Comparing the Chevrolet Silverado EV with Its Gas-Powered Sibling
Rivian may have gotten a head start when it launched the R1T this fall, but the other domestic automakers are close behind in the battle for the burgeoning electric-pickup-truck market. Production is underway on the Hummer EV (now nestled under the GMC brand), the Ford F-150 Lightning is out this year, Tesla is still taking deposits for its wild-looking Cybertruck (although we don’t expect it for a long time)—and now Chevrolet has unveiled its challenger, the Silverado EV. While Chevy’s newest EV shares a name with the brand’s long-running pickup, the two trucks are drastically different.
Numerous Design Differences
When it comes to design, the Silverado EV is a clear departure from its gas-powered sibling. The large rectangular grille opening of the Silverado 1500 is replaced by a blank body panel and two smaller intakes for battery and electronics cooling. A thin LED light bar stretches across the front end, and the main headlight elements and front bumper are also entirely redesigned. Although the EV is similar in length and height to a traditional crew-cab, short-bed Silverado 1500, the connected bed and body and slanted C-pillar visually lengthen the EV. The EV also gains squared-off wheel arches, more stylized rear taillights, and flashy optional 24-inch wheels.
The interior is more organic and free-flowing than the boxy dashboard on the traditional Silverado and features an available 17.0-inch center display, up from 13.4 inches on the gas model. However, the digital gauge cluster is 1.3 inches smaller than the 12.3-inch unit in the gas truck. An optional fixed-glass roof creates an airy feel, and everything from the steering wheel to the air-conditioning vents has been rethought.
Of course, the electric powertrain is new to the Silverado. The Silverado EV rides on a modified version of the Hummer EV’s platform, whereas the gas Silverado 1500 rides on the GMT T1XX architecture that underpins all of GM’s half-ton pickups and full-size SUVs. While the Silverado 1500 is offered with a variety of engines—from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a 6.2-liter V-8—the EV uses a single setup consisting of a 200.0-kWh battery feeding to two electric motors.
By the Numbers
The top-spec 6.2-liter V-8 in the 1500 pumps out a heady 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, but the EV blows that out of the water with as much as 664 hp and 780 lb-ft on the top RST trim. Even the base electric WT is good for 510 ponies and 615 lb-ft. The EV can’t quite match the maximum towing capacity of the gas Silverado, 13,300 pounds, but the RST can still pull up to 10,000 pounds. The gas truck’s payload ranges from 1870 to 2280 pounds, but the EV RST can only carry 1300 pounds in its cab and bed. Chevy claims the EV RST will hit 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds, at least a second better than the quickest Silverado we’ve tested. The EV will also be much heavier than the 1500. GM isn’t disclosing that spec, yet, but it will be closer to the 4.5-ton GMC Hummer than the roughly 2.5-ton-plus 1500.
While the gas Silverado has control-arm front suspension and a live rear axle, the EV Silverado gets an independent rear suspension, too. Plus, air springs at all four corners allow the truck to be raised or lowered by two inches. Other major additions include the MultiFlex Midgate (remember the Chevrolet Avalanche?), a weatherproof tonneau cover, and rear-wheel steering. The multifunction tailgate that launched on GMCs and is now available on the Silverado 1500 also makes an appearance on the EV, as does GM’s hands-free-driving system, Super Cruise.
While there are just two trim levels for the Silverado EV at the moment, expect an expanded lineup in the coming years. The WT will start at around $40,000—$10,000 more than the equivalent gas Silverado—while the top-end RST will be around $100,000, a nearly 50 grand premium over the gas Silverado RSTs. And unlike the gas truck, you’ll have to wait till fall 2023 to buy one.