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BEYOND SILVERADO EV: GM CONFIRMS DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRIC HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS

Chevrolet Silverado 2500 3500 HD Heavy Duty EV Electric Diesel Commercial Duramax Ultium
2021 Silverado 3500 HD LTZ

Alongside the reveal of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV in RST , Trail Boss, and Work Truck trim, General Motors CEO Mary Barra revealed the automaker would bring forward all-electric heavy-duty trucks by 2035. By now we’re all familiar with GM’s commitment to transitioning all light-duty cars and trucks to electric propulsion before 2035, but the company has shied from disclosing any plans of electric heavy duty trucks up until this point.

The details were scarce, but during Barra’s presentation she proclaimed that the future GM HD EV trucks “will be engineered to deliver effortless heavy-duty hauling and towing while offering customers amazing new features, and a [battery] range to get the toughest jobs done.”

2023 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 3500 HD
The refreshed Silverado HD spied, yesterday.

Electric Chevrolet Silverado And GMC Sierra HD Trucks Inbound?

It’s unlikely that General Motors will eliminate gas and diesel-powered HD trucks before 2035, as heavy duty and commercial medium duty truck sales are some of the automaker’s quiet cash cows. Beyond retail level Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD trucks, there’s an entire world of HD trucks like the Class 6 Chevy Low Cab, and Silverado 4500, 5500, and 6500 HD chassis cabs that underpin everything from cube vans to small busses, and ambulances. A truck like the Class 4 Silverado 6500 offers a max payload of 15,940 lbs, those are some big shoes to fill.

That said, it’s probable the GM HD EV trucks will grow from the current Ultium EV program that supports the GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, and GM’s BrightDrop commercial vehicles. The Ultium program is made up of two distinct aspects. First, the modular Ultium battery pack allows GM to scale up or down in size depending on the application, those batteries then power Ultium drive motors.

Then there’s the sheer output. For instance, the GMC Hummer EV can deliver 11,500 lb-ft of wheel torque in electric propulsion via the Watts to Freedom launch mode, and the Chevrolet Silverado EV WT can offer 20,000 lbs of max towing when equipped with an upcoming tow package.

EV’s do suffer a payload deficit in comparison to lighter-weight gas and diesel-powered vehicles, and the battery range and charge rate will remain a concern for commercial HD shoppers. Both issues will need to be addressed before GM is to convince commercial buyers electric Chevrolet Silverado HD and electric GMC Sierra HD trucks are the right choice.

Should things go according to plan, one must wonder if there are enough battery supplies to go around to avoid future price spikes in crucial materials like lithium.

Written by Michael Accardi

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