After the GMC’s Hummer EV and Ford’s F150 Lightning launches, it was pretty clear that Chevrolet was due for an EV truck. Chevy revealed its efforts for an all-electric pickup truck recently at the CES 2022.
Based on the Hummer EV’s platform, this newest version of the Silverado boasts impressive numbers. But, we’ll have to wait until 2023 to see how it performs in the real world. But, that hasn’t deterred the automaker and loyal Silverado fans, as reservations are already underway. That brings up the inevitable question, “Should you wait for the new Chevy Silverado EV or go for the proven gas-powered Silverado?”
To find the answer, we’ll dive into this Bowtie version of the EV versus internal combustion engine (ICE) debate. Let’s compare these two Silverado siblings and see how they stack up.
The Chevy Silverado EV is a powerful electric truck developed to compete with Ford’s attention-getting F-150 Lightning. But, comparing the newest Silverado to its more conventional stablemate isn’t quite fair. It’s more of an apples-to-oranges approach.
The Silverado EV is not only more expensive, but it’s also more powerful and has a larger cabin and cargo area. This EV has a futuristic design with a sleek and minimalistic look both inside out. Built on the GM’s Ultium platform, the Silverado EV has a very balanced weight distribution and the capacity to hold a 200kWh battery pack (by comparison, the F-150 Lightning’s largest battery is 131kWh).
Compare that to the 2022 Silverado 1500. You get the classic Silverado design that’s enhanced with an all-new trailer-compatible self-driving feature. The modernized cabin features dual center screens, upgraded interior elements, and several standard advanced safety features. Chevy has also added a Z71 off-road package along with a completely new off-road model, the ZR2.
As always, the Silverado lineup starts with the WT (Work Truck) trim and goes to the top-of-line High Country version. The addition of the ZR2, which sits right below the High Country, gives the Silverado a total of nine trim levels.
Similarly, the Silverado EV starts with the WT and maxes out at the RST (minus the Custom and ZR2 options). But, to confuse things a bit, Chevy gives the High Country trim second-place status by elevating the RST to the top spot. So, the Silverado EV has a still-sufficient trim offering of six variations.
|Chevrolet Silverado Trims
|Chevrolet Silverado EV Trims
|Silverado Work Truck
|Silverado EV Work Truck
|Silverado EV LT
|Silverado Custom Trail Boss
|Silverado EV LTZ
|Silverado EV Trail Boss
|Silverado EV High Country
|Silverado LT Trail Boss
|Silverado EV RST
|Silverado High Country
The base Silverado EV WT will start at $40,000, making it $10,000 more expensive than gas-powered WT. And while the top-of-the-line High Country would max at $56,000 for the 2022 model, the Silverado EV will go for a whopping $105,000 for the maxed-out RST variant.
Moving on to power plants, both the current Silverado and the EV offer multiple configurations. There are four engine options for the standard Silverado. The WT starts with a 310-horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the High Country tops out with a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8.
Other engine options include a 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A 277-horsepower 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel engine is also offered for the WT for more torquey, fuel-efficient performance. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, with four-wheel drive (4WD) available (and standard on the Trail Boss and ZR2 trims). The 2022 Silverado comes with a six-, eight, or ten-speed automatic transmission depending on the model and powerplant.
Like its gas-powered sibling, the Silverado EV is available with different power configurations. Using GM’s Ultium platform, the top Silverado EV utilizes a dual-motor setup for 664 horsepower and 780 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the base WT makes “only” 510 horsepower. But despite this 110 horsepower drop, even the base Silverado EV would be more potent than the brawniest ICE-powered Silverado. All Silverado EVs come standard with a 4WD drivetrain and four-wheel steering system.
While the Hummer EV uses a three-motor configuration, the Silverado EV is a two-motor setup. This approach explains why the Silverado EV’s 4.5-second 0-60 mph time is 1.5 seconds slower than the Hummer EV. Regardless, the all-electric Silverado is still a second quicker than the regular Silverado High Country.
The Silverado EV is expected to offer a 400-mile range with one charge. The power is provided by a 200-kWh battery pack that can be topped off with a 100-mile range boost in ten minutes via DC fast charging. The system uses an 800-volt architecture to support DC fast charging at 350 kWh.
Since it has not yet been tested in the real world, the Silverado EV’s range is expected to vary greatly depending on different cargo loads, terrain, drive modes, and weather situations. Regardless, at a $0.25 per kWh rate, it would cost about $50 to power up a depleted Silverado EV at a supercharging station.
In contrast, the regular Silverado has a varying range (due to the fuel tank sizes that change with cab configuration). With Diesel being the most fuel-efficient, the combined 27 mpg rating should yield an approximate range of 640 miles. This compares to the 528-mile range offered by a Silverado with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder.
While the Silverado EV holds its own (or exceeds) against the standard Silverado in many areas, it comes up lacking in the towing department. Similar to the F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV is rated for 10,000 lbs of towing. But that comes up 3,300 lbs short of the ICE-powered Silverado’s maximum capacity. Even the smallest gas engine offers 11,500 pounds of towing ability.
However, the EV shines when it comes to cargo space. While the gas Silverado has a cargo bed, the EV also gets a frunk (front trunk). In addition, the Silverado EV gets a folding midgate (like the discontinued Chevy Avalanche) that transforms the traditional pickup cargo bed. Drop the midgate and the 60/40-split folding rear seats, and the ordinary 71-inch bed gets extended by almost another five feet.
But, this extra cargo space is shortchanged by the EV’s modest payload limits (1,200 lbs for the WT and 1,300 lbs for the RST). Comparatively, the regular Silverado can handle 2,250 lbs.
The Silverado EV boasts a minimalistic interior complete with a dual-screen center console, dual-tone upholstery, and pentagonal side vents. The cabin is divided with a column-mounted stalk, accommodating a massive multipurpose storage bin and a single set of dash controls. Plus, a lowered hood and fixed-glass roof help convey spaciousness for passengers.
Other equipment includes a multipurpose steering wheel, wireless device charging, and door-mounted window and mirror controls. Tech goodies will feature an 8-inch digital gauge cluster with an 11-inch touch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, navigation, and Wi-Fi hotspot access.
Preparing for the inevitable comparisons, Chevy also upgraded the standard 2022 Silverado. A cockpit-style console features a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with a massive center screen. And depending on the trim, cabin equipment may include power-adjustable front seats, leather interiors, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a hands-free digital assistant. Infotainment includes support (depending on the trim) for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Sirius XM radio, and Wi-Fi access.
The gas-powered 2022 Silverado 1500 stays current with safety thanks to a solid four-star (out of five) safety rating in crash tests performed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard on every trim is forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, forward pedestrian warning, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning. Upgrades include adaptive cruise control and trailer side blind-zone alert. The High Country comes with trailer-friendly autonomous driving.
Chevy hasn’t provided much safety information about the upcoming Silverado EV. But, it’s a safe bet that this truck will be as capable and similarly equipped as its conventional sibling. We’ll have to wait until 2023 to be sure.
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