there be an all-electric Silverado or Sierra heavy-duty truck?

The answer is yes, but it won’t likely be until 2035. During her speech, Barra not only stuck to the 2035 timeframe for all light-duty vehicles but also said full electrification would apply to the heavy truck side.

“As previously announced, our plan is to have all new light-duty vehicles be electric by 2035,” Barra said. “And today, I’m pleased to announce that we’ll introduce all-electric heavy-duty vehicles on that same timetable. These all-electric HD trucks will be engineered to deliver effortless heavy-duty hauling and towing, while offering customers amazing new features and a range needed to get the toughest jobs done.”

What happens to heavy trucks after 2035?

Nobody truly has a crystal ball and the 2035 timeline has been something Barra has firmly mentioned for several years. But does that mean that by 2035 there won’t be any V-8 or diesel pickup trucks in the GM lineup? Probably not. The phase out will be slow.

GM is in the business of making money and if the demand for ICE and diesel trucks is still heavy, and the adaptation to EVs hasn’t grown into the agricultural and working-class market. GM would be foolish to ignore those consumers. However, and this is the mic drop, Barra did say during CES that 2040 was more or less the year where GM will cease making non-EVs.

Can an all-electric heavy-duty truck tow and keep its range?

This is the big question nobody really has an answer to. Under the current battery technology, the answer is: It will be unlikely that a heavy-duty Silverado or Sierra could tow upwards of 20,000 pounds and still achieve tremendous range. And that will be the main thing holding back EV adoption in the heavy truck world. But as battery technology advances (and it will advance), that can and will change at a rapid pace.

We know the 2024 Silverado EV will have a range of up to 400 miles. Silverado EV will be able to tow up to 10,000 pounds and have an estimated 1,300-pound payload on the RST model. The WT trim will have an 8,000-pound towing capacity, and it plans to introduce a fleet truck with a 20,000-pound max in the future. But as of now, nobody knows what towing 10,000 pounds will do to the range of the Silverado EV (other than make it go down). Thus, we really don’t know what will happen as the truck gets even bigger and the load gets heavier.

However, it’s worth noting, we recently saw how well a Rivian R1T did towing less than 5,000 pounds cross country (hint: not well), and that would be a nightmare scenario for an HD truck hauling a big load.

The bottom line on electric heavy-duty trucks

There’s a phrase, you can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. There’s a lot of that saying when it comes to electrifying pickup trucks. Outside of the city where EVs are already becoming chic, the working class will be much more skeptical about charging up a truck and not having it able to do all that is needed from it.

Barra and all the other automotive executives know this too. They won’t forget those hard-working blue collar types and leave them behind. But, there will be a hard push of educating them and preparing them for the electrified future that is coming in this lifetime – and that includes heavy duty trucks.

What say you about heavy-duty EV pickup trucks? Leave us your comment below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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