If legacy automakers were following the Tesla playbook, they’d overpromise and underdeliver. (By the way, where is that Cybertruck we were supposed to get in 2021?) But General Motors is trying to topple the leading electric vehicle manufacturer by doing the opposite.
When the company announced the Chevrolet Silverado EV, an electric version of one of the best-selling pickups in the country, it estimated a top range of 400 miles. That by itself would have been a coup, as it would put the hauler far above other electric trucks currently on the market; but there was reason to be skeptical: this was the automaker’s own estimate, not the final range as certified by the EPA.
Well, we now have those final EPA numbers, and they’re even higher: the first version of the Chevrolet Silverado EV will get an estimated top range of 450 miles on a full charge, according to Rory Harvey, GM president of North America, per the Detroit Free Press. That’s 121 miles more than the GMC Hummer EV (top EPA-estimated range of 329 miles), the next best electric truck and also from GM, and even higher compared to the Rivian R1T (328 miles) and Ford F-150 Lightning (320 miles).
“We look at refinements, we look at aero, we look at the way the vehicle is calibrated, the way the vehicle is set up,” Harvey offered as a way of explaining how GM beat their original estimate for the truck. “There are so many factors that go into it. The team was able to refine it.”
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For prospective buyers, there is one asterisk that may put a damper on GM’s triumph: This 450-mile figure is for the Work Truck (WT) model only (and only for the one with the largest battery, as other WT trims will be offered). According to Green Car Reports, citing a Chevrolet spokesperson, this 450-mile-range WT will only be available to fleet and commercial buyers, not retail customers.
As we reported in December, the Silverado EV will first launch in the fleet-oriented WT edition this spring, and then follow with a consumer-facing Rally Sport Truck (RST) trim in the fall. Per Detroit Free Press, the RST is aiming for a range of 350 miles, which would still put it ahead of the pack, but not by much. Of course, the high range numbers are much more vital on vehicles meant for work (as hauling and towing will, theoretically, significantly reduce that range), but American drivers are still enticed by long-range EVs even if they only drive a couple dozen miles each day (as evidenced by Tesla’s continued domination).
Speaking of Tesla, while their Cybertruck is now about a year and a half late, Elon Musk is still aiming for a top range of 500 miles for that futuristic pickup. It appears the company is getting closer to a launch date, too, as they’ve been sharing updates more frequently, including crash testing, an appearance at the ground breaking ceremony for Tesla’s lithium refinery in early May, and winter testing today. And they’re not the only ones aiming for a 500-miler: the Ram 1500 REV is hoping to hit that mark when it comes to market in 2024.
For now, we have a new range king of electric trucks: the Chevy Silverado EV. But that’s just a number on an EPA-stamped sheet. Once it’s out in the real world, it’ll take a lot more to help it beat Ford in the pickup sales game and Tesla in the broader EV market.
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