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A cheap, four-door electric work truck sounds like a home run, letting fleets operate using cheap electricity and cutting costs. Yeah, that would be great. But it is not going to happen. What? Yeah, the $40k base version of the Chevy Silverado EV WT is dead, and that’s not all. The WT they’re showing right now for launch will run you about $80k. Gulp! But even that’s not all!

If this seems complicated, well, it is. Let’s break down what we know right now about pricing, and shed some light on what to expect.

No $40k Chevy Silverado EV WT?

Quick answer: Nope. But let’s back up a bit and start with the press release Chevrolet issued months ago, which stated:

“After initial launch, Chevrolet will unleash the full Silverado EV portfolio, including WT (with a starting MSRP of $39,900 + DFC), Trail Boss and more. Customers will have the ability to content the truck across various price ranges, with MSRPs around $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 and more, allowing them to choose the truck that meets their capability and pricing needs.”

Seems straight forward. However, Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet, told us at a first-drive event this simply won’t happen.

Instead Chevy will offer a 450-mile range Chevy Silverado EV WT priced at $77k plus delivery fees, pushing it to right around $80,000, like the one I drove.

Bell added Chevrolet does plan on offering a shorter range 350-mile Silverado EV, but pricing will be announced at a later date.

Currently, there is no pricing on Chevrolet.com for the Silverado EV.

What’s going on?

The problem is in the materials. Lithium and other material costs have seen massive swings in prices in recent years. For example, Lithium, the key ingredient in EV batteries, surged 10-fold in 2 years according to a Reuters.com article then tumbled 72% after China ended its EV vehicles subsidies.

This means Lithium hit massive record highs then the balloon popped, and it just rebounded 5 months of post-balloon lows.

These price changes are forcing automakers to respond faster to the dramatic swings, and you see companies like Ford doing the same thing with the EV pricing for its Lightning and Mach-E.

The bottom line

Electric vehicles use more Lithium than other vehicle types, and you can expect pricing to fluctuate wildly while automakers navigate this changing market. It’s going to be years until the supply chain is figured out enough to match the volume of EVs being built (or promised to be built). Until the supply chain stabilizes, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price will be subject to massive changes.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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