Chevy’s Silverado Electric Work Truck has more power than a Corvette
ANN ARBOR, MI – Chevrolet is introducing its first electric Silverado as a work truck. Fleet owners may want to put a speed limiter on it.
With 515 horsepower (more than a C8 Corvette), 600 pound-feet of torque (more than a Camaro SS), and Chevy’s solid Ultium chassis, the Silverado EV is a rocket ship out of stoplights. Zoot! I’ve braved Challengers, BMWs — and even a ‘Vette C6 — all over Ann Arbor during my brief experience with the 8,000-plus-pound minivan.
If I were, say, a utility worker, I would make my eight-hour rounds by noon.
The work truck (available as a crew cab only with a 5-foot, 11-inch bed) comes with a price tag that’s as hefty as its power numbers. The 393-mile range Work Truck 3 starts at $74,800, and — with a range of 450 miles — my 4WT almost hits the $80,000 mark with a $79,800 sticker. Oof.
This reflects the cost of lithium-ion batteries as a four-wheel-drive EV work truck tries to match the rear-wheel-drive range, 504 miles, gas range, 310 horsepower, and the truck’s crew cab costs half as much.
But, like the gas-powered Silverado WT, the electric Silverado WT loses only about 50 percent of range when towing, according to our friends at TFL Trucks, which recently put the pickup truck in their mountainous Colorado backyard. That translates to a range of 250 miles, which is doable for a trip to Traverse City, for example, where the chargers are spaced about 120 miles apart.
The Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy’s main electric competitor, suffered a 70% degradation when towing, according to TFL. That means less than 100 miles of towing on Ford’s 320-mile range battery — which won’t get you between charging stations in Michigan (much less if you have to stop every 90 minutes for a 120-minute charge, according to Motor direction tests).
However, the Silverado EV faces similar challenges with fast charging. The gas WT takes 5 minutes to refill, while the Chevy takes 90 minutes with, say, an Electrify America DC fast charger. And that doesn’t include the time to unhook your trailer and belly up to express charging stalls that aren’t designed (like, say, the gas truck stop in Marathon) to handle long tow vehicles. Electric vehicles have a long way to go.
That’s why initial sales of the Silverado EV are for fleet-focused transit vehicles.
But for those belly-rocking dual motors, my WT was bare bones.
Black interior, 18-inch wheels and all-season tires. There’s no Super Cruise as luxurious as the $106,000 RST truck that will debut next spring to wealthy retail customers. There are no fancy 24-inch wheels. There’s no flexible midgate between the C-pillars that lower to extend the bed (just as SUVs can extend cargo by flattening their rear seats). Exposed bones.
But it has a sleek design signature that’s more like a Chevy Traverse than a brawny, gas-powered Silverado. Check the C-pillar and spare coil. Inside is one of the best infotainment systems in the industry. The iPad-like dual digital displays and gauge displays are standard and powered by built-in Google – a system that will look familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but if you’re headed on the road, let me recommend Google’s built-in navigation system.
It has made great strides in its ability to navigate an electric vehicle to its destination. Where most systems leave it up to the driver to do their homework and find their charging stations (imagine expecting a gas-powered driver to do that), built-in Google plots your route — chargers and all. Similar to how Tesla is integrating travel with its charging network.
On a mock trip I took with built-in Google from Ann Arbor, the system prioritized fast-charging stations for my trip to Washington, D.C. The trip will take 10 hours and 7 minutes, including two stops at fast chargers for a total of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Handy so you can make plans while you wait. Not very useful if you don’t like to wait.
This is the primary challenge faced by electric vehicles, which are inferior to their gas-powered counterparts over long distances. At least the Silverado will get you there assuming you’re driving under 70 mph in fair weather conditions.
Try cruising in cold weather—or traveling at higher speeds—and expect a serious deterioration in range. Also expect logistical challenges with fast chargers if you plan to tow. They are simply not designed for large excavators. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to test the Silverado EV on a real towing trip sometime soon.
What the Silverado EV is designed for is ease of use.
Access the rear bed through the angled bumper step – a feature every pickup truck should have. The bed benefits from a massive 215 kWh 4WT battery with five outlets to support tools: four 110 volts and one 240. If you’re a small businessman and the truck serves as a recreational vehicle, the outlets will come in handy for tailgate parties.
The hole under the hood where the engine used to be? Just like the Lightning, Chevy has successfully turned it into an electric car (a cool feature pioneered by mid-engined sports cars, then popularized for electric cars by Tesla). There is another pair of 110v sockets there. It offers the practicality of a hatchback SUV with the hauling capacity of a pickup truck.
But conveying that sticker price is a challenge.
To properly use an e-truck, companies (or individuals) will need to add expensive 240-volt chargers so the trucks can recharge up to 12 hours overnight for their duties the next day. Home charging is cheaper at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour overnight, but plug it into, say, a Pittsburgh fast charger from Electrify America, and you get a hefty 48 cents per kilowatt-hour charge — which means the cost of resupplying The ride is over 29 mpg on gas. Fire a Silverado work truck if gas is less than $4 a gallon.
The e-Silverado is too expensive to qualify for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, but the usual business tax incentives apply to help get it into employees’ hands. They will find a powerful truck with good specs like 1,440 pounds payload and 10,000 pounds towing.
and standard all-wheel drive so you can put 600 lb-ft of torque to the ground at a stop sign. Just don’t let your boss catch you.
Henry Payne, auto critic for The Detroit News (TNS)
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV work truck
Type of car: Battery-powered, four-wheel drive, five-passenger pickup
price: $74,800, including $1,895 destination ($79,800 4WT as tested)
Power plant: Dual motor, 215 kWh battery
power: 515 horsepower, 600 lb-ft of torque
moving in: Single-speed automatic
performance: 0-60 mph, 5.4 seconds (Car and Driver, 4WT); Towing, 10,000 lbs., Payload 1,440 lbs
Weight: 8,500 pounds
Fuel economy: 450 mile range (4WT as tested)
Features: High tech with built-in Google navigation, fun to drive, towing capacity
Lowest levels: Stable logistics freight, 50% more expensive than similar gas trucks
Overall: 3 stars